The Balsams Sugar Cookies

Yield: about 5 dozen (3-inch) cookies This recipe is from Chef Stephen James, certified master baker and executive pastry chef at The Balsams in Dixville Notch.

2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
3 tablespoons corn syrup
2 large eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
7 cups cake flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
milk and sugar (for dusting)

Cream the first five ingredients until smooth. Add eggs in two stages, scraping bowl often. Add cream and vanilla and mix slightly. Sift the cake flour and baking powder and add. Do not overmix. Just as soon as the mixture comes together, shut mixer off. Dough is ready.

Chill dough overnight. Roll cookie dough down to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut out shapes using cookie cutters. Brush top of cookies lightly with milk and sprinkle tops with sugar. If you choose to decorate with icing, then leave the sugar off at this point. Bake at 385 degrees for about 10 minutes. Do not overbake — cookies should be baked light.

Originally published in the December 2005 issue of New Hampshire Magazine.