June 21, 2014

Sugar Cookies

sugar cookies

sugar cookies

Sugar cookies are beautiful with their delicate flavor, sweet crispness and their ability to take on any shape you can imagine.  I marvel at the holy trinity of flour, butter and sugar and all the wonderful things that can be created with such a simple base.  The sugar cookie is the ultimate example of simplicity.  A few ingredients mixed together to create a cookie that can be delicate and elegant or playful and commonplace.  Whether you dress your sugar cookie up with icing or glaze in fancy designs or simply sprinkle them with sugar, the sugar cookie warms the heart.

I use a lovely glaze that stays flexible while firming up and does not impart the same dry quality of royal icing.  This icing stands up to the dam and flood method of icing the sugar cookies (see below).

Sugar Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen depending on cookie size

1 cup butter, softened
1 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light in color.
Add egg, milk and vanilla and beat to combine.
With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and beat until mixture pulls away from bowl.
Divide dough in half, pat into disk and wrap in plastic wrap.
Refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight
Preheat oven to 375 °F
Roll out dough on surface lightly dusted with powdered sugar and roll to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
I roll my dough out on parchment paper.  I sprinkle the powdered sugar on the paper and add more to the top of the dough then I cover the top of the disk with a wide piece of plastic wrap and roll to the desired thickness.  I avoid adding extra ingredients to the dough this way whether it is flour or powdered sugar.
Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter.
Remove excess dough and re roll chilling the dough as needed.
Note:  I re-roll all of my dough regardless of how “tough” the last roll is.  I change the shape of the cookie cutter so I know which cookies are best for dipping into tea.
Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 6 to 9 minutes until the edges are just beginning to brown. 
I always err on the side of under done for a tender cookie.
Let the cookies cool on the pan for 1 to 2 minutes then move to cooling racks.

Sugar Cookie Glaze

5 cups confectioners' sugar
½ cup milk
½ cup light corn syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla and almond extract or flavor as desired

In a mixing bowl, mix the sugar and milk first.
Add corn syrup just until combined.
Divide to flavor.
Add paste color if desired.
Important to always add the same amount of corn syrup as you added milk.
Move a portion of glaze to another bowl and add more powdered sugar until thick enough to pipe a dam of icing around the edge of the sugar cookie.
Fill piping bag set up with a coupler and #4 or 5 round tip.
Let the piped dam set then flood the cookie with the thinner glaze.
Note: I use a spoon unless the work is finer and a piping bag is required.
Decorate as desired with sanding sugar, sprinkles etc. 

Icing may be layered on top as long as the icing sets before a new layer is added.

Adapted from Toba Garrett

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