December 12, 2007
I am on a Christmas cookie baking binge. I can't seem to stop myself. Last year was a different story. I had two miserable bouts of strep throat between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Needless to say, I didn't do much baking, or anything else for that matter. I guess I am just trying to redeem myself this year.
I spent the better part of my morning slaving over one of my favorite Holiday cookies... Sugar Twists. These crisp, sweet treats are my Grandma's recipe. Funny, I have no memories of eating them at my Grandma's house. That job was always let to my Mom. After I got married, began baking them myself.
Sugar Twists are made with a sugarless dough that is then rolled out in vanilla sugar. They are quite time consuming to make, but certainly worth it. These cookies are as pretty as they are tasty.
I think I will send these over to Susan at Food Blogga to enter in her Christmas cookie contest. The entries keep pouring in. Make sure you stop by and check them out.
For the dough:
3 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 c. shortening
1 c. sour cream or buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
Combine the flour, salt and yeast. Cut in the shortening until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg, sour cream or buttermilk and vanilla. Stir until the ingredients are combined and the dough is smooth.
Shape the dough into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
For the vanilla sugar:
3 c. sugar
3 tsp. vanilla
Mix the vanilla and sugar together until well blended. Set aside.
To make the cookies:
Divide the dough in quarters. Lightly sprinkle your surface with vanilla sugar. Take 1/4 of the dough and form it into a smooth disk. Place on the sugared surface and lightly sprinkle the top with additional sugar.
Roll out the dough until it is approximately 1/8 in thick, adding additional sugar if necessary to keep it from sticking. Fold the dough in half, sprinkle with additional sugar and roll again. Repeat 2 more times.
Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1/2 inch by 3 inch strips. Twist the strips and lay them on a greased cookie sheet.
Bake the cookies at 375 degrees F. for 8-10 minutes. Place them on a rack to cool.
Repeat the entire process with the remaining dough.
As a side note, it is beneficial to scrape and/or wash the cookie sheets between batches. The vanilla sugar tends to caramelize and make the cookies sheets sticky.