We should all have a solid command of the ABCs of baking. Thankfully, Food52's Test Kitchen Manager Erin McDowell -- alongside photographer Sarah Stone, who both blog at The Shutter Oven -- is here, with tips and tricks to help you master the most essential desserts and the simplest breads.
Today: Don't suffer through holiday cookies that taste like cardboard. You (and Santa) deserve better.
What's my number one holiday pet peeve? Cookies that taste like cardboard.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m a sucker for all things adorably decorated, and roll-out cookies are no exception. But just because they're often used solely as a vessel for icing doesn't mean that the cookie itself shouldn't be delicious. Once you find a good recipe, the techniques for prepping and baking are quite simple. As far as decorations go, the sky is the limit, but I’ve got a few (simple) ideas that look good and taste great, too. Here’s how to make sugar cookies so good, you might forget about the icing:
It's time to decorate! I have some fast, easy favorites for decorating cookies. They’re nothing fancy, but I’m always glad to have a few quick techniques up my sleeve for last-minute holiday cookie baking (which always happens)! Here are a few of my favorite ways to decorate cookies:
More: Learn how to flood royal icing on your cookies -- your friends will never believe they're not from a bakery.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies
3 1/4 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (6 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Photos of dough rolling and creamed butter by James Ransom; all other photos by Mark Weinberg