Come holiday time, Joyce Berry rolls out dozens of these buttery cutout cookies in her Sandpoint, Idaho country kitchen. "The basic sugar cookie recipe is my mother's," she informs, "and I came up with the sweet 'surprise' inside."
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1-1/4 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- 1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 to 3 tablespoons whole milk
- Colored sugar, optional
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients; add to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until easy to handle.
- On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with 2-in star cookie cutter or the cutter of your choice. Place half of the stars on ungreased baking sheets. Spoon 1-1/2 teaspoonfuls of pie filling into the centers of each. Top with remaining stars. Pinch edges to seal; cut a small slit in top of each cookie.
- Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks.
- For icing, in a small bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, extract and enough milk to achieve desired consistence. Spread over cookies. Sprinkle with colored sugar if desired. Yield: 4 dozen.
Originally published as Surprise Sugar Stars in Country Woman November/December 1998, p41
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