Loaves & Dishes
By Jennie Geisler Erie Times-News staff blogger
Follow Jennie Geisler's kitchen adventures on her Loaves & Dishes blog.   Read more about this blog.
 Phone: 814-870-1885
Posts tagged ‘cookies’
Posted: February 12th, 2014

Sugar Cutout Cookies are pure deception. They seem simple. Make easy dough, cut, bake, decorate.
No, no, no, no, no.
They are actually a time-consuming serious art form that requires planning and plenty of advice from a veteran.
After reading about my most recent lousy cutout cookie experience at Christmastime, my friend Mary Birdsong offered up her mother’s recipe. She also took me under her wing last weekend to show me how it’s done.
Christmas is a big time for cutout cookies, but they really apply to any season or celebration. We used heart-shaped cutters and decorated in pink, red, pink, purple and white for, obviously, Valentine’s Day.
Armed with Mary’s knowledge, you (and I) should be able to tame the sugar cutout cookie tiger.



  • 1/2 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour (sifted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda


Step 1
Mix well butter, sugar and eggs. Stir in cream and vanilla. Mary uses her food processor.
Step 2
Sift together and stir dry ingredients. Mix dry ingredients into wet until thoroughly incorporated. Dough may be tinted at this point if desired. Chill 4 to 5 hours to overnight. Mary does it overnight. If the dough isn't cold enough, it won't cut cleanly and will stick to any surface and rolling pin.
Step 3
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Step 4
Roll out dough one quarter at a time and keep the rest in the fridge while you work. Using quite a bit of flour, Mary rolls the cookies very thin, no higher than 1/4 inch, for slightly crisp cookies that bake quickly. (She likes the ones that get too dark, and now so do I.)
Step 5
When Mary cuts out the cookies, she presses down on the cutter, moves dough edges out of her way, and slides the cutter to the edge of her board to let the cookie fall out of the cutter into her opposite hand.
Step 6
Place the cookies on rimless, ungreased cookie sheets and bake until slightly golden. She checked her very thin cookies at 4 minutes. They overcook quickly.
Step 7
Let stand for only a minute on sheets. Any longer and the cookies will stick to the pan and break when you try to remove them. Place on a cooking rack until firm enough to decorate.
Step 8
Mary's Icing: Combine some milk, butter and smidge of vanilla in a small pot and heat until the butter melts. Stir warm mixture with powdered sugar until desired consistency. She does not know amounts. I think I saw her add a cup of milk, a couple tablespoons of butter and stirred just some of the liquid into roughly a cup of powdered sugar until she was happy with the consistency, a little like school glue, but way tastier.
Step 9
Sprinkle with colored sanding sugar, nonpareils or sprinkles and allow icing to set up before storing.
Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: December 5th, 2012

Thanks to everyone who entered the drawing for “America’s Best Pies” from the American Pie Council. The winner is Priscilla Cochran. I’ll pop it in the mail today.

If you are not Priscilla Cochran, you are eligible for this week’s drawing from “The Old Farmer’s Everyday Baking Almanac,” put out by the publishers of The Old Farmer’s Almanac, with the help of Ken Haedrich.

To enter, send an e-mail to jennie.geisler@timesnews.com including your NAME, MAILING ADDRESS and NAME OF THE BOOK YOU WANT.
I do not store or share this information.

If you’d like to try a bite, I think these look good:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

1. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter in a large mixing bowl. Beat in the sugars and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
2. Stir in the vanilla. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a separate bowl. Stir in the dry mixture into the creamed ingredients, half at a time, until evenly mixed. Stir in the cranberries, white chocolate chips, and nuts. Cover the dough and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter two large baking sheets or line them with parchment paper.
4. With lightly floured hands, shape the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls. Place the balls on the baking sheets, leaving about 2 1/2 inches in between.
5. Bake one sheet at a time on the center oven rack for about 17 minutes. When done, the edges of the cookies should be golden brown and the centers much less so.
6. Cool the cookies for 5 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer them to a rack to cool completely.
Makes about 30 cookies
– “The Old Farmer’s Everyday Baking Almanac”

Posted in: Uncategorized

Switch to our mobile site