Simple sugar cookies
I confess, I'm a very good cake baker, but somehow cookies haven't worked out so well (but then again, after 1 or 2 tries I sort of gave up). Now that I have a child, I would love to bake some holiday sugar cookies. Does anyone have an easy, foolproof recipe they'd like to share? Any tips I might somehow have missed. I'm embarrassed by the fact that such a simple thing is intimidating me!
I have a rolled sugar cookie recipe I use for every occasion, and I also have a huge collection of cookie cutters, old and new. This is for a light and crisp, sweet (but not cloying) kind of sugar cookie. Any basic recipe should work. Time tested tips: refrigerate dough (overnight is best); roll dough a little at a time. Roll as thinly as possible. Bake on parchment lined sheets. Bake for a little less time than required. Cookies should not get brown on the edges, only ever so slightly beige, if even. When they come out of the oven, transfer immediately to rack to cool. Cookies will crisp as they cool. This is probably more information than you need, but I would try it with small batches to begin.
One more thing...I don't usually add salt to my cookie recipes. I've never missed it, and the flavor has never suffered. Good luck!
Wow, thanks to all of you for your help and advice. I am looking for a cookie that I can cut into shapes, but I really appreciate your input Lynnlato. I may move on to it once I get my feet wet. I will check out the thread given by chowser too, but I think PBJulie's looks just about perfect, and the advice really helps a lot. I think if I had used parchment paper in the past I wouldn't be so nervous about cookies now. Thanks again to everyone for your help.
This is my "go-to" recipe for decorator sugar cookies. The dough is easy to roll out, not at all crumbly. I definitely recommend using parchment paper--helps to bake evenly and prevent sticking. I also like to freeze the dough for 5-10 minutes after rolling out AND after cutting the shapes and putting them on the cookie sheet. This helps them to retain their shape when baking. The orange zest is optional, but I love the flavor that it adds.
Makes about 24
3 ¼ cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ½ sticks butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
Whisk together the flour and salt and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter and sugar at medium high speed until light and creamy, s minutes. Add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and orange zest and mix until well blended. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture 1/3 at a time, mixing until just combined. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, divide into 4 pieces, shape each into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to an 1/8 inch thickness. Cut the dough into desired shapes and transfer to baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 8-11 minutes, until pale golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.
I should have my cookies up on my site (www.peanutbutterandjulie.com) in the next week or so--working on the Gingerbread house right now! Hope this helps.
I have a very simple rolled cookie recipe suitable for cookie cutters, which I used to collect. I think it's from a House and Garden book from the '70's and made a lovely crunchy, tasty cookie. Easy for children to help with , and then comes the icing and the decorating. They loved that process. One day to mix, one day to roll and cut, one day to frost. It was one of the anticipated Christmas preparations each year.
I can also post the recipe if you like.
Are you looking for cookie cutter friendly recipes? My family has always made these soft sugar cookies that are little pillows of spongey-ness... different from your traditional sugar cookies. They are somewhat cake like and not painfully sweet as some sugar cookies can be. They are so good in the morning w/ a cup of coffee or tea. Yum! They are unbelieveably easy to make and my kids love them.
If you're interested I can post the recipe. But if you're looking for a more traditional recipe to cut out shapes w/ the kids, this is not the recipe for you.
Soft Sugar Cookies
2 Cups sugar
1 cup shortening
1 cup buttermilk
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time and then vanilla. Mix together in a separate bowl the remaining dry ingredients. Add flour mixture, a little at a time, and alternate w/ the milk until all ingredients are incorporated. Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes.
I hope you enjoy them!