Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cookie #3 - Sugar Cookies

Today would have been my father's 90th birthday.  He was well into his fifties when I was born and passed away almost 14 years ago.  I miss him terribly every day.  Since his favorite cookie that I made for him was sugar, I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate his birthday.

These are my go-to cookie. I make them for everything - birthdays, holidays, Wednesdays....

Normally, I roll them and cut them out. Then they're frosted with royal icing or cut out fondant. I"ve made them in a number of different shapes - flowers, apples, baby feet, Pac-Man, music notes, wedding dresses, the state of Ohio, Devo hats (don't ask), and even a certain part of the male anatomy for a friend's bachelorette party. 
This time, I decided to just slice and bake with some simple colored sugar on top. I wanted to keep them pure and let the full flavor of the cookie come through. Often times, the frosting can overpower that warm, toasty, vanilla cookie flavor. I realize that now that I've made them this simplistic way.
The recipe I use is, again, from The Joy of Cooking. It is by far the best sugar cookie recipe I've encountered. Super easy, super quick and super yummy. The cookie trifecta.

Roll Cookies (Joy of Cooking, 1984 edition)

1/2 cup white or brown sugar (I use white)
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons double acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt.

Beat sugar and butter together until creamy.
Beat in vanilla, eggs, flour, bakinkg powder and salt.
Chill the dough for at lease 3-4 hours before rolling.

For this batch, I formed the dough into a log before chilling and then simply sliced and baked them.  I sliced them almost 1/4" thick.  The result was a soft, cakey cookie. 
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
When rolling to dough out, use as little flour as possible. Try not to handle the dough too much as it can make the cookies tough.
Bake the cookies for 7-12 minutes.

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