Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sugar Cookies

I have been searching for years to find a sugar cookie that I love.  The problem is that everyone has their own preferences when it comes to cookies: crispy, soft, chewy, gooey, etc., which makes it hard to find the "perfect" recipe.  Your perfect is probably not the same as my perfect.

When it comes to most cookies, I like them soft, but not so soft that they are underdone in the middle.  I have been using a recipe for years that had amazing flavor and stayed soft through the baking process; however, the high volume of eggs made the cookies very puffy and they didn't keep their shape very well.  I was ok with puffy cookies because they were just for me and my family, but once in a while I wanted a cookie that would hold the cutter shape better. This cookie does that!

Thanks to the lovely world of Pinterest, I have finally found a cookie that meets my requirements.  This recipe comes from the blog Make Bake Celebrate and it is soft and still looks like the cookie cutter.  I loved them plain, but they also frost beautifully.  This recipe is quick to make.  It doesn't require long chilling times, it rolls beautifully and the final product is one that everyone in my family loves.

I did have to make a few minor changes.  First I added salt.  The original recipe doesn't call for any salt, but I am a firm believer that every recipe should have some.  I also added a little lemon zest for some additional flavor, but this is optional and depends on the flavors you enjoy most in your cookies.  ENJOY!

Rolled Sugar Cookies
Recipe Source: Modified slightly from Make Bake Celebrate

**Please note that baking times will vary depending on the thickness and size of your cookies.  I would highly recommend keeping a close eye on your first batch in order to determine the baking time that you need.**

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons lemon zest

About 30 minutes before making the cookies set your butter and egg on the counter to come to room temperature.  You don't want super soft butter, for a good information on softened butter check this link out.

In a bowl combine the lour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

Using your mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until well combined.  Add the egg and mix well.  Mix in the vanilla and lemon zest.

Slowly add the flour one cup at a time.  When the dough is well mixed, turn it out and knead until your it is nice and smooth.  Wrap and refrigerate.  At this point you don't need to chill for hours.  You are only seeking for the dough to be firm.  I left mine in the refrigerator about 20 minutes is all.

Pre-heat your oven to 350 F

When your dough is chilled, place it between two sheets of parchment paper to roll out.  (The parchment paper under the dough can be transferred straight to your cookie sheet to prevent sticking if you like.  I bake on stoneware and don't need the parchment.)  Roll out your dough to the thickness you desire.  I rolled to about 3/8 inch thickness, but you can go thicker or thinner if you want.

 Cut out using the shape you want, transfer to a baking sheet, and bake until the cookies are set, and the tops look done.  You can check for the moist, shiny appearance to be gone too.  Mine baked for 9 minutes and were perfect for me.

Frost if desired, or enjoy immediately!

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