I came up with this recipe when we made cookies for Santa this past Christmas, and decided to make them for Sweet Girl’s daycare teachers for Valentine’s Day. I like to do something nice for them since they do so much for our family, but baking can get really difficult with all of the dietary restrictions; on top of our dairy and soy restriction, the daycare does not allow anything with nuts, and according to their policy, that also includes coconut. That unfortunately eliminates some of my favorite sweet treats like Coconut Macaroons and Dairy, Soy, and Gluten Free Chocolate Cake. These cookies, however, are perfect. Not only do they meet the many dietary restrictions, but they are such a classic favorite that they are sure to please anyone with a sweet tooth!
Sugar Cookie Cut outs
2/3 c palm oil shortening
¾ c sugar
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 c all purpose flour
Sugar for decorating (optional)
- Beat shortening in mixer for about 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, and salt and beat until well mixed.
- Add egg, lemon juice, and vanilla. Mix well, scraping sides as needed.
- Add flour and mix until well incorporated. You may need to stir in the last bit by hand if your mixer has trouble.
- Divide dough in half and press each shape into a ball. Wrap each with plastic wrap, and chill for about 30 minutes.
- Dust a hard surface with flour, and place the first dough ball on it. Dust the top with flour, and roll it out to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut out desired shapes and place one inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. (see decorating option below)
- Bake in a 375º oven for 7-8 minutes, until edges are firm and just beginning to brown. Cool on a wire rack and decorate with icing.
To Decorate with Sugar: If you are not planning to decorate the cookies with icing, I recommend sprinkling them with sugar before baking. You can use plain sugar, or you can use colored sugar to decorate them. Colored sugar can be purchased, or you can mixed food coloring into your sugar and allow it to dry. I prefer not to use artificial coloring, so I look for ways to naturally dye food. When I made these for Christmas, I used cinnamon sugar for the gingerbread man shapes, sugar with turmeric for the stars (a little goes a long way and color brightens a lot when cooked), and sugar with liquid chlorophyll for the trees. For Valentine’s Day I dusted the heart shapes with sugar and beet powder.
Yield: I usually get about 2 dozen cookies, but this of course depends on the size of your cookie cutters.
For a beautiful glaze that hardens when dry, check out my recipe for Iced Sugar Cookies!