No-Chill Cutout Sugar Cookies

The Recipe: How is it special? Great sugar-cookie taste, golden color and texture! No need to chill the dough before rolling! Easy-to-handle dough! Rolled in powdered sugar, not flour, so no floury after-taste! Mix and bake an entire batch in just an hour, start to finish! Best of all? The big smiles that happen whenever sugar cookies appear!

The Conversation: Will you help me wish my dear father a happy 88th birthday?

No-Chill Cutout Sugar Cookies, here in Happy Birthday Cookies. Just mix and roll, no need to wait for the dough to chill. Easy to handle, great-tasting cookies.


COMPLIMENTS!
"At last! A no-chill roll-out cookie that is great!! ... worked perfectly!" ~ Carole


In my family, we sing for birthdays, loudly and some times out of tune, mind you, but always enthusiastically.

Today my father will collect happy-birthday singing telegrams from across the country, all of us wishing him well on this his 88th birthday.

I can’t bake you a cake, Dad. But I sure can bake you Happy Birthday cookies. So hey, watch the front door because guess what FedEx is delivering today!

Happy Birthday, Dad!

My new tradition is all of three months old, baking “happy birthday cookies” for anyone within baking range. So far that’s meant 9s and 0s for a ninety-year old, 1s and 2s for a twelve-year old, 5s for five-year old twins and today, 8s for my father. It’s fun and produces big smiles from all ages, especially once the numeric significance hits.

ALANNA’s TIPS The number of cookies will vary widely, depending on how thick the dough is rolled and the size of the cookie cutters. I roll the cookies “pretty thick” and still reliably end up with three to four dozen cookies. My standing mixer handles a double batch with ease but a double batch is too much for a hand mixer. I a-d-o-r-e the combination of mixed vanilla and almond extracts but the most important thing is to make the cookies taste like more than butter-sugar-flour. I have used all vanilla (excellent!) and all lemon (swoon!) and even unusual extracts such as anise (so edgy!). Experiment! Do be careful with mint extract; a whole tablespoon is too much, start with a teaspoon and then adjust to taste. Powdered sugar works so much better than flour for rolling cut-out cookies because it “melts” into the cookies. This technique works on all sugar cookies, try it on your own favorite recipe! I get better results (more even cooking) baking a single tray at a time rather than doubling up and swapping racks mid-way through.

BAKING FOR GOOD CAUSES If you love to bake, you just might want to gather friends for a "bake off" for a good cause. Check into Drop In & Decorate, founded by my friend and fellow food writer Lydia Walshin from http://www.theperfectpantry.com and Cookies for Kids' Cancer.

NO-CHILL
CUTOUT SUGAR COOKIES

Hands-on time: 45 minutes
Time to table: 60 minutes
Makes about 30 large cookies or 42 medium cookies
  • 1 cup (2 sticks/8 ounces/227g) salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 375g
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • Powdered sugar, for rolling

Heat oven to 350F. Cover heavy baking sheets with parchment.

With an electric mixer, cream the butter on medium speed. Add the sugar, vanilla and almond extract and combine well, scraping the sides a time or two. Add the egg and combine well, again scraping the sides.

Separately, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt, then add to the mixer.

Starting on low speed, mix until the dough begins to gather itself into a ball. Gather the dough into two compact discs. Set one aside.

Sprinkle a clean work surface and the dough disc with powdered sugar. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough evenly about ¼-inch thick. Press cookie cutter(s) into the dough, leaving the cookies in place unless they happen to lift out when removing the cookie cutter. With an offset spatula, pull away all the scrap pieces, pile together on the side, then lift cookies onto the baking sheet, leaving room between for spreading.

Roll out and cut the second disc, collecting the scraps on the side.

Bake the “dough rolled once” cookies for 10 – 14 minutes (12 minutes is perfect in my oven) until edges and bottoms are just golden. Let cool completely.

Collect the scraps and roll out until the dough is gone. The “dough rolled twice or more” cookies take less time to bake (in my oven, only 10 minutes).

Now get creative! Frosting recipe to come but get out the sprinkles!

