Holiday Horrors! Ugly Sugar Cookies!
“Ugly” holiday sweaters have become all the rage. And they ARE pretty ugly. It all seems to come from people wearing such sweaters as a fashion statement because they actually liked them. Now the more corny, goofy, or yes, ugly, the better!
And that brings us to my delightful cookies. It had been decades since my mom made roll-out, cut-out cookies to be decorated and I thought it was high time to get them baked up. And so I did. Beautiful cookies, perfectly lightly golden. All that was left was the decoration! The “fun” part.
To know me is to know I haven’t much actual artistic talent. That gift was bestowed from my dad to my two sisters, one an animator, the other a designer. Yeah, I can sing on key and that comes from dear old Dad, but when it comes to coloring in the lines and that sort of ability, I am woefully bad at it – and truth be told, have no patience or interest in improving… ha! Luckily I’ve got my mother’s gift of improvisation and making the best of things so when it came time to ice these cookies, I was ready for anything.
Anyone can go and buy a billion specialty tools to create artistic genius on the surface of a sweet baked treat but that’s going to delay the joy of shoving that cookie in your face. And really… am I going to sit there and do a first coat of icing… let them dry… then create colors and decorate… then let them dry again as I build color stories? Oh lordie, no way. But I can make an effort, right? Yeah!
I knew the icing would be easy and simple and provide the proper level sweetness without being cloying. Great! And taking a moment to make yellow for my stars and green for my trees from the basic white for my snowmen was not much of an effort and was as far as I was going to go. But then I realized I have a lot of colored sugars and can easily make any color I want so what the heck! While they were wet, I can keep going. I went right to work on the stars and thought they weren’t too bad.
Yellow sugar on yellow stars. Then I started with the trees… a little yellow spooned onto the top as the star… and then the ugly began. The red for ornaments was messy. And then my poor snowdudes… I saw the outline for the hat and had black sugar… but then I ran amok and added buttons. Then I thought a scarf would be the perfect accessory… and I was in a decoration frenzy! When I finished, I was looking at a table of some ugly cookies. Yikes!
And then they cracked me up. I fell in love with them! So ugly you had appreciate them. They had followed a quicker trajectory from horror to joy than the ugly sweaters but no less entertaining.
After all this you may wonder about the taste. They are AMAZING! Crunchy on the outside, buttery goodness on the inside. Rich flavored and just sweet enough. The texture of the colored sugar completes the full experience of cookie perfection.
It occurs to me that there should be ugly holiday parties where the attendees where their ugly sweaters and create ugly cookies! Nothing would be more deliciously beautiful! YEAH!
- • 4 cups flour
- • 1 tsp baking powder
- • 1/2 tsp baking soda
- • 1/2 tsp salt
- • 1 cup butter, softened
- • 1-1/2 cups sugar
- • 1 large egg
- • 1/2 cup sour cream
- • 1 tsp vanilla
- • 4 cups powdered sugar
- • 5 tbsp milk
- • favorite cookie cutters
- • food coloring
- • colored sugar
- Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Mix butter, sugar, and egg until fluffy. Add sour cream and vanilla, and mix. Mix in half the flour mixture, then the rest. Form dough into a ball, cover in wax paper, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Remove from refrigerator and place on a floured surface. Cut into 4 parts and one piece at a time, roll into a ball then roll flat to 1/4” thick. Cut out cookies until all the dough is used.
- Place on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake at 375° for 9-12 minutes, or until lightly golden. Let cool fully.
- Mix powdered sugar and milk to make icing - add a touch more milk if too thick. If you’re using colors, spoon some into separate bowls and mix in food coloring to achieve desired shades. Spread icing on cookies. If you’re going to decorate with colored sugar, add as you like while icing is wet. Let dry and enjoy!