Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Big and Soft Sugar Cookies

There are so many different styles of sugar cookie.  Some are thin and crisp, some are fat and frosted, some are chewy and some are cakey.  These cookies are most like the type that you buy from the grocery store, that they always have frosted in the colors of whatever holiday is coming next, or if there isn't a holiday around the corner, they're usually pink with sprinkles on top.  They are big and soft and cakey and delicious. The frosting is to die for, especially when it's slathered on thick.  So for the next birthday, holiday, or random day, make these cookies.

Big and Soft Sugar Cookies
Recipe adapted from here

1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 cups sour cream
6 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups butter
1 tsp vanilla
6 cups powdered sugar
2-3 T milk
food coloring, if desired

For the cookies:
Cream the butter and sugar together at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each egg.  Add vanilla, almond extract and sour cream and beat until combined.

Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until combined.  Dough will be very sticky.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 425F.  Remove a quarter of the dough and place on a lightly floured surface.  Place remaining dough back in the refrigerator until ready to use.  Lightly flour the top of the dough before rolling dough to 1/4-inch thick.  Using a 2 1/2 or 3-inch biscuit cutter cut out circles and transfer to a lightly greased baking sheet.  Bake for 7 minutes, then immediately transfer to a cooling rack.  Cookies should not be browned.

Continue to roll, cut, and bake cookies until all dough is used.  While cookies are cooling, make the frosting.

For the frosting:
In a large mixing bowl combine butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar.  Add milk, one tablespoon at a time, until it reaches a spreading consistency.  Add food coloring if desired and beat until well combined.

Once cookies are completely cooled, frost generously and add sprinkles or other toppings if desired.  Store at room temperature in an air-tight container.

Makes about 4-5 dozen cookies.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Quick and Tasty Tomato Soup

We've had a very strange Spring in Virginia this year.  It was a dry winter until March, when we suddenly had more snow than we'd had in the past two years combined.  That set Spring back a bit, and even at the end of April we had days that were 40 degrees.  It's mid-June and I'm still picking sugar snap peas from my garden.  Today is not that cool, but it is raining, as it did two days ago and as it will again tomorrow.  For lunch I wanted something cozy and comforting, and fell to that old favorite, Tomato Soup.

This recipe is great because it's easy, delicious, and quick as a flash!  If you serve it with some homemade bread or garlicky croutons, all the better.

Quick and Tasty Tomato Soup

1/4 cup tomato paste
1 cup milk (you can use water but it won't have a creamy taste)
3 large leaves of fresh basil, finely chopped (or 1/4 tsp dried basil)
1 tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped (or a dash dried parsley)
A dash of granulated garlic
1 tsp Parmesan cheese

In a small saucepan combine tomato paste, milk, basil, parsley, and garlic.  Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until warm and aromatic, about five minutes.  If desired, puree in blender (though I don't think it's necessary unless you don't like to see your herbs).  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top and serve.

Makes one serving, but is easily multiplied to feed more.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Glazed Doughnuts

In honor of National Doughnut Day, I thought I'd repost my favorite doughnut recipe!  Here it is!

Glazed Doughnuts

1 cup milk
2 packets (2 T) yeast
3 cups flour
1/2 cup warm mashed potato (microwave a medium potato on high for 5 minutes, scoop out potato and mash with a fork)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 T oil
Vegetable or Canola oil to fry in
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

Microwave 1 cup milk for 1 minute or until warm but not hot. Stir in yeast and let sit 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine flour, mashed potato, salt, and sugar. Mix well then add the milk/yeast mixture and oil. Mix until a soft dough forms. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and not too sticky. Roll into a circle that is 1/2" thick. Using a doughnut cutter or two biscuit cutters, cut into doughnuts. You can either keep the doughnut holes and fry them too (we do) or re-roll them into the dough to cut out more doughnuts. Repeat until dough is used up. Place cut doughnuts on a lightly floured surface to let rise for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze. Put powdered sugar in a small bowl. Add milk, one tablespoon at a time, until glaze is desired consistency. Add vanilla and mix well.

In an electric skillet or frying pan, pour enough oil so that it is 1/2" deep in your pan. Heat until 350F (medium to medium high on a stove). It should take about 5 minutes to heat up. Place doughnuts carefully in oil, cooking each side until browned. Remove to wire rack that has paper towels underneath to catch the oil. After doughnuts have cooled for about 3 minutes, drizzle with glaze.

Makes 12-15 doughnuts and holes.