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Plain Cookie, Assumes 42/36 Cookies: 94/110 Calories; 4/5g Tot Fat; 3g Sat Fat; 16/19mg Cholesterol; 83/97mg Sodium; 12/14g Carb; 0g Fiber; 5/6g Sugar; 1g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 2/2.5, WW PointsPlus 2/3

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite "happy birthday" recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

Tips & Tricks for Rolling Out Sugar Cookies

(hover for a description)
Powdered sugar for rolling ... and the dough disc ... and the cookie cutters.
Collect scraps on the side. Gently lift cookies. Roll scraps last.

Top Row
Left - Dust your work surface and rolling pin with powdered sugar instead of flour, it will "melt" into the cookies, disappearing completely. Do use pure cane sugar, it's slightly more expensive but just tastes better.
Center - Dust the dough disc top and bottom too.
Right - For nice crisp edges, dust the cookies cutters with powdered sugar too.
Bottom Row
Left - Pull away the extra dough, collecting the scraps on the side for rolling later.
Center - Gently lift the cookies onto the cookie sheet, a flat spatula works, an offset spatula does too.
Right - Save all the scraps and roll them together in the end. Cookies from dough "rolled twice or more" will have a different consistency and take less time to bake. I always put them on a separate cookie sheet so the cookies made from dough "rolled once" can bake perfectly.


Will The Dough Freeze Well?


Frozen cookie dough for No-chill Cutout Sugar Cookies.

I hope so! I have half a batch in the freezer now and will let you know. If so, I'll love this dough even more than I do already! UPDATE: The dough does indeed freeze well, for at least six months. Better news? The frosting freezes too! Just bake and decorate, no mixing required!


Perfect for Christmas Cookies


No-Chill Cutout Sugar Cookies, here in Christmas cookies. Just mix and roll, no need to wait for the dough to chill. Easy to handle, great-tasting cookies.

But Sugar Cookies Aren't Just for Christmas Anymore!
St Patrick's Day, Anyone?!


No-Chill Cutout Sugar Cookies, here for St. Patrick's Day. Just mix and roll, no need to wait for the dough to chill. Easy to handle, great-tasting cookies.

Or Valentine's Day?


No-Chill Cutout Sugar Cookies, here for Valentine's Day. Just mix and roll, no need to wait for the dough to chill. Easy to handle, great-tasting cookies.

Or Spring Flowers?


No-Chill Cutout Sugar Cookies, here in Spring Flowers. Just mix and roll, no need to wait for the dough to chill. Easy to handle, great-tasting cookies.

More Cutout Cookies for Festive Occasions

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Frosty Christmas Trees Colored Roll-Out Sugar Cookies Cut-Out Spice Cookies





© Copyright 2014, 2015 Kitchen Parade



Easy Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole
Master Recipe

The Recipe: A new master recipe, this time for an oh-so-easy make-ahead breakfast casserole that flies together in 15 minutes. Unlike many breakfast casseroles, it's packed with protein but just a touch of cheese. Yes, it's Weight Watchers friendly and low-carb! Options for on-the-go portable breakfast-casserole muffins and individual ramekins.

The Conversation: How a "whole foods" cook comes to accept the convenience and affordability of frozen hash brown potatoes. Have you accepted similar convenience foods? What works in your home?

New master recipe for Easy Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole. Start with eggs, frozen hash browns, salsa and cheese, then adapt as you like, incl on-the-go muffins and individual ramekins.

The first time I reached into the grocery-store freezer for frozen hash brown potatoes, discordant bells clamored, if only in my head. Frozen hash-brown potatoes? Not Alanna! Clang! Crash! Bang!

But let's back up a few months, shall we, to learn how I came to discover frozen hash browns?

It all started last fall when we drove from St. Louis to Texas with my dad to visit my sister and her family. To break up the long trip, we spent the first night with my dad's cousin and his wife in southwest Missouri. For breakfast, Mardellya popped a casserole in the oven and an hour later, breakfast was on the table, hot and hearty and more egg-y than the usual cheese-y breakfast casseroles. I had to have her recipe!

First though, back home I checked the ingredient list on a bag of frozen hash brown potatoes, expectingly, frankly, a long list of unspellable, unpronounceable, indeterminable ingredients. At first, I was buoyed to find a short ingredient list. Then reality set in.


