Last week before Christmas = Baking! Baking! Baking!
These are my favourite sugar cookies to make (and eat). The recipe comes from the older Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook. I was sad, as was my mother to learn the new cookbook does not have this same recipe. In fact, many of their 'updated' recipes are rather disappointing. Unfortunately, my mom upgraded her cookbook at the same time she bought me one, so many of those recipes I grew up with are now gone. Luckily, I had photocopied the recipe out of her cookbook for when I was off dogsitting and felt the need to bake (which in any given week will arise).
The recipe is for 'cut-outs' but I always make pinwheel/swirl cookies because it's faster/easier (although I will make the dough up one night and bake the cookies the next) and I love the look of them. With less rerolling, the dough also stays softer. I will use practically any holiday as an excuse to make them (I've made them for Halloween, Valentine's Day, 4th of July, President's Day, Easter, and Thanksgiving, as well as Christmas).
Sugar-Cookies (pinwheel/swirl instructions)
-1/3 cup margarine or butter
-1/3 cup shortening
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-3/4 cup sugar
-1 tablespoon milk
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-Dash of salt
Beat margarine and shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add about half of the flour, the egg, sugar, milk, baking powder, vanilla, and salt. Beat till thoroughly combined Beat in remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Color as desired. Wrap in saran (I know it's evil and wasteful, but it's the only thing I use plastic wrap for). Chill for an hour or hour and a half.
Roll out one of the lumps of chilled dough (I roll it out directly on the saran wrap to prevent it from sticking to the counter or becoming discolored by the flour/unable to stick to itself) until it is about 1/4" thick and is a rectangle. The wider it is, the larger the cookies will be. The longer the rectangle, the more cookies you will get. Roll the second colour out to the same size rectangle as the first. Transfer onto top of the first (or vice versa... keep the colour you want on the outside on the bottom). With the long side parallel to the edge of the counter, begin to roll the far edge of the dough towards you (the saran wrap will help you start this, and pull on it for an even pressure while your roll it up). You will have a tube of cookie dough now. Rewrap tightly and chill for another three hours.
Simply slice dough into 1/4" thick slabs, place on cookie sheet about 1 1/2" to 2" apart and bake in 350 degree F oven for about 8 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned and tops are no longer shiny. Our oven only takes about five minutes.
Beware! These are highly addicting and you won't stop eating them until your stomach feels like it's going to explode.
SHORTBREADNew-to-me recipe... Not sure I like the ginger. I used much less than it called for, since I was afraid it would overpower the cookies.
From Betty Crocker Cookies Cookies, a birthday present from my mom.
And finally, able to pack up the goodies! To the Post Office tomorrow! (Okay, I do have to make one more triple batch of sugar cookies so that they are fresh to give at Friday's Christmas gathering).