Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Easy Butter Cookies for Absolutely Any Reason


After missing church for the second Sunday in a row due to self-imposed quarantine (colds, colds, colds), I was feeling the need for a cheerful little pick me up for myself and the kiddos.  We were already looking forward to our traditional St. Patrick's Day dinner of corned beef, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, and soda bread...




but we had the whole day until then with nothing particularly pressing to do.  We hadn't made cutouts this past Christmas, so I pulled out the easiest recipe I know for butter cookies.  More like shortbread than a traditional sugar cookie, the recipe has only three ingredients and makes just enough cookies to walk that fine line between "this is such a fun time" and "if I have to frost one more cookie I am going to scream and show you some unorthodox spatula skills." :) From our huge collection of cutters, the kids picked an assortment of seasonal, unseasonal, and silly shapes.  Personally, I'm always in the mood for a dinosaur cookie.


Easy Butter Cookies (old Betty Crocker)

2 c. AP flour
1 c. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar

Sift together flour and sugar.  Beat in softened butter until a smooth dough forms (it'll start dry and crumbly, just keep beating).  Shape the dough into a round, wrap in plastic, and chill in the refrigerator for a few hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Roll out chunks of chilled dough to 1/4" thick on a lightly floured surface, kneading the dough a few times with warm hands to get it workable.  Cut into desired shapes, and bake for 9-12 minutes until just set and beginning to brown. Cool, then frost. 



 Vanilla Butter Frosting (also Betty Crocker)


1/3 c. soft, unsalted butter
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
a few tablespoons milk

Beat vanilla into softened butter, then beat in powdered sugar, adding milk as necessary until a spreadable consistency is reached. 


The frosting sets up when cold (and I think these cookies taste best cold, anyway), so I pop the container in the freezer for a few minutes in between stacking layers of cookies. 


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