Archive for the ‘sugar cookie’ Category

Vanilla Dreams and some surprise ingredients

December 31, 2008
Vanilla Dreams

Vanilla Dreams

These will be the last sugar cookies of 2008 at my house. It is good to end the sugar cookie spree on a high note. It’s time for something chocolate or something savory, but before I move on I’ll write about these Vanilla Dreams. They are light and crisp and have a nice vanilla flavor thanks to the vanilla bean paste. The unique texture comes from baker’s ammonia also known as hartshorn.  The vanilla bean paste and the baker’s ammonia are ingredients that are both worth searching for as they lend unique texture and flavor to the cookies.

It has been very cold here and the furnace runs constantly so the humidity level is much like the desert southwest despite the huge snowfall we got yesterday. I’m thinking the dry air contributed to the fact that the dough would not come together despite prolonged mixing. I was about to add more butter to the mixture but I was concerned that more fat would make the cookies spread. I was reluctant to add water and then it occurred to me. Vodka! If you can use it in pie crust, why not try it in cookies? Having no experience with the baker’s ammonia I wondered if the vodka would interact with it in a strange way, but I lucked out and a teaspoon of vodka brought the dough together without adding any taste or spread to my cookies.

Secret ingredients

Secret ingredients

I had toasted nuts in advance thinking I would pretty these cookies up with a bit of melted chocolate and a dip in the toasted nuts, but my husband and son like them so much as they are that they vetoed the idea.

The bakers at King Arthur Flour blogged about this recipe earlier in December. You can read about it at King Arthur Flour Baker’s Banter There are links to the recipe as well as links to where they sell their vanilla bean crush and baker’s ammonia. You are on your own with the vodka. :-)

Lemon Roll Out Sugar Cookies

December 30, 2008
Lemon Roll Out Sugar Cookies

Lemon Roll Out Sugar Cookies

After referring to the cookies in my previous post as my favorite sugar cookies I hesitated before writing about these. Don’t get me wrong, they are good cookies, but the taste and texture remind me more of spritz cookies than sugar cookies. They disappeared quickly and were enjoyed by all, so I guess they deserve to be talked about at least a little.

Lemon Roll Out Sugar Cookies

2 1/4 c. flour

1/4 t. salt

3/4 sugar

3/4 c.  butter

1 egg

1 T. finely grated lemon zest

1 t. vanilla

Whisk together the flour and salt. Set aside. Cream together the butter and the sugar until very light and fluffy. Blend in the egg, lemon zest, butter and vanilla.  Add the flour and salt mixture and mix well. Divide the dough into four pieces and roll out between pieces of waxed paper. Stack all four pieces on a cookie sheet and chill until firm. When firm remove from the refrigerator and cut out with decorative cookie cutters. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

Cool completely and decorate as desired.

Our Favorite Sugar Cookies

December 30, 2008
Roll Out Sugar Cookies

Roll Out Sugar Cookies

Sugar cookies fascinate me. There are so many variations of this simple cookie and the slightest variation can yield big differences in texture and taste. This recipe has been my favorite for many years. I often try others to see if I like them better but I always come back to these. The texture is difficult to describe and how thickly or thinly they’re rolled has a lot to do with the texture. My description would be soft but crisp.

A helpful tip I learned this year. Roll out the dough between layers of waxed paper, and then chill the dough flat on a cookie sheet in the refrigerator. It makes the rolling and clean up so much easier. Forever more I will roll out the cookie dough using this method. It was so much easier and much less messy.

My son, the college freshman helped decorate these. He looks forward to this tradition, and I love to have his help in the kitchen.

We love the almond flavoring, but understand that not everyone likes it the way we do. You could just go with the vanilla, or you could zest some lemon in place of the almond.

Roll Out Sugar Cookies

1 c. butter

1 1/2 c. powdered sugar

1 egg

1 t. vanilla

1/2 t. almond extract (optional)

2 1/2 c. flour

1 t. cream of tartar

1 t. soda

Whisk together the flour, cream of tartar and soda. Set aside. Cream together the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. Add the egg and blend completely. Mix in the vanilla, and almond.  To roll the traditional way, chill the dough for four hours. Divide the dough into four pieces and roll out one piece at a time. To flour your board use a mixture of 1/2 c. flour and 1/2 c. powdered sugar, using only the amount you need to keep the dough from sticking to your board or rolling pin. Cut out with decorative cookie cutters.

For the tidy, easy method of rolling follow these directions. Immediately after mixing the dough together divide it  into four pieces. Place one piece of dough between two layers of waxed paper and roll. Repeat with other three pieces. Leave the dough between the pieces of waxed paper and stack them on a cookie sheet. Refrigerate until firm. When the dough is firm remove the waxed paper and cut out the dough with decorative cookie cutters.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Cool completely before icing.


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