Holiday cookie recipe: Sugar cookies plus bake-off entry information

(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

Amanda Rettke of Shafer, Minn., was one of the 10 winners of our first Los Angeles Times Holiday Cookie Bake-Off with these sugar cookies.

“This recipe was groundbreaking for me in that it changed how I perceived myself in the kitchen. I am not a great cook and am still a beginning baker, but this recipe is one of those magical concoctions that can transform even the most horrific of wannabe chefs.”

You can find the recipe below.

Think you can do better? Well, don’t just sit there! Show us. Enter our fourth annual Los Angeles Times Holiday Cookie Bake-off. Entries must be submitted by Nov. 19 at midnight.


Go to our Facebook page and submit your cookie recipe, along with a short essay about why your cookie is such a holiday favorite. Include a photo if you can; voters will want to see proof.

Every year we get hundreds of entries and thousands of votes cast, so get your recipes up quickly.

You, the readers, will vote online for your favorites. Voting ends at midnight Dec. 2, then we’ll test and taste the top 50 vote-getters at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Pasadena to come up with the 10 we like best.

We’ll take top vote-getters and try out the cookies in The Times Test Kitchen. The finalists will be invited to the Los Angeles Times for a tour of the Test Kitchen, and will be photographed and featured in a Saturday section article during the holidays.

Amanda’s amazing sugar cookies

Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes, plus chilling time for the dough and decorating time

About 7 dozen cookies

Amanda’s amazing icing

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

1 drop lemon juice

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

1 tablespoon milk, more or less as desired

Food coloring, if desired

Flavored extracts, if desired

In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice and corn syrup. Whisk in milk to make a thick, spreadable icing. If coloring the icing with liquid food coloring, you might want to add a little less milk as the coloring will dilute the frosting. For different flavors, add drops of vanilla, almond or lemon extract. For shinier icing, use a little more corn syrup and a little less milk. The frosting will keep, tightly covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 week.

Amanda’s amazing sugar cookies and assembly

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

4 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoons almond extract

4 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

Amanda’s amazing icing

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, until combined, then beat in the vanilla and almond extracts.

2. In a separate large bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Slowly beat the flour mixture in with the butter mixture until combined to form a smooth dough.

3. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or until well chilled.

4. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. On a floured surface, roll the dough to a thickness of about one-eighth inch. Cut out cookie shapes from the dough. Space the cookies about 1 inch apart on a baking sheet and bake until lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes.

5. Remove from the sheets and cool completely before icing. Ice as desired.

Each of 7 dozen cookies: 80 calories; 1 gram protein; 11 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 4 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 19 mg cholesterol; 6 grams sugar; 36 mg sodium.


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