Friday, May 21, 2010

Sugar Cookies

These are from the Betty Crocker Boys and Girls Cookbook. The cookies were a compromise-Danny really wanted me to bake him the cake shaped like a castle-which I will do for his half-birthday next month. I need to get hold of some pink pillow mints. Anyway, we bought a large container of decorations at the kitchen store today (yeah, I could tell you a long, upsetting story about my broken hand mixer, but eh, that was three batches of cookies ago and I'm over it). Now, when I was a youngster, we had coarse coloured sugar, jimmies, and sometimes, if it was a really special occasion those silver dragees that they had to stop making because they had some toxic ingredient in them (gosh, I ate so many of those as a child in my desperate searches of the kitchen cabinets looking for anything resembling candy that wasn't labeled, "dietetic." Kind of amazing I'm still alive. I don't know what the hell my mother had so many jars of them for-it wasn't like she was going to bake a cake or anything).

As I was saying, we didn't have sprinkles bearing the likenesses of dinosaurs, dolphins, stars and moons, and the like. Oh yeah, we had cinnamon hearts-but those sucked, and I always wanted to puke after eating more than three or four. Hey, have you ever had cookies baked with margarine and Sweet and Low? I have-and they weren't very good. At all. Even silver dragees wouldn't help that. Besides, our baking powder in the cabinet was always something like five years out of date, or she'd end up using the bicarb from the open box in the fridge that was there as an odour absorber. Along with the dragees, we had the oddest collection of extracts ever brought together in one place. Really, by the mid-70's when I discovered them, the flavours had been discontinued for well over a decade. Citron? Kirsch? Root beer? They sounded so exotic...and tasted so terrible, surreptitiously swigged straight from the bottle. Except for the butterscotch extract-that was actually good, and could get you pretty buzzed if you drank enough of it. Which I did. Once. All at once.

Five dollars worth of candy toppings for baked goods might sound extravagant to you-and it should. I could have gone to Ben Franklin, and bought better sugar decorations for less money, but they don't sell mixers (at least, I don't think they do) and it would have required a trip to Lincoln. Hey everybody, look at the cute little dinosaurs in the jar!

These cookies are...mediocre. Not good, not bad, but oh-so-easy for a small child to manage shaping and decorating. That's all that mattered to Danny-getting those suns, moons, stars and dinosaurs arranged just-so on the cookies.

You Will Need:

1/2 cup soft shortening (I used butter)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel (I omitted because Danny really dislikes lemon)
1 egg (I used a large one)
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups Ap flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a few baking sheets. Set out a glass and a bowl of sugar Grease the bottom of the glass.

Form into balls from about a teaspoon of dough. Dip glass in sugar and flatten cookies. Leave about 2 inches apart on sheet (on my large sheets I got 12 each). Decorate as you prefer-just do it generously, avoiding those toxic silver dragees your mother might still have in the kitchen cabinet from 1973 along with kirsch extract.

Bake 8-10 minutes. Cool on racks. Makes 3 dozen.

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