Thursday, February 9, 2012

No Fail Sugar Cookies

Valentine's Day is rapidly approaching. And I have just the valentine for you: the best sugar cookies you've ever tasted.
 I used to hate sugar cookies. Not hate. Loathe. I couldn't understand why anyone would waste perfectly good butter and sugar on something so bad tasting. How could such delicious dough bake into such a mediocre cookie? Of course it was still fun to frost them, but even that wasn't as rewarding as it could have been since the end product had no appeal. My friends at school all had Valentine cookies for lunch, but not I. I just watched as they gobbled their festive treats and looked on in disappointment.
And then my momma found this recipe and my Valentine's treats (and Christmas, actually) rapidly improved. Finally, a soft, dare I say supple, sugar cookie that didn't spread as it baked. The final batch no longer tasted  floury and stiff, and the flavor made me swoon. I could finally eat and give Valentine's cookies with confidence.
You may be wondering why I'm talking about Valentine's day treats but displaying circular cookies (and of course the lovely cow) decked in bright royal blue. The truth of the matter is this: to add to my already troubled Valentine's treats, I think pink/red food coloring tastes funny. Terrible, actually. So when I do decorate cookies with colored frosting, I certainly do not use anything in the red family. It's white, yellows, blues, and greens for me, thank you! (A cautionary side note: make sure you have enough powdered sugar on hand before you mix in a little extra milk thinking it's too thick. Because runny frosting is awfully hard to decorate with).
And finally. If you haven't already converted to parchment paper, you really really really must. At least for this recipe. It eliminates the need to add extra flour to the dough each time you roll it out. Without the paper, you might come close to the nightmare of my childhood. And we wouldn't want that, now, would we?

No Fail Sugar Cookies
Recipe from dozens of websites and my mom
Pictures by Kelly

6 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir into butter mixture and mix until flour mixture is completely incorporated and the dough is well combined. Form into a 2 round disks and chill 1-2 hours (or overnight).****
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place chilled dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll out to your desired thickness (about 1/4 inch thick). Cut into desired shapes and continue rolling dough between paper until you have used it all.
  4. Place cookies on ungreased cookie sheets  for 8-10 minutes or until just beginning to turn brown around the edges (Be careful--different shapes will cook faster or slower. If you're in doubt, peek at the bottom of a cookie to see if it has started to brown. If it has, pull. them out).
  5. Let cool on wire racks and frost with vanilla buttercream frosting (see below).
****I'm using a silly number of asterisks here because this is a very good idea if you happen to have space in your refrigerator. Rather than wait for your dough to chill and then have to beat it into submission with the rolling pin, take the unchilled dough and place it between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll it out to the desired thickness (about 1/4 inch) and place the dough and paper on a cookie sheet. If you plan on chilling overnight, cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap. 

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Recipe from Betty Crocker's Cookbook

3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
  1. Mix powdered sugar and butter in medium bowl with an electric mixer on low speed. Stir in vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the milk.
  2. Gradually beat in just enough remaining milk to make frosting smooth and spreadable. If frosting is too thick, beat in more milk, a few drops at a time. If frosting becomes too thin, beat in a small amount of powdered sugar. Add food coloring as desired.

1 comment:

Jessie said...

I assume that any sugar cookie with equal - and generous - parts butter and sugar must be good. Frosting not withstanding.

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