Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

I hope everybody had a fabulous time ringing in the New Year.  Luke and I spent the evening with my mom and stepdad.  They had ordered a 6-pound prime rib from an Italian specialty market just down the street.  We whipped up a dry rub made of salt, steak rub, pressed garlic and fresh rosemary.  I took the liberty of massaging it into the meat.  My mom kept telling me how I never would have touched the raw meat a few years ago, and who would have thought….etc.

Yes, well, many things change after one becomes a foodie.  What can I say?  We also made scalloped potatoes and braised mushrooms to accompany the roast.  For dessert, my mom and I made an apple cider bundt cake and I brought some extra caramel pastry cream I had made to put on the cake.

After dinner, we played two games of Cranium.  It’s a great board game that requires players in teams to use their entire brain to navigate the game board.  Click here to check it out.  I hadn’t played the game in a long time, and it was great fun to revisit it with Luke.  And watch my mom try to act out “Groundhog Day” without talking.

As promised, today I am posting about the cookies I made for the holidays.  First, let me say that I enjoyed all of these cookies evenly, and will not choose a favorite.  They were different and delicious in their own ways.  The first I’ll be sharing with you is the soft frosted sugar cookie.  I will always be a fan of a soft, chewy cookie over a crisp, crunchy cookie.  So naturally, when I knew I wanted to make a sugar cookie, I wanted to make sure it was soft and tender, not thin and crispy.

These cookies were exactly what I hoped they’d be…and more. They were definitely the favorite at Christmas Eve.  (I didn’t say I wouldn’t share the family fav.)  Soft, a little crumbly, and bursting with vanilla flavor; they could easily become a new tradition for me!

Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

Adapted from Annie’s Eats via Hostess with the Mostess

4½ cups all-purpose flour
4½ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
1½ cups (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
3 large eggs
5 tsp. vanilla extract

For the frosting:
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/3 cup (5 1/3 tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
7-8 tbsp. milk (plus more, as needed)
Food coloring (optional)
Sprinkles (optional)

To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt, and whisk together to blend.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until soft and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed.  Blend in the vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients mixing just until incorporated and evenly mixed.  Cover and chill the dough for 1 hour.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, scoop a scant quarter cup of dough and roll into a ball.  Flatten the ball slightly and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the cookies at least 2-3 inches apart.  Bake about 10-12 minutes or just until set.  (Do not overbake!  The edges should be no more than very lightly browned if at all.)  Let cool on the baking sheet for several minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To frost the cookies, place the confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl.  Add the melted butter, vanilla, and milk to the bowl and whisk until smooth.  Whisk in additional milk as necessary, 1 teaspoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.  Tint with food coloring if desired.  Use an offset spatula or spoon to frost the cooled cookies.  (If the frosting begins to thicken as you decorate, just continue to whisk in small amounts of milk to keep it workable.)  Top with sprinkles if desired.  Store in an airtight container.

Note: I halved this recipe and got about a dozen cookies approximately 2 inches in diameter.  I thought they were a really good size.  I also did not use the recipe for frosting here, as I had major leftovers from another cookie, and decided to use that frosting up instead.

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