Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Easy Swirled Sugar Cookie

In case you haven't noticed, Christmas is quickly approaching!  As in, it's already tomorrow!  Christmas sugar cookie making is one of my favorite Christmas traditions.  I love making the dough.  I love cutting out fun shapes.  I love decorating cookies.  I love adoring my work when I'm done.  But mostly I love to eat cookies!

Unfortunately, I just haven't had the time this year that it takes to make my traditional, beloved Christmas cookies.  But there was no way I could totally abandon sugar cookies this season.  I have seen pins on Pinterest with colored sugar cookies instead of frosted sugar cookies.  That seems more manageable for someone who wants pretty Christmas cookies, but doesn't want to spend all day making them.  This seemed like the perfect time to try them!

I browsed a few recipes and found that there is more than one way to skin a cat, and make colored sugar cookies.  In typical fashion, I just decided to do it my own way.  That included using my traditional, tried-and-true sugar cookie recipe.  I prepared the cookie dough as usual.  Then I divided the dough in half.  This is where it gets fun!

Next I used food coloring to make half of my dough red (or at least reddish, I ran out of red food coloring!) and half of my dough green.  That didn't take any more time than it usually takes my to dye frosting or icing.  At this point, I tried a few different ways of making swirled sugar cookies.  I will describe them both and let you decide what sounds best to you.  This is not a dictatorship!

When I first started, I made four dough balls that were about the size of grapes (2 of each color).  I then smashed the dough balls together and rolled it into one larger ball.  That looked something like this:

Then I flattened each ball and dipped the top half of the dough into colored sugar like so:
After doing that for a while, I thought there has to be a way that is even easier than this.  Then I came up with the idea to swirl all the dough at once, and form a log.  From that log I would cut individual cookies.  So I divided my dough into four balls, again with 2 of each color.  I made each ball into a rope, then I swirled them all together.  I didn't do it very neatly, and it looked like this:
I rolled the swirled log into a cylinder and cut about one-inch pieces off to form the cookies.  Then, as I had done before, I dipped the top of the cookie into colored sugar.  That turned out to be pretty simple, and it was easier to keep the cookies the same size so I could be sure they would bake evenly.

Really, either way to do it was pretty easy.  The making four balls made sure each cookie was a little different, but the big swirled log was probably more efficient.  But no matter how you make them, they are fun, festive, pretty, and guaranteed delicious!

Merry Christmas!

Easy Swirled Sugar Cookies
2 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup butter (room temperature)
Sift together and reserve flour, salt, and  baking powder.  
Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, vanilla, and almond, beat to combine.
Gradually add flour mixture and mix until smooth.  Divide dough into equal balls for each color you want to make.  Add food coloring and mix thoroughly until dough reaches desired color.  Roll each colored ball into equal-sized ropes.  Wrap ropes around each other to create a round log.  Wrap dough and chill one hour, or until firm.
Remove dough from refrigerator and slice into one-inch rounds.  Flatten each cookie slightly, and dip top in colored sugar (optional).  Place prepared cookies onto parchment-paper lined baking sheets.
Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until edges are just begging to set.  Do not over-bake!
This recipe makes about 2 dozen cookies, depending on size of cookies.

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