Friday, December 4, 2009

Aunt Effie's Famous Sugar Cut Out Cookies

YUM! About sums up what these cookies are all about! I've had many sugar cookies, but these are the best hands down. I remember the very first time I had one of these, I think it was December of 1968, Kim and I had gone with Dad to go over to Harold and Effie's, and Aunt Effie had dozens of these goodies sitting out all over her Duncan Phyfe table in the basement where she'd iced a bunch of them. We were about eight and nine years old at the time, and we were told we could pick out one~O-N-E cookie out of all those lovely iced shapes! I chose a yellow iced camel and savored every bite. Kim and I both agreed we could have eaten a few more as they were so very delicious! There were Santa's, bells, stars, angels, trees, snowmen, camels and reindeer, and after much consideration I had to have a camel.
If that was not the last year that Aunt Effie made cookies, then it was close to the last year as I never had another one that she made herself. Grandma made a few of these once or twice, and then when I was fifteen I began to make these and have made them ever since.
I remember back in 1982 I had gone over to Pam and Jerry's house for dinner and Uncle Ed was there. I had made some heart-shaped sugar cookies for St. Valentine's Day and had iced them pink. I put out a platter and offered some to Uncle Ed but he declined, saying that sugar cookies always looked good but tasted like cardboard. I assured him mine did not as they were Aunt Effie's recipe. I had a cookie or two, so did some others, and after awhile of sitting there, they became irresistable and Uncle Ed reached for one, biting into it and then having the funniest look of surprise on his face. "Why, these are good!", he stated. I laughed and told him of course they were good! I was not going to waste my time making cardboard tasting cookies! I'd had quite a few of those myself over the years, and I've had plenty since. I not only want cookies that look nice, but they must be also be tasty~no sense in making nasty cookies
My kids love these and always clamor for them at Christmas, though they can be made any time of year and cut into any shape.

Aunt Effie's Famous Sugar Cut Out Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tbls. milk
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsps. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Decorator's Icing (recipe follows)
Non Pareils ( colored sugar balls)

Cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla; beat in eggs and milk, mix well. Sift together dry ingredients and add to batter. Chill 30 minutes or longer, till easy to handle.
Prehat oven to 400 degrees.
Roll out 1/4" thick, cut with floured cutters or with a floured glass. Place 2" apart on lightly greased cookie tins. Bake at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes; do not brown or allow to burn. Cool on wire racks. Ice and add sprinkles. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies, depending on size.
Decorator's Icing: Sift 3 cups powdered sugar into a bowl, add about 1/2 tsp. vanilla and enough milk to make a slightly stiff, but not hard icing that will slide slowly off of a spoon and mound in ribbons. If it runs it is too wet and needs more sugar to stiffen it up properly. (I am used to when it "feels" right). Divide icing evenly into 2-3 bowls, depending on how many colors you wish to make and add food coloring, a bit at a time until you get the right color you wish. I usually make a yellow, pink, and green batch so I will have three colors for the cookies. Ice each cookie, and then sprinkle with non pareils (sugar balls) immediately. Allow icing to set up for about 15 minutes before stacking cookies. Make sure icing is hard before stacking.
*I almost always double this recipe as I make a lot of these at a time. Once icing has hardened, these can be layered in a container with wax paper between layers and frozen. Sometimes the icing will look different but it does not affect the taste of the cookies. These will freeze for 2-6 months, depending on how well they are wrapped and stored.
One year I made 720 of these cookies! Jenna helped me to ice them and we counted them. It took us two days to ice them all. But they are very popular.

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