INGREDIENT LIST, ORE IDA FROZEN HASH BROWN POTATOES
(For the record, this is NOT a sponsored post. Ore Ida has no idea who I am, this is just the brand of frozen hash-browns my local grocery store carries.)

POTATOES. Okay, so far, so good!

DEXTROSE Uh oh. What's dextrose, anyway? I had to look it up. According to LiveStrong, dextrose is a form of glucose, our bodies' primary fuel. It is widely used in the processed-food industry to promote browning and in the U.S., anyway is usually produced from corn. (Remember how the Omnivore's Dilemma talked about how corn has insinuated itself into soooo many food products? Case in point. Potatoes too, it seems.)

DISODIUM HYDROGEN PYROPHOSPHATE. Double Triple uh oh. This one was harder to investigate since it goes by different names including Disodium Pyrophosphate and Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate. (Ack, who else's eyes are crossing? This stuff is so impenetrable. Some times I wonder, is it on purpose?) Anyway, whatever the name, it's a salt that leavens cake mixes and self-rising flours. In potato products, it's used to prevent oxidation, that is, to prevent the potato pieces from turning brown.

GREAT IRONY I vote for adding irony to the ingredient list because the first additive "promotes" browning and the second one "prevents" browning. Isn't that a double negative, putting us right back where we started, just plain potatoes? Harumph.

Now many good cooks take processed foods in stride. But I have been a "whole food" cook my entire life, even before it was the "cool". It's why until now I've never once bought frozen hash brown potatoes! (Now you better understand why all those bells were going off!)

But here's what I've concluded, what's right for me, for the people I love. My rationale says that a bag of frozen hash brown potatoes may not be a "whole food" but it's as close as a convenience food can get. Affordability matters too: a 30-ounce bag of hash brown potatoes costs about $3, and honestly, price makes a difference.

We all make choices in life. I love my grandmother's Tomato Soup Vegetable Salad and my mother persuaded me there's a time and place for a cake mix, à la Southern Belle Lemon Layer Cake. I made room for them in my life and my Recipe Box.

So I have decided that frozen hash brown potatoes are okay – not ideal, but okay – especially if it means that I can get hot breakfast instead of cold cereal into a man flying off to court early-mornings.

Life. It's full of trade-offs and compromises. This is one I can live with.

But whew. THAT WAS HARD.

Once decided, I've been a woman on a mission! Would you believe that in four months, I've made this Breakfast Casserole twelve times? I wanted to figure out what really works, what doesn't, what's worthwhile, what's not. Every casserole has been different, everyone has been greeted with enthusiasm, the morning of and warmed up later. I wanted to own – OWN – this Breakfast Casserole.

Call it a master recipe, call it a concept recipe but the base recipe is excellent all by itself, you won't go wrong. But then, adapt away, based on what's on hand and what appeals and your own family likes!

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite easy breakfast recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

MASTER RECIPE:
EASY MAKE-AHEAD
BREAKFAST CASSEROLE with
EGGS & HASH BROWN POTATOES

Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Optional fridge time: up to 12 hours
Oven time: 1 hour
Makes a 8x8 pan for 6 generous servings or 9 smaller ones
    POTATO BASE
  • 7-8 ounces frozen hash-brown potatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 ounces grated cheese
    EGG MIXTURE
  • 7 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • Salt & pepper to taste
    OPTIONAL MIDDLE LAYER, see ALANNA's TIPS
    SALSA & CHEESE LAYER
  • 7 ounces mild chunky salsa
  • 1 ounce grated cheese

Spray a 8x8 baking pan. If baking right away, heat oven to 350F.

POTATO BASE In a bowl, mix all ingredients, breaking apart the potato pieces. Spread evenly across the pan.

EGG MIXTURE In the same bowl, whisk the eggs until no signs of yolk or white are visible. Whisk in the remaining ingredients. Pour over the Potato Base, covering the entire base; if needed, use the back of a spoon to press the Potato Base to evenly distribute the Egg Mixture.

SALSA & CHEESE LAYER Gently spread salsa atop the Potato Base-Egg Mixture. Sprinkle with cheese.

TO BAKE RIGHT AWAY Bake for 60 minutes. Let rest for 5 - 10 minutes before slicing.

TO HOLD If needed for late-risers or late-arrivals, cover the fully cooked casserole with foil and hold in a 180F oven for up to 90 minutes.

