02 February 2010

In Pursuit of the Perfect Sugar Cookie.

Okay, I know I've said I've found the Perfect Sugar Cookie once before, but in all honesty while those cookies (1) tasted amazing and (2) kept their shape like a dream, they were still hard. And crunchy. In truth, I like soft and chewy but yummy and still look like the original cookie cutter shape. And now the need to find such a perfect sugar cookie is upon me - I have plans for these babies in the near future, so it's important!

I planned on trying this recipe just to get started in my pursuit, but it turned out that my search ends here. It's all I list above, seriously. Yummy in our tummies; in fact, I halved the test recipe and that's a good thing. Because between the three of us, we ate them all before I could even get a finished cookie picture.

Thank goodness for the Baked Cookbook! And thanks to Kris for gifting it to me :)

Sugar Cookies
(from Baked)

For the Cookies:
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp. cold vegetable shortening
2/3 c. sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the Icing:
2 c. confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 large egg whites
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Make the Classic Sugar Cookies:
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter, shortening, and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until just combined. Add the flour mixture and mix until incorporated. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Dust a work surface with a sprinkling of flour. Unwrap the chilled dough, and put it directly on the work surface. Roll the dough to 1/4" thick. Use your favorite cookie cutter to cut shapes in the dough, and transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets.

Bake the cookies for 12 minutes, until they are set but not browned. Remove from the oven and place the baking sheet on a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely.

Make the Basic Royal Icing:
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, egg whites, and lemon juice until the mixture is completely smooth. The mixture should have the texture of a glaze. If the mixture is too thin, add a bit more sugar. If the mixture is too thick, add a few drops of lemon juice. You can add a few drops of food coloring if desired, or you can divide the icing among many mixing bowls if you need more than one color.

The best way to ice sugar cookies is with a pastry bag fitted with a small or medium tip. First, outline the cookie or design, then fill it in. Let the icing harden before serving.
The cookies can be kept in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

1 comment:

cjeanette said...

I am making heart shaped cookies with the word imprints from WS for Eleanor's Valentine Party, I think I will try this recipe for it!