Monday, February 14, 2011

Soft Sugar Cookies

My mom always made the best sugar cookies. I was never a sugar cookie fan growing up because the only ones available, besides when my mom made them, were thin crunchy things covered in tasteless frosting. My mom's were soft cookies with a crunch on the outside but that cookie-like crumble on the inside. I'm made a few changes to her recipe over the years to make them my own but they still produce soft, sweet cookies.

Soft Sugar Cookies
makes about 3 dozen (depending on size and shape)

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract*
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest*
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt

*I like my cookies to have a slight lemony taste. This is not an overwhelming lemon taste by any means. However, if you don't want any lemon, just take out the zest and add 1/2 tsp vanilla instead.

Cream together the butter and shortening. I use a non-hydrogenated shortening called Earth Balance. I cream it with butter to give it a buttery taste because by itself it's not so tasty. But this cuts out the trans fats without sacrificing the texture of shortening. It's a win-win!

Am I the only one who thinks that looks GORGEOUS? I've been baking too long. :)

Add the sugar and cream until well blended.

Blend in the eggs completely. Then add vanilla extract and lemon zest.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly incorporate dry ingredients into wet, switching to a wooden spoon halfway through. I say to switch to a wooden spoon because it is just so much easier to make sure that everything is incorporated with a wooden spoon.

Depending on the humidity, the amount of liquid in your eggs, basically like a million different things, you may need to add more flour. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky but not too sticky or wet. I had to add another 1/4 cup flour to get it to the consistency it is in the picture.

Let chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes. This is becoming my favorite bowl quickly because of that awesome lid.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Flour a flat surface, a rolling pin and your desired cookie cutters. Before putting the dough down, form into a loose ball and lightly coat with flour.

Roll out the dough  into an even circle, alternating directions with the rolling pin. If the dough starts to stick to the rolling pin, lightly flour it again.

For soft cookies, roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness.

Dip your cookie cutters into flour before pressing into the dough. Try and get as many shapes into the circle as possible. While the excess cookie dough can be rolled out again, the more times it's rolled, the less soft it becomes. Peel up cookie dough between shapes.

If one of the shapes is stuck to the counter, take a cookie spatula and dip the tip into flour before wedging it under the shape. Place shapes evenly spaced on a prepared cookie sheet. They do not need a ton of room to expand, just about 1/2 inch. I found the best way is on a baking mat. This cooks them perfectly even.

Bake 10-12 minutes, depending on the shape and size. Mine were perfect after 11 minutes. Do not over-bake or the cookies will become crispy. If you're using shapes of different sizes, try to get the same sized ones on the same sheet.

After cooling on cookie sheet for 2 minutes, transfer to wire rack and cool completely before frosting.

I did not have time to frost mine yet. I will be frosting them tonight with this adorable idea. Need a royal icing recipe? Here's Annie's. I don't have meringue powder (I'm finding it impossible to find organic!), so I'll be taking the long route with this recipe. Until you're ready to decorate, place cookies in airtight containers.

(The pitcher made an EXCELLENT container, by the way. Kudos to my creative self.) However, these cookies are pretty sweet by themselves. Not to mention the dough is fantastic. Not that I ate any or anything.... ;)

Nutritional Information (for 1 cookie, out of three dozen, without frosting): 140 calories, 5.7g fat (2.6g sat), 20g carbs, 0.4g fiber, 2g protein



Caitlin {Pacifier In My Pocket} said...

I think the frosted cookies look great! They are making me want to go home and bake, yum!


Ashley Marie said...

Looks yummy!! I like how you stacked them up in the water pitcher, very creative :)

Visiting from SITS.

Lisa said...

Your cookies are so pretty that they just catch my attention right away. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog called Sweets for a Saturday and I'd like to invite you to stop by and link your cookies up. http:/

Candice @ Made With Love said...

YUM! I absolutely love sugar cookies- thank you so much for sharing the recipe! :)

Meaghan Luby said...

phenomenal! love these. glad to have found your blog!

Designed by Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates