Shamrock Sugar Cookies

A couple days ago I was sorting through some loose recipe pages I had in my "Oh!, I want to try making this" pile. You know... the pile of recipes printed from or that sit around for a little while (okay, months maybe) until you get a chance to try them out. Trust me, mine is quite the pile.

There was a new sugar cookie recipe in the stack. I already have a “family favourite” sugar cookie recipe and it's great. It uses sour cream, which gives the cookies a richer flavour. However, I didn't have sour cream and I did really want to try this new recipe. 

Perfect Sugar Cookies (adapted)
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract (I use clear vanilla extract)
2 TBSP milk
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

In a large bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add in the sugar and blend thoroughly. Add the egg and vanilla extract and blend. Add the milk and beat again.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the dry mixture to the creamed mixture until combined. Once the dough holds together, wrap the dough in plastic wrap or in a Ziploc bag and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to two days.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Roll dough out on lightly floured surface until 1/4 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes. Place cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake each sheet of cookies for 8 - 10 minutes; until edges are just starting to turn golden. This will give you a cookie with a slightly chewy center. If you like a crisper cookie, then bake them a little longer.

Remove cookies from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and transfer to wire cooling rack to finish cooling. Frost and decorate cookies once completely cool.

So I'm making up the dough and I thought, "Hey, St. Patrick's Day is coming up!" So I grabbed my Wilton's Kelly Green food gel and added just a little dab to the dough. I use Wilton's gels because I like how little I need to use to get great colour. Check out that green!
Once the dough came together, I divided it into two discs and stuck them into Ziploc bags, then put the bags in the refrigerator for a day. I like to give the dough a chance to rest and for the flavours to get all mellow and happy together.

I had picked up a cute shamrock shape cookie cutter from Scoop n' Save in Langley. This place is amazing! It has everything you would ever want to bake and decorate. I also bought some green sanding sugar and some shamrock sprinkles. They offer them in bulk, and you just scoop out how much you need. Hence the name...Scoop n' Save.

Yesterday the weather was terrible. So much wind, so much rain. A good day to stay inside and bake. I was a little worried the power would go out before I'd had a chance to bake all the cookies, so I made quick work of getting the dough rolled out and the shapes cut and into the oven. Luckily, the power stayed on and all the shamrocks came out fine.

Today my mom and I spent some time decorating the cookies with royal icing using Wilton's Meringue Powder. I use this in my royal icing to get it to harden faster. I only add in about a teaspoon to the mix; just kinda sprinkle it in. So we had to be quick about getting them iced and dipped into the sanding sugar before the icing started to set.

We opted for a random pattern zig-zag over the cookies. These cookies are going to my Oma's homecare center, so we didn't want to ice the whole cookie but still wanted them to be whimsical. We left some with plain icing, some with just sanding sugar and some with both shamrock sprinkles and sanding sugar. Here they are all in a box ready to go.

And then I did some research. It turns out that while all shamrocks are clover, not all clover are shamrocks. And while even botanists do not always agree on what makes a shamrock, most Irishmen (and women) do. Irish legend claims that St. Patrick used the tri-lobed leaf to illustrate Christianity's holy trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Four leaf clovers are a genetic mutation of the three leaf clovers. Although four leaves are considered lucky, they are not considered to be shamrocks by those passionate about their Irish traditions and legends.

So ultimately, my "shamrocks" are not shamrocks and are simply four-leaved clovers. And while they may not be particularly Irish, they taste delicious.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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