I’m not sure if “Granbaum” is the actual name of these cookies (and after several Google searches, I think not), but they taste so good, I don’t think it really matters.
Granbaum sugar cookies are a soft, almost chewy, subtly sweet cookie that really shines with a big dollop of buttercream. They’re a holiday staple in my family, have been for years, which might be the source of the garbled name. A bunch of sugar-crazy toddlers screaming for more of Grandma’s cookies, maybe? Who knows.
These cookies are as easy to make as they are to enjoy. That is, until you throw in royal icing, which I did this year.
Oh, boy is royal icing a pain, especially for a perfectionist like me. I can’t leave a single cookie well enough. Takes me hours. If you’re like me, then I recommend you either use the tried-and-true buttercream or make the cookies a day before you plan to decorate them (for your sanity).
The yield for these cookies is about 2 dozen, give or take depending on the size of your cookie cutter. My family has always needed to double (and triple, if we plan on sharing) every recipe we bake. The great thing about these cookies is that we never had to do the math!
Without further ado, here they are. A Faust family holiday staple. Made-up-name cookies.
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Cream together butter and sugar. Once fluffy and light, blend the eggs and vanilla into the creamed mixture.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Before I made the smart investment in a sifter (which I highly recommend to all bakers), I used a fork for this step. It worked decently enough. Stir the dry mixture into the creamed mixture.
At this stage, the dough could either be the perfect consistency or way to sticky to handle. This could be the result of so many factors, like humidity or the butter being too warm. Simply add flour until the dough is about the same consistency as fresh Play-Doh, but just slightly stickier.
Dust counter with flour and roll the dough to about a 1/4 of an inch thick. Cut shapes and bake at 325 degrees for 8-10 minutes. The cookies will puff slightly, but shouldn’t overly expand.
3 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium-sized bowl, combine powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. I recommend going easy on the liquids at first. The icing needs to be slightly runny, but otherwise thick.
Most recipes call for a thin flood icing and a thick outline icing. I am already driven nuts by the concept of decorating two dozen cookies like this, so I cheat the system and only use the outline icing for both jobs. To make the filler icing, add a touch more milk to make the icing slightly runny.
When adding food coloring, keep in mind that it is a liquid and will change the consistency of the icing. You may need to add more powdered sugar after you’ve colored your icings.
Transfer icings to either squeeze bottles or icing bags and begin decorating.