Sweetheart Puzzle Cookies
This is as easy as it is fun for bakers of all ages!
This is a fun way to decorate sugar cookies without the fuss of making and piping royal icing. Divide a batch of sugar cookie dough into thirds or quarters to stain with food coloring and/or dust with sanding sugar. Cut large shapes from each of the doughs and then small shapes within each large cookie. Mix and match the different colored/sugared doughs with the smaller cut out shapes like pieces of a puzzle. Easy as pie!
Equipment: dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; large and small mixing bowls; hand or standing mixer; rubber spatula; rolling pin; cookie cutters; parchment paper or silicone baking sheets; sheet pans; offset spatula; cooling rack
2½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt in a mixing bowl and set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl or standing mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy and creamy, approximately two minutes. Add the egg and then the vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Add the flour mixture and beat until the dough forms small crumbs, approximately 30 seconds.
3. Turn out the crumbed dough onto a clean work surface and gather the bits with your hands. Gently work the dough for a minute or two until it is no longer crumby and a smooth surface forms.
"At this point, if using food coloring, color the dough as desired. Begin rolling and cutting the dough, or seal in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to three days. "
4. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two cookie sheets with silicone liners or parchment paper. Set aside.
5. Place a piece or disc of dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll to ¼-inch thickness. If using sanding sugars, sprinkle and press lightly into the dough with the rolling pin. Using cookie cutters of varying sizes, cut shapes big and small from the dough. Repeat the process with the remaining discs of dough.
6. Place the large shapes 2 inches apart on the lined sheet pans. Fill the cutout large cookies with the smaller puzzle pieces in contrasting colors.
7. Bake at 375°F for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.
8. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack.
Makes 2-3 dozen cookies.