Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Not-so-secret Top Secret Amish Sugar Cookies

When the name of a cookie is so long, you know there's a story behind it.

First graders at my children's school had a heritage project before Christmas this year.  They needed to research a country their family was from, a holiday that country celebrated, and then create a poster, and present their research in a living museum. On their poster, a recipe needed to be included.

On my dad's side of the family, we have Amish roots (yes, I know this isn't a country, but it's interesting, especially in Texas!).  J choose to research the Amish and we scrambled to find a recipe. I goggled Amish cookies (because, we all know, My name is Melani, I have a baking problem and when given an option, I bake).  I found sugar cookies pop up several times.

These aren't your normal cookie cutter sugar cookies.  They aren't crispy like sand tarts, nor flat like cookie cutter cookies.  This are cake like and domed.  By themselves, they are relatively unimpressive, but top them with some white icing and sprinkles (or a raisin in the center like I remember my aunt making them.  I opted not to included the raisins because it reminds of breasts), they are something else.

For the winter party, we were asked to share Ethnic foods and this was ours.  A bit of stretch, I know, but the whole project was a bit of a stretch for us.  The cookies were a hit with kids--a mom who was there told me all the kids loved them and J also told me how everyone loved them.  He told them though that no one could have the recipe because it was a Top Secret Recipe.

I laughed, this was the first time I've ever made the recipe and it was published in a cookbook.  So, without further ado, here is your Christmas gift--a not-so-secret Top Secret Recipe.

This will yield 6 dozen cookies (or more) depending on how big you make the cookies.

Amish Sugar Cookies
from my mom

1 1/2 c white sugar
1 2/3 c brown sugar
1 1/8 c (18 T) butter, at room temperature
4 eggs
6 1/2 c flour
3 t baking powder
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 1 /2 t salt
1 1/2 c buttermilk
1 1/2 t vanilla

6 T butter, at room temperature
3 - 4 c confectioners sugar
1 t vanilla

For the cookies:  Cream together the sugars and butter until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and mix thoroughly.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add dry ingredients to the sugar/butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla (start and end with the dry ingredients).  Drop by teaspoonful (the kind you eat with, not the kind you measure with) onto a cookie sheet.  Bake in preheated 350 degrees oven for 12 - 14 minutes (depending on size).  You can check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center of one--the edges may be starting to brown just a hair.  Cool on a rack.

For the icing:  Cream together 2 c confectioners sugar and butter in a bowl (I use a handheld mixer). Add the vanilla.  Add the remaining confectioners sugar a bit of a time, adding water to help achieve desired consistency.  Taste periodically to find the desired sweetness (and how much confectioners sugar you need).  

Ice the cooled cookies and decorate with sprinkles, a raisin, or leave only iced.  Let icing harden, then store in an airtight container, separating layers with parchment or waxed paper.

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