St. Patrick’s Day is near and dear my heart. Not only for me, but to my mom’s entire side of the family. No…we are not Irish…we just miss someone who was born on March 17th. While St. Patty’s Day is a great holiday when you are thinking about it in terms of Irish Beer, Whiskey, Bailey’s, potatoes, corned beef (gross), and soda bread, I am just quietly celebrating the birthday of one gone too long but most definitely not forgotten.
These cookies and this blog exist because of Lois. Or, as I called her…Grammy. She was the best person and the best cook any of us knew, and I think about her every time I make her sugar cookies. I wish I could tell her I was making Shamrock Sugar cookies this year for her birthday, but instead of regular frosting I made ridiculous Bailey’s Irish Cream Frosting. I wish I could tell her I was making her cookies once a month for the entire year, for so many reasons other than the fact that they are the best damn cookies to ever come out of the oven.
There are so many more things I wish I could tell her, and they often come up when I am standing in the kitchen, staring at my Cobalt Blue stand mixer that is beating butter and sugar and sour cream to make these wonderful cookies. I wish I could tell her that Cobalt Blue reminds me of that soup pot she gave my mom, and I chose the same color for many of my kitchen dishes not only because it’s classic, but because of her. I wish I could tell her that I didn’t end up completely worthless in the kitchen, but that I still have a fear of cooking for people I don’t know very well, running the risk of making something terrible that they will hate. I wish I could ask for her advice, ask her about her cooking triumphs and disasters. When we lost her I was weeks away from turning 13 and I never knew I would have these sorts of things to tell her.
But today, all I really want to say is Happy 84th Birthday Grammy. Thank you for giving us the best sugar cookie recipe ever.
Shamrock Sugar Cookies with Bailey’s Buttercream
by Baked Northwest
Makes about 3 dozen Shamrock Cookies
For the Cookies:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup sour cream
4 cups flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp nutmeg
For the Frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
about 3 cups powdered sugar
splash of Bailey’s Irish Cream (at least 3 tbsp)
pinch of salt
green food coloring
green sprinkles, for topping the cookies
For the Cookies:
In a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla, mix thoroughly. Add sour cream, mix thoroughly.
Sift together flour, salt, soda, baking powder and nutmeg. Add to butter mixture in
two parts and mix thoroughly.
Divide the dough into two parts and wrap each in wax paper. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. For the amount of frosting we are making, you will only use about half of the dough. You can freeze the 2nd batch of dough for another use, or just double the frosting recipe!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
On a clean, floured surface, roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Roll the dough so it’s about 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick, and use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out shapes of the dough. For these cookies, I used a Shamrock Cookie Cutter. Use a cookie spatula (better known as a pancake flipper) to move your cookies from the floured surface to a well greased baking sheet. Ungreased silicone baking sheet liners work great here too.
Bake the cookies at 400 degrees F for 7 – 8 minutes. You never want them to get too browned around the edges, or they’ll be super crunchy. We like ours on the softer side. Baking time depends on what shapes you cut your cookies into – we have adjusted baking times from 8-12 minutes depending on the size of our cookies. Let cool completely before frosting.
For the Frosting:
In a mixing bowl, combine butter and powdered sugar and mix until it starts to get creamy. Add Bailey’s, a pinch of salt, and a few drops of green food coloring and mix again until smooth.
Frost the cookies with the green Bailey’s Frosting and add green sprinkles on top.
Notes: In our family, we have made this recipe so often that we pretty much have it memorized. This is why when we make these cookies we always have to “eyeball” everything. Depending on the shape, cooking times change. We have always known that butter, powdered sugar, milk, vanilla and salt make the best frosting, and we have never really measured how much goes into the perfect frosting. We just taste it. When I post about these cookies it’s always as close to a recipe as we’ll ever get, especially with the frosting!