Thursday, December 16, 2010

day 16 - cut-out sugar cookies

Last week AJ's preschool had a sign up for their Happy Birthday Jesus party today.  One item on the list was 'unfrosted sugar cookies'. Guess what, I JUMPED on that one!  It gave me something to make and give away, perfect!

So last night as I was perusing my recipes for a sugar cookie (remember, my Christmas cookie as a kid was a Ginger Sugar Cookie - see day 1) I thought I'd keep in mind some concerns for the state of my heart.  Now I do have a few connections to great cardiologists, however, I'd rather not use them because of some crazy dare I gave to myself!  So out came the Cooking Light cookbooks.  Right in the front of the cookie section was one for a Christmas Sugar Cookie, and guess what, it only uses 1/4 cup of butter!  For me, this is huge.  I haven't even done the math on how many pounds of butter I have used in the last 16 days, but I can promise you it is over 10!  The other thing I liked about this recipe is it did not contain applesauce.  Now don't get me wrong, I understand the science behind replacing oil and other fattening ingredients with applesauce, but I just can't wrap my mind around it!

So last night I grabbed my stick of butter (I doubled the recipe, more on that later) and put it on the counter. I wanted to get a head start on the cookies so I could make them first thing in the morning.  After getting the coffee this morning, I grabbed my mixer and put in the softened butter, white sugar and brown sugar, turned the mixer on, and let it go.  Now onto the dry ingredients.  The basics: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cornstarch. I was surprised by this, but my guess is it will give the dough some body to hold up to rolling and cutting without adding in a lot more flour.  Those were mixed together and set aside.  In a glass measuring cup I put my liquid ingredients.  After making marshmallows over the weekend, I had some liquid egg whites left over.  Because the recipe called for egg whites only, I decided to use those instead of my whole eggs, I'm sure I'll need them later this week!  So egg whites and vanilla extract were put in the measuring cup, then slowly added to the mixer, just a little at a time, to ensure that all the ingredients get fully combined.  Once this is all mixed, I added the flour mixture in two batches, and stirred until it all came together.

As per the recipes instructions, I separated the dough into 4 batches, on sheets of wax paper.  I put another sheet of wax paper on top, then rolled them out to desired thickness.  These discs of dough got placed in the freezer for about 20 minutes to firm up so I could cut out shapes.  One at a time, I took a disc of dough out, and cut out shapes.  AJ got to pick today for his class, so Snowmen were the winner.  After cutting out the shapes, I gathered the scraps, and repeated the process of forming a ball, rolling between wax paper and freezing for a bit.  My cookie sheets were full of cute little snowmen.  They went into the oven for only 6 minutes and came out a pale golden color.  Onto the cooling racks they lined up, ready and waiting for a dozen preschoolers to frost later today.

Christmas Sugar Wafers (Cooking Light)
6 T sugar
1/4 c butter
2 T brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 lg egg whites
1 1/2 c flour
3 T cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Place butter and sugars in large bowl, beat with a mixer until well blended, about 5 minutes. Beat in vanilla and egg whites.  Combine dry ingredients and stir with a whisk.  Add to butter mixture and beat well.  Divide dough into four equal portions and roll between two sheets of wax paper. Freeze dough for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 375*. With one portion of dough, cut out desired shapes and place on prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 6 minutes. Cool on racks.

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