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Eclecticisms: Frosted Butter Cookies

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Frosted Butter Cookies

When I was a kid, I used to beg my Mom to make these frosted cookies- they were my favorite! I was very spoiled when it came to having fresh baked cookies in the house, and when we'd get chocolate chip instead, I would pout a bit. These do take a bit of time, making, chilling, rolling, baking... but are completely worth it. It also makes a good sized batch so you'll have plenty to share with friends and family! The recipe says you will get 12-14 cookies, but I got closer to 30. (I didn't count, though I meant to.)
The recipe I borrowed from my Mom was cut out of a newspaper (sometime in the early to mid 1980's I'm guessing) and laminated onto an index card with clear packing tape. Even with the tape you can tell it's been well loved. I'll have to copy it down and give it back... eventually. Considering how long it took me to write this blog, she might have to wait awhile. Muwahaha

Ingredients (Don't forget cookie cutters!)


1 Cup (2 sticks) butter
1 Cup sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbs lemon juice
3 Cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/2 tsp grated lemon peel

Confectioner's Icing

2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 Cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1-2 Tbs Milk
1 tsp vanilla
Food Coloring (as many colors as you'd like)

Beat butter and sugar together until fluffy.

The more I've been baking, I've realized that the smell of butter and sugar creamed is one of my favorite scents! Maybe the smell lets my brain know that delicious goodies are soon to come.

Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in lemon juice.

In a seperate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and lemon peel.

Now, I knew cream of tartar was used in baking,I had used it once or twice before, but I had no idea what it actually was. To me, tartar was a sauce you put on fish.  I'm not sure why the fish sauce is called tartar (nor do I really care, since I haven't eaten it in many years), but I decided to do a little research and find out what this "cream of tartar" was all about.

Here's what I found:

Now we know!

Gradually mix dry mixture into butter mixture, mixing well.

Cover and chill at least 2 hours. I actually read this recipe ahead of time (I'm still really bad with starting to bake before I read the entire recipe), so I was prepared for this step and knew I'd have to wait. This was no problem the day before Easter, since I was able to start making my other 500 dishes in that time. Ok, I made 3 baked goods the day, but it was still pretty intense!

After the dough is chilled, lighly flour a thoroughly cleaned surface and roll dough out to 1/4" thick. I think I made my cookies a bit thinner than the recipe instructed. (I've never been a follower anyways!) If that is the case when you make these, just keep an eye on them while they cook. Although my first batch as fine, I let my second batch cook about 2 minutes less and they turned out perfect!

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cut out cookies and trasfer to ungreased cookie sheets. Roll out scraps and repeat until you are out of dough. The dough might get a bit sticky as it warms from being handled. Feel free to use a bit more flour both on the surface and rolling pin, but be careful not to use too much. Too much dusting flour can lead to dry cookies, and who wants that?

The recipe says to bake cookies about 1" apart. I only have 4 cookie sheets, so I crammed them a bit closer and was fine. They didn't spread out/raise a whole lot, probably because they were a bit thinner. Also, I baked them two sheets at a time and rotated the sheets half way through, because my oven doesn't bake quite evenly. Every oven is different. If you haven't already, after baking more you will learn if yours is fickle like mine. From what I understand, it isn't all that uncommon.

Bake at 325 for about 20 minutes. As mentioned, I didn't bake my second batch for quite as long. They were in about 17 minutes when they reached perfection. My advice would be to just keep at eye on them after 15-16 minutes have passed. You don't want to undercook them either!

Remove cookies to racks to cool completely before icing.

To make the icing, start with the sugar and butter. Beat until smooth. The butter will pretty much disappear.

After this step, I saw how dry the icing was and thought it wasn't going to work out. After the 2 Tbs milk though, it was like magic. That bit of milk really makes it creamy! After you add the milk, add vanilla and beat thoroughly.

Split into the number of portions needed for your colors. I was over excited and used 4 colors both times I made these. It's extra work, but makes for a nice array of colors.

Now, for the icing action! Make sure cookies have cooled completely (mine took about 20 minutes to cool) before starting or the icing will get runny. My first time around, I tried using a spatula, knife, spoon and finally settled on my fingers to help smooth the icing on. It was NOT easy work. The icing wasn't sticking to the cookies and my first batch wasn't as lovely. Still, they tasted good. Let the icing set for about an hour before putting cookies away and on top of each other so the bottoms don't get messy.

For my second batch, I used sandwich baggies and cut VERY small holes in one corner and squeezed the frosting out, which let me have way more control. I outlined, then filled them in and smoothed the frosting with a knife.

It's still a bit messy, but the cookies look much better!

Enjoy... and try not to eat too many in one sitting!



At April 11, 2010 at 12:13 PM , Blogger Susan said...

Those look so cute and Easter-ish!

At April 13, 2010 at 10:35 AM , Blogger Son of X said...

Personally, I felt the finger-tip smears of the first batch added character. They were our finger smears, after all.


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