Sweet as June’s Sun
- posted in: Blog
Making sugar cookies: The words alone evoke a salivary response to those of us in the world who are lovers of all things sweet. A favorite pastime for my two children and me would often be the making of shaped and decorated cookies.
For Luther (My Daddy) and Najgy’s (My Momma) wedding anniversary celebration one year, Heather, Adam and I spent many afternoons making these glorious confections come together.
First, the dough needs to be assembled and chilled. (don’t try to roll this dough before it’s thoroughly shivering or you’ll have a sticky, but tasty, mess!) My favorite sugar cookie recipe follows. I use only room temperature unsalted butter. Sometimes when either I forget to set the butter out soon enough, or when my kitchen is too cool, I’ll use my microwave to soften the butter just so a soft pressure on the stick yields.
Then I can place it in my mixer and let it do my work for me by making the butter soft and pliable, after which I can incorporate the sugar. You’ll see from the recipe below that I use brown sugar. I like the extra flavor that that little bit of molasses gives. Beat the sugar and butter until the mixture is nice and fluffy. By not skimping on this step, you’ll get a lightness that some cookies do not have. Add a bit of salt, vanilla, and some eggs, just to fold in. It helps the dough (and mixer) to break up the eggs before adding to the butter/sugar mixture.
Now comes the tricky part. Have your flour and baking powder combined evenly and set about one cup aside. Begin adding the other flour to the butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla combo about a cup at the time. Mix only until the dough is incorporated and you can’t see any bits of flour in the bottom of the bowl. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead several times. Here’s where a judgment call needs to be made. Remember the reserved cup of flour? If your dough seems to be too sticky, add some of that flour until it comes together and is not sticky. Don’t add too much or your cookies will be heavy. Add too little and they will not hold together when baked What’s a baker to do?
After you have done this step to your satisfaction, shape the dough into a flattened disc, wrap, and chill until thoroughly set. (It should feel chilled, but not hard chilled) Take the disc from the refrigerator, place on a floured surface, and roll until about 1/16 inch thickness, or thicker, as you desire. Use any shape cutter you might want. Heather and Adam always liked animal and flower shapes. Work quickly with this dough, especially if you have a warm kitchen or children with warm hands. Slide a flat spatula under each cookie and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet to bake at about 325 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Re-incorporate dough scraps by adding back to the disc and Re-Roll.
When baked, let cool (if you can resist the temptation to eat immediately), and decorate as either the season or your child desires. Royal frosting is great but dries very quickly. Buttercream is delicious, but won’t set hard. There are spray icings that make for great fun-to finish off the cookie or the kitchen or the child. LOL!! Colored sugar crystals, edible pearls-the list goes on. This is where an imaginative mind flourishes.
Crady’s Eclectic Cuisine on Main will be hosting “Kid’s Cooking Classes” again this month and in July. Look for the dates, topics and how to sign up. ☺
1C. unsalted butter
1C. packed light brown sugar
2 & 2/3C. all-purpose flour
1t. baking powder
*I have, on occasion, added color to this mixture. Be sparing, but remember that color cooks lighter than it looks in the dough.
I also generally double the recipe. The dough, if unused, keep well in the freezer