Soft Sugar Cookies
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 1/2 cups flour
Beat butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar and cream together. Mix in egg and extracts. Stir baking powder into flour. Alternately add milk and flours to bowl and mix until a stiff dough is obtained. (May need to add a bit more flour.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough on a floured surface to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out shapes as desired and place cookies on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes. Cookies will thick and soft. Remove from oven and from baking sheet. Allow to cool on a rack for at least 10 minutes before icing. Makes about 30 three inch cookies.
Blood Orange Icing
1 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoons cream (or half and half), divided
juice from 1 small blood orange (about 4 tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger, optional
1 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
6 drops red food coloring, optional
2 drops blue food coloring, optional
Place butter, 2 tablespoons cream, orange juice and ginger (if using) into a medium sauce pan. Whisk over medium high heat until boiling. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 7 minutes, whisking frequently. Remove from heat and allow to cool another 7 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and salt then blend until smooth. Add the remaining cream a bit at a time until desired consistency is achieved. Color as desired. Ice cookies with a knife or by dipping tops of cookies into icing. Decorate as desired. Store in an airtight container.
Hints: These cookies can be made without the almond flavor, use 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract only. Food coloring can be added to the dough for colored cookies. And of course they can be frosted with a butter cream frosting or royal icing if you prefer. The blood orange is a bit of a different citrus taste and may not be for everyone. You can use a small navel orange instead but the icing will not be pink naturally.
This cookie recipe been with me since I was about 17. Jaunee Baird worked with the young women of my local church group and we made a whole lot of these cookies for a fund raising project in 1977. I modified the recipe a bit by combining the cream of tarter and baking soda into baking powder and using almond flavoring (cause I am an almond junkie). Jaunee, I thank you, my family thanks you and so do hundreds of school children who had me as a room mother for Halloween and Valentines parties! The blood orange icing is much more contemporary; I just created it this week. Citrus and almond together make me so very happy.