Stars and Stripes Sugar Cookies

I’ve struggled for weeks trying to figure out what to write about this recipe.  Why has it been so hard for me? I’m not sure, perhaps because these cookies were made for July 4th, a holiday to celebrate America.  Every 4th of July, I am reminded of the wonderful opportunities that America has given me and my family, but there are still things that are happening in America that make my heart cry.

America has always been a diverse country, but these days, it is the diversity that seems to be our greatest enemy.  I’m not exactly the most eloquent writer, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that I hope these cookies will help you set aside your differences, if only for one day, and enjoy America, the home of the brave and the land of the free.

IMPORTANT: The more you knead the butter together with the dry ingredients, the softer and less tough your cookies will be, because the butter will surround the individual flour particles and prevent too much gluten from forming.  The key to getting nicely shaped cookies is to cut them on the prepared cookie sheet or parchment paper to make transporting the cookies into the oven easier

STARS & STRIPES SUGAR COOKIES | Makes 2.5 dozen large cookies

For cookies

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 11 tbsp cold butter – in 1/4″ cubes
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

For icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp milk
  • Blue and red food coloring

For the cookies

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar and salt. Mix well.
  2. Add butter cubes into dry mixture and use hands to incorporate butter and flour until mixture resembles fine sand.  The more you knead, the better!
  3. In a small bowl, beat egg and almond extract together. Then pour into dry mixture.
  4. Using wooden spoon or spatula, mix egg in until a dough forms.  Then work dough with hands to form a ball.  Chill dough until firm (~2 hours or up to 3 days).
  5. Flour surface generously before placing dough on parchment paper or cookie sheet. Roll dough to 1/8″ thick.
  6. Using star cookie cutters (I used a 2″ cookie cutter and a 5″ cookie cutter) cut out shapes leaving ~ 1″ in between each cookie.  Remove scraps and chill cookies in fridge for 10 minutes. This will ensure that cookie do not spread in oven.
  7. Preheat oven to 300 (F).  Since cookies are already on parchment paper or cookie sheet, simply place in oven and bake 12-14 minutes for smaller cookies and 16-18 for larger ones. Tops should be an even golden brown color.

For the icing

  1. Mix powdered sugar and milk together in a small bowl. Icing should be thick and not runny. Add more powdered sugar if the mixture seems too runny and more milk if the mixture seems too thick. The icing should be able to stay in one place and not spread everywhere when placed on a surface.
  2. Divide white frosting among 3 bowls. Keep one bowl for white frosting and color the other two bowls red and white, following the instructions on the food dye (mine are all natural colors from Whole Foods)
  3. Using an off-set spatula, frost cookies first with white frosting and let icing dry.
  4. Then drizzle with red and blue icing. Icing can be thinned with milk if consistency becomes too thick to drizzle.
  5. Cookies will stay fresh in air-tight container for up to a week (if they last that long).