Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Food #28

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, there is no shortage of recipes at this time of year for treats.  Fudge, bon-bons, dipped treats, gingerbread, toffee, almond bark [insert your favorite treat here]—the list is endless.  Everyone has their favorites and their traditions.  One of our favorite Christmas treats is sugar cookies.  For me, one of the things I love most about sugar cookies is the decorating.  I love sitting at the table, talking and listening to Christmas music while frosting cute little trees, stars, and gingerbread boys.  It’s very calming and relaxing, yet I’m having fun and making memories at the same time!  My girls love it just as much as I do.  Here are K & B decorating cookies last Christmas:

Picture 101
Picture 103
Picture 112
The recipe I use is not a family recipe.  It’s actually one I found a few years ago when looking for a lowfat sugar cookie recipe.  I stumbled upon a recipe that had NO BUTTER (or shortening) in it.  I didn’t believe it could really work, so I had to try it for myself.  I followed the recipe and then frosted the cookies with some icing.  The cookies were great, and even Patrick was surprised at how tasty they were.  We both loved eating these delicious cookies and in addition, we didn’t have to feel guilty about eating a fattening treat!  From then on, this has been the only recipe I use for making sugar cookies.  Let me be clear—these are not “healthy cookies.”  There is still lots of sugar in them and they’re made with all-purpose flour (I’ve tried making them with whole wheat flour and I won’t be making those ever again)!  But if you’re going to make a treat, why not make it slightly LESS bad for you?

So, without further ado, here’s my Christmas present to all of you—the recipe for my famous sugar cookies!  Enjoy!

Butterless Sugar Cookies

1/3 cup white sugar
1 egg
2/3 cup honey
1 tsp lemon or almond extract (depending on your preference)
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Mix sugar, egg, honey, and extract in a medium bowl with mixer. Mix in flour, baking soda, and salt until well-combined and dough forms. Chill dough for one hour. Preheat oven to 375F. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick and cut out shapes (use enough flour underneath dough so it doesn’t stick to countertop). Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake for 4-6 minutes. While you are figuring out how long your oven takes to bake these just right, watch them carefully. Do NOT let cookies get brown. Frost* when cool. Keep in airtight container and these cookies will remain very soft!

*For my frosting, I just use a small amount of Smart Balance, powdered sugar, vanilla, and almond milk.
We make this recipe for Valentine’s Day cookies, Halloween cookies, and any other holiday that warrants cute decorated shapes!  We have already made these cookies once this season, but we’ll be making them again next week so we can do it with the whole family this time!


Jenn-Lee said...

So cute! I just posted my sugar cookie recipe as well but I am going to have to try this one out. No butter and no shortening sounds awesome enough to try. Thanks so much! I can't wait to taste them. Next week I will make this and I will let you know how they turn out for us. Merry Christmas !

Maren said...

I love this recipe, too, all the family tradition with less fat. However, mine always turn out a little gummy--do you have any secrets for avoiding that? The ones I've eaten that you've made never tasted like that.

merathon said...

i'm not sure, maren. i do know that while you don't want to OVERbake them, you also don't want to UNDERbake them. they should puff up a bit while they're baking and while the recipe does say "do not let them get brown," the edges of mine are usually just BARELY brown. my oven takes 6 minutes, but every oven is different. our oven in boston just took 4!

jenn-lee-- hope they turn out well for you!

Mirien said...

I love the idea of cookie decorating, but actually doing it? Messy and time consuming. I need to get over my hang-ups and try it again this year. I have so many other holiday recipes I love that the sugar cookies sometimes just don't happen. But I love buying cute cookie cutters--I have quite a collection. Maybe I'll actually use them this week.