Thursday, August 16, 2012

30+ Years of Jane's Sugar Cookies

Jane's Sugar Cookies - by Jane Ford

In 1980 my sister, Sandy Parker, gave me a cookbook* from her sister-in-law’s church. The cookbook was called Church Mission Cook Book and contained recipes from the women of the St. John Lutheran Church of Sparta, IL. The cookbook was a fundraiser this church did to help sponsor their missionary fund.

In this book were several cookie recipes that I have used ever since, including this one. The sugar cookie recipe happens to be from Christa Parker, Sandy’s sister-in-law. I can bake these cookies by heart because I have been making them for almost every holiday or special occasion over the past 32 years. Aunt’s Jane’s cookies have always been a hit with nieces, nephews, my daughters’ friends, and now the children of those who loved them growing up.  Every Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter… have the picture, there would be a big serving platter with decorated cookies on it.

I have even made them for a few weddings to put on the snack tables. For one wedding, I made about 800 small heart cookies….now that was a lot of cookies! And, it took 3 batches of dough to boot! People will say to me, ‘That’s too much trouble.’ But, really it isn’t and just knowing how good they are with all that butter in them makes it worth it anyway!

My decorating isn’t the best. I do not do fancy by any means. I simply spread the icing on the cookies and then add colored sugar or other small candies depending on the cookie. 

The icing recipe was given to me by my mother, Lula Heape. I do not know for sure from whom she got it, but it is simple to make and good on these cookies. When using the decorator icing, one thing to note is that it takes about 12 hours for it to dry enough to be able to stack the cookies without them sticking together. 

*Side note from Jenny - check out the last photo on the post, you'll notice that the cookbook my mom mentioned above no longer has a spine. It is held together by a large rubber band, and love :)

Sugar Cookies

The latest batch - Lula's 2nd Birthday, Crown Cookies
Church Mission Cook Book, Sparta, IL
Recipe entered by Christa Parker

5-5 ½ cups flour
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 sticks room temperature butter (no substitutions)
2 cups sugar
4 eggs…room temperature if possible
1 tsp vanilla or 2 Tbls grated orange rind

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Cream butter; add sugar little at a time and beat on high until light and fluffy. Blend in eggs one at a time and then add vanilla or orange rind. Add dry ingredients; mix well. Chill dough in refrigerator several hours or overnight. Roll dough out on lightly floured area to desired thickness. Cut with favorite cookie cutters. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350* for 8-10 minutes depending on your oven. Cool completely before icing.  Makes about 5-6 dozen cookies with medium-sized cookie cutters.

Basic ingredient make the best cookies :)

Start with a small ball of dough...
Roll out to about 1/4 inch thickness.
This can vary based on how you like them,
thin and crisp, or thick and dense.

Choose your cutter, the smaller the design the more cookies you get!
After baking, allow to cool before icing.
Bake 'em!

Decorator Icing

1 ½ cups Crisco
2 lbs. powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
1 egg white
½ cup milk 
Beat on high for 6 minutes.
Can be kept in refrigerator 3 weeks or can be frozen for use later. Adding liquid or paste color is no problem.

Line them up, and start icing!

Enlist help to ice them!

The well-love recipe!