[Meredith Graves — Perfect Pussy frontwoman, Honor Press founder, Voice festival correspondent, etc. — loves making and eating food just as much as she loves making and listening to music. With Recipe For Disaster, her weekly column, Meredith will listen to a new album and pair it with a recipe that goes nicely with the music. This week, nobody’s dropping records because everyone’s watching Star Wars or The Revenant or fighting with Uncle Bruce at Christmas dinner about Donald Trump, so Meredith blasted some Bing and Mariah and decapitated some sugar cookies for you.]
I have no chill about Christmas, fa la la la la, la la la la!
Mentally, I’m still about six, fa la la la la, la la la la!
I come from the land of the ice and snow from the midnight… something… whatever, I’m from Upstate New York, and not your freaky Hudson-centric idea of Upstate New York, either.
I’m from Canada-New-York, where the people have heavy accents that lead them to pronounce “milk” like “melk.” All women over the age of 40 sort of sound like the mom from Bobby’s World. We get what’s called Lake Effect Snow around here, which is measured in metric fucktons, sometimes in the form of terrible storms that leave people snowed into their houses for long periods of time. It snows on Halloween most years, and then it keeps snowing, sometimes, until May.
Except this year, apparently. This year, there is no snow, anywhere.
I feel cheated. I got home late last night, and everyone’s lawn is yellow. It’s 51 degrees. I don’t need a coat. This is not my homeland. Carbon emissions are a bitch. The world is definitely doomed.
And frankly, Vince Guaraldi doesn’t sound the same when the world is a charmless wasteland rendered in shades of beige. It hurts my heart to say that, because I love dorky holiday music. Bing Crosby, Mariah Carey, Jet Baker’s “Marijuana Christmas” (OK, this time I just googled “weed Christmas” and posted whatever showed up, and this is definitely spectacular and you should listen to it right now).
Generally, sugar cookie dough has to chill in the fridge for several hours before you roll and slice it. But, like pie crust, that makes things that should be easy feel hard and boring. Better sometimes, to be impulsive, a little romantic. I’ve railed before about how the idea of “being chill” about stuff is wild stupid, because life is way too short to be *~*~chill*~*~* when there are great things in the world like snowflakes and English bulldogs and fucking crazy Metallica drum fills and cookies shaped like little people that you can systematically behead and disembowel, which sounds good since I’m all heated about there not being any snow.
Cookies are hard to make well and very, very easy to take way too far. Sugar cookies actually suck — too many people rely on frosting to cover up an otherwise un-respectable cookie. I don’t like that — every component of a simple baked good like this should stand alone. This is honestly why I don’t make cookies very often. They don’t want us to make sugar cookies. And I’m here to change that.
Pay close attention while you’re making these. Really focus and feel the dough — against the mixer, in your hands, under the rolling pin. It takes a little bit of finessing, but if you can maintain that delicate balance with the rolling and cutting flour, you’ll have yourself a wonderful cookie that can be eaten unfrosted like a tea biscuit, or covered in enough sugar and schmaltz to give a hummingbird a panic attack.
Also, I used maple flavoring because I’m home and we make that stuff here, but you can sub anything. Lemon, almond, rosewater — it’s all very good.
Happy holidays except not because there’s no fucking snow and I hate it.
(I Have) No Chill Maple Sugar Cookies
2 sticks (1c) of butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp maple extract or maple syrup
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3c + 1c all purpose flour, divided (and keep the bag out and on hand)
1. With a mixer (or in a stand mixer, which I have never used before, but my mom has one and though I’ve been forbidden to touch it in the past, she wasn’t home this time so all bets are off), cream butter and sugar.
2. Add egg, extracts, baking powder and salt. Whip it until combined.
3. Add 3 cups of flour, one cup at a time until each cup is thoroughly incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between.
4. Flour the crap out of your countertop. Flour the crap out of your hands, your rolling pin, your face, your dog, everything in sight. This dough, because it’s got no chill, is going to be soft. That extra cup of flour I had you separate at the beginning is a “just in case” — I needed the whole thing, added in bit by bit, to stiffen a dough that otherwise wouldn’t have worked with cookie cutters.
5. Roll out the dough in fist sized portions. Cut into funny little shapes. My mom buys shitty cookie cutters so all my little men look like their parents were cousins.
6. Bake for about 8 minutes at 350 on a greased baking sheet. These cookies stay light, so don’t be afraid to pull them “early” — they’ll stiffen as they cool.
7. Use icing (recipe below) to stick little sprinkles and bullshit all over them, or make a powdered sugar glaze and cover the whole darn thing in sprinkles. It’s really up to you. You probably weren’t stupid enough to make a zillion little weird people. I hope you had like, a star or a snowflake or something.
1c powdered sugar
2 tsp milk + extra
2 tsp corn syrup
1. Mix milk and sugar in a small dish until it becomes a paste.
2. Mix corn syrup in thoroughly. (If it’s gritty, add a tiny — TINY — bit more milk. Work with milliliters at a time until the right consistency is reached).
3. Put into baggies with food coloring to serve as piping tubes or paint on finer details with toothpicks. Can be used as glue to secure sprinkles and other decorations. This dries like the good grocery store cookie icing, so work quick!
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