In my ongoing quest to find tasty, kid-friendly food for you that's appropriate for the whole family, this week I chose a sugar cookie, perfect for the holidays. I found the recipe in "The Brown Betty Cookbook," by Linda Hinton Brown and Norrinda Brown Hayat (Wiley; $22.99).
Soft Sugar Cookies
(Makes 18 cookies)
-7 tablespoons vegetable shortening
-3 cups all-purpose flour
-3/4 teaspoon baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
-1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
-2 large egg yolks
-1/2 cup buttermilk
-1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
-1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
-2 large egg whites, stiffly beaten
-10 maraschino cherries, stemmed, halved
1. Arrange the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together into a medium bowl.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening on medium speed until fluffy and creamy. Slowly add the sugar, beating until light. Add the egg yolks and beat until fluffy.
4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk, beating after each addition. Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts. Fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites.
5. Using a little less than 1/4 cup of dough for each cookie, drop the dough about 3 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets. Flatten the cookies a little with a spatula. Bake for about 7 minutes, then place half of a cherry in the center of each cookie. Return the cookies to the oven and continue to bake about 5 minutes longer.
6. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for a couple of minutes before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.