Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Betty Crocker's Sugar Cookies

I have very little experience when it comes to baking cookies. Truth be told, I was a big fan of the fake and bake packages in the grocery dairy case or instant mixes until I saw they were full of trans fat and other gross things.

Since it is the holidays, and I did promise coworkers cookies, I set out to make some "easy" sugar cookies to decorate and give as gifts.

Easy my ass (sorry grandma)!

A quick scan of the ingridients led me to believe I had everything at home except for baking soda which I tossed after an unfortunate snickerdoodle incident last Saturday. I stopped at a 7-11 outside of my subway stop and paid $2.99 for a tiny box (it's like 50 cents at the market!). I was being lazy because it was 25 degrees and windy and my face was freezing off.

I got home and opened the fridge. Much to my horror I only had 1 stick of butter and the recipe calls for 2. I didn't want to leave my house (I was wearing flannel pjs), so I looked in every cookbook I owned to see if any had a different recipe, perhaps one that let me use canola oil. Nope. They all said the same thing: 1 cup butter.

So on went the coat and the snow boots and I trudged up the block to the corner market (I knew if I walked down the hill to whole foods I'd never make it back) to buy a package of $5 margarine.

On my way back I saw a rat the size of my cats running down the street and was horrified. I seriously hope rats haven't moved into my building. This guy was big enough he probably has a set of keys. Plus, I don't think my cats could defend my honor if faced with the giant rat. Josie would have to give it come hither looks while James wacked it on the head with a frying pan (I would be standing on the counter screaming). It was seriously gross.

Sorry if I ruined your appetite. I had to share. But before you think I live in a crack den or cardboard box, I should tell you I live on the crappiest street in the fanciest neighborhood in the city. A certain senator lives 2 blocks over. But considering how the hill is right next to the river and the houses are close to 150 years old, rodents like to try an move in.

But I digress.

Now the directions say the margarine has to be softened, so I left two sticks on the counter while I went and wrapped Christmas Presents and ate dinner. Then it was time for magic.

1 cup butter or margarine, softended
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soad
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1. In a large bowl, beat butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and egg with electirc mixeron medium speed. Stir in flour, baking soda, cream of tartar. (note, by stir, does Betty mean by hand? I did it, but it was pretty tough)


Are they serious?

2. Heat oven to 375. Divide dough in half. On lightly floured cloth-covered surface, roll each half 1/4 inch thick. Cut with 3 1/2 inch cookie cutter. On ungreased cookie sheet place cutouts 2 inches apart.

Here is where I ran into trouble (2 1/2 hours later). My dough was crumbly and did not want to flatten. I basically had to beat it. Why did it do this? Too much flour?

3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until delicately golden. Remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool completely before decorating.

By the time I got to the last step it was 11pm at night and I was tired. I said the heck with it and went to bed, leaving the cookies naked.

They turned out okay, but kind of hard, not soft and gooey like I wanted. I decided this is my trial run, I'll do the real baking this weekend when I make and decorate them using a top secret icing. You'll get photos once it's complete.

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