The festival of lights is upon us! Friday night marked the first night of Chanukah. I love Chanukah for many reasons. Obviously for the gifts, but mostly because of the yummy yummy food you get to eat. Latkes, apple sauce, and sour cream if one of my favorite combinations ever. So far, it is only the third night and I have eaten god knows how many latkes. They’re just so delicious all fried up in oil. I think for the remaining 5 nights, I’m going to have to eat a more balanced diet if I ever plan on fitting back into my jeans.
So for the first night this past Friday, Charlotte and I ventured uptown to have a celebration with my entire family – aunts, uncles, cousins, etc… It was all very fun. It was the first time I had spent Chanukah in New York with my extended family in a long time. It was also Charlottes’ first Chanukah celebration, so we explained to her all about lighting the candles, and even she got some presents! We had a yummy dinner, although the latkas did get a slightly bit scorched, and by slightly I mean then were mostly black.
Anyway, the rest of the meal was great and I decided to make some sugar cookies for dessert. I got a set of Chanukah cookie cutters from my secret santa the other day. So there were dreidels, Jewish stars, menorahs, and even little Judah Maccabee cut outs that really just looked like ginger bread to me. They were super easy to make. I did the dough the night before and just rolled them out Friday morning and popped them into the oven. I debated for a very long time whether I wanted to make icing or not, but after much contemplation and realizations that I was far to lazy, I decided to leave them plain. I think icing would have been nice, but they were perfectly fine by themselves. This will definitely be my go to sugar cookie recipe from now on when ever I need to make some.
CHANUKAH SUGAR COOKIES
(Adapted from The Splendid Table)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1) Whisk the flour, salt and baking powder together.
2) Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for a minute or so, until smooth. Beat in the sugar and continue to beat for about 2 minutes, until the mixture is light and pale.
3) Add the egg and yolk and beat for another minute or two; beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and steadily add the flour mixture, mixing only until it has been incorporated — because this dough is best when worked least, you might want to stop the mixer before all the flour is thoroughly blended into the dough and finish the job with a rubber spatula. When mixed, the dough will be soft, creamy and malleable.
4) Turn the dough out onto a counter and divide it in half. If you want to make roll-out cookies, shape each half into a disk and wrap in plastic. Chill for at least two hours.
5) Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
6) Working with one packet of dough at a time, roll out the dough between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper to a thickness of 1/4 inch, lifting the plastic or paper and turning the dough over often so that it rolls evenly. Lift off the top sheet of plastic or paper and cut out the cookies Pull away the excess dough, saving the scraps for rerolling, and carefully lift the cookies onto the baking sheets with a spatula, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between the cookies.
7) Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 9 to 11 minutes, rotating the sheet at the midpoint. The cookies should feel firm, but they should not color much, if at all. Remove pans from oven. Let them rest for 1 minute before carefully lifting them onto a rack to cool to room temperature.
8 ) Repeat with the remaining dough, cooling the baking sheets between batches.