This week has flown by in the blink of an eye. As I explained in a previous post, January is typically a quiet month around here, but that’s not going to be the case this year. I think the waters have finally settled for a bit, however, and I can get back to the business of blogging.
Despite my intent to shed holiday pounds in January, I always seem to get the urge to cook and bake. I suspect the colder weather brings on the need to turn on the oven and stay cozy with comfort food.
Earlier this week when I was preparing my home for the photoshoot with Better Homes & Gardens, I decided I wanted something on hand to represent my love of food and baking. For me, those things are an important aspect of home. They’re also part of who I am and what I do.
So, I tapped into my “quirky” side and whipped up these fun and delicious Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies.
I found this sweater cookie cutter on Amazon and thought it’d be perfect for Christmas and also the colder months here in PA (January through March).
It’s challenging to avoid the post-holiday blues as the tinsel and lights come down, so why not continue the fun with winter baking that’s still colorful and tasty but not holiday themed?
Thankfully, the folks from BHG loved the cookies and snapped a shot for the magazine. I assumed I’d have to wait until the release of the issue later this year, but I was given permission to share these cookies now which thrilled me to no end. (I have a hard time keeping secrets.)
Despite their complicated look, the cookies are simple to make. (They do require a little time and creativity.)
Start with the basic sugar cookie recipe that I’ve shared below. This is the recipe my mom has been using for years, so it comes highly recommended. You’re obviously going to need a sweater cookie cutter. I used this one.
With the cookies baked, I chose a variety of colors for the frosting to represent the winter season. Blues, teals, and greens were obvious choices. I also opted for red, pink, and white. I’m thinking these cookies would be an amazing and unique Valentine’s Day surprise!
I filled several piping bags with frosting and got to work.
Using a small star and round tip, I created a variety of patterns for my Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies. As you can imagine, the possibilities are endless. Feel free to copy some of these designs or have fun with your own creations.
They are pretty adorable, right?
So, if you’re looking for a unique winter treat, something quirky for Valentine’s Day, or just an excuse to bake, give these Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies a try!
makes about 4 dozen cookies
Here's what you will need:
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco)
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
7 cups (2 pounds) confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 tablespoons milk (as needed)
Gel food coloring
Piping bags and tips (small star tip and round tip)
Begin by preparing the cookie dough. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the vegetable shortening, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Once combined, add half of the dry ingredients. Begin to mix and pour in the buttermilk. Then add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Refrigerate the dough for at least four hours or overnight.
After your dough has chilled, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
On a well-floured surface, roll out about a quarter of the dough to a 1/8 - 1/4-inch thickness, depending on your preference. Cut out the dough using a sweater-shaped cookie cutter. Transfer each cut out to an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until the first sign of browning appears on the surface of the cookies. Remove from the oven and transfer the cookies to a cutting board or your counter top to cool completely.
While the cookies cool, prepare your frosting*. With a mixer, cream together the vegetable shorting and butter. Slowly add the confectioner's sugar, one cup at a time. Mix in the vanilla extract. Add milk as needed for a smoother consistency. Divide the frosting into smaller bowls and add gel food coloring to achieve the desired colors.
Place the frosting in a piping bag with the desired tip. A small star tip is great for the sweater texture, and a round tip is recommended for details and dots.
Once your cookies have cooled, use the prepared piping bags to create designs on your sweater cookies.
Allow the frosting to set before packing and storing the cookies in an airtight container.
*I like to use a variety of colors when creating these cookies, so I double this recipe. Typically that will leave me with extra frosting, but I'd rather have extra in order to have fun with my designs without fear of running out.
Pretty and simple, right?
While the piping does take some time (and your hand may cramp up a bit), the results are totally worth it.