Thursday, December 2, 2010

Visions of Sugar Plums

I had my recurring dream last night. Not the one where I'm searching for a clean, functioning public restroom...but the one where I enter a fragrant, bustling bakery and press my face up against the display case and stare at all of the beautiful pastries, fully aware that all of the people around me are hip and beautiful and I most certainly do not belong there. Still, I soldier on determined to make a purchase. Last night, I settled on two cinnamon rolls and a piece of Boston Cream Pie. I knew it was a dream because I don't even like Boston Cream Pie. The dream ended as I walked out of the bakery with my purchase but without tasting one morsel. Fortunately, I woke up to the reality of a plate of these cookies from Taste of Home's Best Loved Cookies and Bars, copyright 2008.

Tender Italian Sugar Cookies

3/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 c. all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt

1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2-1/2 c. confectioners' sugar
Food coloring and colored sugar, optional

In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.

Shape dough into 1-1/2" balls. Place one inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

For icing, in a small bowl, combine the milk, butter, vanilla, and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Tint with food coloring if desired. Dip the tops of cookies in icing. Sprinkle with colored sugar if desired. Place on wax paper until set.

This is 3/4 cup of butter-flavored shortening.

Add the sugar and beat until smooth.

Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.

In a separate bowl, blend the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and salt.

Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture a little at a time.

At some point, you will have to give up the mixer and use a spoon. The dough will be thick. Although the directions didn't say this, I covered the dough with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. The dough was less sticky and easier to roll into balls once it was chilled.

Line the cookie sheet with parchment paper. Add the rolled dough balls and bake for 8-10 minutes. I baked mine for 10 minutes. The cookies will remain fairly thick and round. Cool on a rack.

After the cookies are completely cooled, mix up the icing with milk, melted butter, vanilla, and confectioners' sugar. I spread my icing on with a spatula instead of dipping the cookie tops since the icing was a little thick.

My older son loved these. Maybe a little too much...

Merry Christmas and Enjoy!


  1. Kim! These are gorgeous. I am going to try and make them as part of my Christmas gift for co-workers. Wish me luck! P.S - your pictures are really great!

  2. Thanks Chris! They're delicious, too. I hope you'll like them.

  3. try a few sprinkles of sea salt after the sugar sprinkles , not alot just a little, it offsets the sugar

  4. Thanks for the advice. I actually just bought some sea salt. I'm interested in trying the salted caramel treats that I've been reading about. I'll try it on my sugar cookies next time. I love a sweet and salty combo.


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