It doesn’t have to be complicated, it just has to be good.
Well who the heck just wants “good?” WE WANT AWESOME.
And that is exactly what these are. Better, though. Much better. It’s been a while since I’ve been back here, and although I feel compelled to shout out a bunch of excuses that would expound upon the fact that I’ve been crazy busy, tired, and/or otherwise distracted with more pressing parts of my journey (after which I would just throw a handful of flour into the air and run for the hills) I won’t bring you there. Let’s just start off this reunion with one of my most favorite recipes on the planet. Favorite because I didn’t have to think of it, it is super simple, incredibly versatile, and last but not least… uber yummy. This little guy is going to be the pencil of your school supply list… a must have… you will use it for everything… been around forever…. cannot mess it up… does not contain lead (phew).
This is your basic sugar cookie. It is sturdy enough to decorate, ship, and survive a bunch of toddlers “handling them in a gentle way (we all know there is no such thing).” There is one MAJOR flaw with the recipe… it’s so delicious, a full batch rarely makes it through the entire cookie process in my home. I tend to admit things during posts… I’m more of the “sharing” kind I guess. Last time I made this, the second disk never got baked. It went into my freezer to be baked at a later time. “Oh geez, you say – “you are so prepared.” I am sure if my pup could speak English she would tell you what a crock it is for me to say the phrase “save for a later date.” And the thought of me being “prepared?” Rubbish. She was the one that watched me dive into the freezer every single night for the next week, cut a chunk off of the dough disk, then head straight to the couch to soak me up some bravo tv, cookie dough, all of the kids are in bed (probably…definitely…not asleep yet) time. And to all the smarty pants out there… no need to calculate how big each chunk was if I was able to finish an entire disk in 7 nights. Let’s just say, a serious exercise regime has been put into place.
3 c unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 c sugar
2 sticks (salted) butter, cold & cut into chunks
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp pure almond extract
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Combine the flour and baking powder, set aside.
- Cream the sugar and butter.
- Add the egg and extracts and mix.
- Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl, especially the bottom.
- The dough will be crumbly, so knead it together with your hands as you scoop it out of the bowl for rolling.
- Roll on a floured surface to about 1/4″ to 3/8″ thick, and cut into shapes. Place on parchment lined baking sheets (I recommend freezing the cut out shape on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before baking) and bake for 10-12 minutes.
- Let sit a few minutes on the sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.
Seriously. That is it.
The non-technical tips:
- I add the flour in 3 shifts. Mix until JUST incorporated.
- “Knead it together” simply means squish together with your hands until it is a nice smooth cookie dough. Nothing more, nothing less.
- Don’t worry about the thickness. However, the thinner the cookie, the more difficult it is to transfer it to your baking sheet without distorting the shape. It will also reduce cooking time. Keep an eye on them.
- The freezing for a few minutes prior to baking helps keep the shape of your cutout precise (during their warm vacation on the beaches of your oven rack). Sigh, I need a vacation.
- I always refrigerate my dough for about 2 hours prior to baking, then let it sit out at room temperature until it is just pliable enough to roll. Warm cookie dough means the butter in the dough is softer and the shape doesn’t hold up all that well…although the freezer time before baking will help.
From here, and once cooled, you can do anything with these. Freeze them until you are ready to decorate, decorate immediately, don’t decorate at all. Whatever you choose to do, you are WAY ahead of me. Remember, I already ate them before baking.
In-light of trying to keep this post simple, I am not going to hopscotch beyond square one with decorating… that is the next post. In about 20 minutes.
RECIPE CREDIT: bakeat350.blogspot.com