TO BAKE LATER Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 12 hours. In the morning, set the oven to 350F, there's no need to preheat. Uncover the casserole and bake for 60 minutes. Let rest for 5 - 10 minutes before slicing.

TO REHEAT Individual squares reheat beautifully in the microwave and "hold together" for someone eating breakfast on the run.

ALANNA'S TIPS
OVERALL For a 9x13 pan or even a 7x10 pan, double the ingredients. Be sure to season every layer. Make this once or twice, you'll never need a recipe again! And your house will smell so good when the Casserole is almost done!
BREAKFAST CASSEROLE MUFFINS The base recipe (no extras, no middle layer) fills six regular-size muffin cups, just bake for 30 minutes. I've also baked the casserole in individual ramekins, the baking time will vary with the size of the ramekins, start with 30 minutes, then check for doneness.
POTATO BASE The Ore Ida frozen hash brown potatoes bag contains 30 ounces of potatoes, enough for four casseroles, that's also just a little over an ounce of potatoes per serving, good for carb watchers. It's important to season the potatoes well, mixing the Potato Base in a bowl really helps distribute the seasoning. Cheese helps bind the potatoes and egg into something soft but more sliceable; I like the taste of four ounces but two ounces works too. I've been using grated cheddar, mostly, but some ricotta or goat cheese makes for good bursts of creaminess. I often add other foods to the base, leftover cooked meat, bacon or ham, fresh corn, leftover roasted vegetables, chopped olives, etc. For every four ounces of extras added to the Potato Base, add another egg. I once tried using about 1/3 grated raw sweet potato for added color and nutrition but unfortunately, even grated, the sweet potatoes didn't really cook.
EGG MIXTURE The basic formula is one egg per serving plus another egg. But more eggs won't hurt, it's a good way to use up extra egg yolks or egg whites. Whole milk works better than low-fat milks, making it more "egg casserole". The mustard helps the casserole brown. (Harumph. Maybe the food companies should use mustard instead of food additives.) Go easy on the pepper, here, it tends to get "stuck" atop the potatoes, not nice.
OPTIONAL MIDDLE LAYER I'm especially fond of spinach below the Salsa & Cheese layer. I start with 8 ounces of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed hard, seasoned with 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder plus a little salt and pepper. Once, I added sautéed mushrooms too, another time leftover artichoke dip. So good!
SALSA & CHEESE LAYER A touch of tomato-y acid really helps bring it all together. I've been buying the house-brand of a mild chunky salsa from my local Schnucks grocer, perfect. Just a touch of cheese is needed on the top, a thick layer is unappealing in appearance and taste.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Base Recipe, assumes 9/6 servings, Per Serving: 154/231 Calories; 9/13g Tot Fat; 5/7g Sat Fat; 182/273mg Cholesterol; 339/509mg Sodium; 7/11g Carb; 1/1g Fiber; 3//4g Sugar; 10/15g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 4/5.5 & WW Points Plus 4/6. CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving = 2/3 square, assumes 9 servings (6g protein).

Three Ways to Bake Easy Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole


New master recipe for Easy Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole. Serve it three ways, squares, on-the-go muffins or individual ramekins.

Easy Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole is so flexible! The easiest way to serve is to bake the casserole and cut into squares. But for an on-the-go portable breakfast, individual muffins are extra handy. For something more elegant, or for portion-size control, use individual ramekins.


This Week, Years Past 2002 - 2013

Mini Coffee Cookies Bacon & Egg Breakfast Bake Blueberry Galette Meatball Soup with Broccoli Rabe Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing Savory Orange Slices Real-Food Brisket Refrigerator Pickled Beets

This Week, Elsewhere

Chicken Spiedini from Fratelli’s Ristorante
~ more St. Louis Restaurant Recipes ~
My Column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Reuben Casserole
~ more Recent Recipes ~
A Veggie Venture


More Make-Ahead Breakfast Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Bacon & Egg Breakfast Bake Breakfast Casserole with Sausage, Apples & Caramelized Onions Shakshuka (Eggs Nested in Summer Vegetables)
Homemade Granola with Almonds & Apricots Swiss Bircher Müesli Overnight Coffeecake

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)





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