Southerners are no strangers to family traditions, but traditions take on a whole new meaning in the Shaw house—especially when it comes to whipping up sweet treats in the kitchen. Growing up, making a day of perfecting Grandmommy’s secret sugar cookie recipe was truly a family affair. Flour-covered counters and sticky fingers staged the scene of my childhood, while lessons of patience came in the form of waiting for time to lick the batter off of the spatula (also incentivizing a little competition between myself and my sister). From the crinkled, time-worn pages of our family copy of Rumford Complete Cook Book came the recipe that generations of Shaw’s call their own—with a little something extra to truly define it as a “secret” family recipe.
Fast forward to my first daddy-daughter trip to the Masters (although admittedly at the ripe age of 10 years old, I may have been more interested in the tennis-skirt-and-visor combo I got to sport that day)—the Augusta air was crisp, the azaleas were blooming, and I was in the presence of The Tiger Woods. Although the Masters always played a part as the background noise to my Sunday afternoon naps at home (induced by the meat-and-three carry out plate from the Piggly Wiggly, I might add), this was when I started to truly develop an appreciation for the event, even and especially since it meant spending the entire day with my dad. Years passed by, and Masters Weekend continued to be a celebrated family affair, whether in Augusta or from the comfort of our Birmingham home, as our dad—at least attempted—to teach us the ins and outs of the game. Still far from an expert on the game of golf, I’ll always cherish one sweet tradition we created around the excitement of the Masters tournament.
Two timeless family traditions meet in what is now known as our beloved homemade Masters Sugar Cookie recipe. Inspired by the Masters logo, all you need are a few tools, a little bit of sugar (okay, a lot…) and a lot of love to create a few batches of the sweetest treat (little) known to the professional golf community. *Best when served with pimiento cheese sandwiches and an Arnold Palmer.
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What You’ll Need:
Sugar Cookies (Recipe from Rumford Complete Cook Book):
-½ cup of butter
-1 cup sugar
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-2 ½ cups sifted flour
-½ teaspoon salt
-2 ½ teaspoons Rumford Baking Powder
The secret: Add a dash of extra vanilla to both the cookie and frosting recipes for a little added flavor.
Cream butter, add sugar gradually; add well-beaten eggs and vanilla alternately with sifted dry ingredients. Chill thoroughly, roll out on well-floured board and cut with cookie cutter (Editor’s note: alternatively cut on parchment paper secured to countertops with masking tape); sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake on greased cookie sheets in moderately hot oven (375 degrees F) 10 minutes. (Editor’s note: “flash” baking at 425 degrees for 6 minutes will help cookies better maintain their shape.)
Buttercream Frosting (Recipe from Dominos Confectioners Sugar)
1 (1 lb.) package Domino Confectioners Sugar
-½ cup butter, softened
-3-4 tablespoons milk
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl, with mixer at low speed, combine Domino Confectioners Sugar, butter, milk and vanilla. Beat at medium speed 1-2 minutes until creamy. If desired, add more milk until frosting is spreading consistency. Editor’s note: Make two batches of frosting with yellow food coloring and green food coloring.
-Yellow Food Coloring
-Green Food Coloring
-Red Flag Toothpicks
-USA Map Cookie Cutter
-Icing Tool (or this homemade technique will do just fine!)
For best results, whip up the sugar cookie batter the night before. Allowing the batter to chill and settle will create a thicker batter that is less likely to spread while baking. After rolling out the dough and cutting your cookies with a USA map cookie cutter, the key to this recipe is keeping a close eye on the cookies while they bake to ensure they don’t spread and lose their shape. Allow them to cool completely before icing. Using a small spatula knife, spread the yellow icing as the background, line with green icing as the border, place a dot of green icing in Augusta (anywhere in the Southeast will do, really), and carefully place a red flag toothpick in the center of the dot (flag facing left, if you want to be really particular). Most importantly, don't sweat the imperfections—novice bakers are welcome to this recipe. Share with friends, family, co-workers—but be warned: green tongues are a given.