Just a-walking in my Winter Wonderland…
There is nothing more Canadian than the sugar cookie.
Sugar cookies remind me of home. It used to be that everyone’s mother in the neighbourhood made them. Everyone definitely made them at Christmas, but there were many other non-occasions throughout the year that the sugar cookie would appear for no good reason other than someone’s mother was baking a little love in her oven.
The fast way is to roll the sugar cookie dough in a ball, and flatten it with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar. My grandmother, Maude, taught me that. We would make them together and she would stoke her fire-burning oven with logs and wait until the fire was just right. Somehow, she knew exactly when that would be – and in would go the cookies. Yes, I am that old. The door was quite small, on the right beside the door for the fire. The cookie sheets had to be small and the tray turning half way through baking was mandatory as the heat was always on the right side of the cookie sheet.
But, I was not allowed anywhere near that stove. And, when I grew older, a shiny and shapely new stove moved into her kitchen to keep the old one company, but mainly took over all of the cooking and baking chores. Thus, when I was really old enough to do it on my own, the fire-burning oven was not an option for me.
The snowflake cookie cutters were so beautiful; Grandma Maude’s sugar cookies was the perfect match!
Grandma Maude used a huge round cookie cutter when she cut out her sugar cookies. I am not sure it ever was a cookie cutter. I think it was the lid from a jar with a sharp edge. In any case, hers were always crisp, darker on the bottom than they were supposed to be, and simply delicious.
So, I wanted a pretty little sparkle on my plate. I wanted something that I could serve after the holidays that would not scream Christmas. I wanted something small. One of the snowflake cutters was perfect. Actually, I tried two. I also tried three ways of decorating these cookies. The first is the sandwich cookie with the butter cream icing in the middle, and crystal sugar on top. The second has butter cream icing on one layer, with silver dragees on each tip. With both, I rolled the icing and used the cookie cutter to cut out the shapes. I tried a variety of ways to have a little disc of icing in the centre; nothing else worked. This was a perfect solution. And not nearly the work as it may appear. The icing recipe cuts perfectly.
So, half of the sugar cookies I pressed sugar into for the tops, and the other half I left plain, for the bottoms.
I rolled and cut the icing. I painted on a little water as glue to help it adhere to the bottom cookie. When I place on the top, I put the slightest pressure on the cookie and give it a little twist to adhere the icing to the top. It works well, and TA-DA! A really pretty little ditty. And tasty, too: crisp (the sugar), flaky (the cookie), and buttery (the icing). A great combination of textures. But, I love sugar cookies. Remember?
The top cookie is painted with water (above), then pressed into crystal sugar (below) before baking.
This one was done differently. It was actually prettier as the snowflakes were white. Yet, it was too sweet as the icing was in the middle and on the top. The crystal sugar was then pressed into the icing on the top of the sugar cookie.
Snowflake Sandwich Sugar Cookies
- 1 cup butter
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg , beaten
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon soda
- 2 cups white flour (not unbleached)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Ingredients for butter icing:
- 3 cups icing sugar
- 1 cup butter
- 1-2 teaspoons of flavouring (I used coconut)
Cream sugar and butter
Add egg, then dry ingredients
Roll dough into 2 discs; wrap tightly in plastic wrap; refrigerate
Roll and cut into desired shapes
Bake at 325F for 5 to 7 minutes, depending upon cookie size (they need to be barely brown on the bottom, and a white cookie)
You can also drop on cookie sheet, and press with glass covered in sugar
Instructions for Icing:
Combine ingredients, and knead (dough will be the consistency of play dough)
Refrigerate until cool; roll onto parchment paper, cut out
Brush cookie lightly with water, lift cut out icing with a spatula onto cookie and decorate