Photography By Baila Rochel Leiner
Sugar cookies. It sounds so basic, but since baking is a science, there is much that can be understood about it. Follow the tips included to ensure success and become the neighborhood cookie queen! Here are two recipes you’re sure to enjoy. One is for a scoop or drop sugar cookie and the other is for a rollout dough. For rolled-out cookies, you’ll need a sturdier dough that can hold up to all the abuse it will take. Once you’ve found your favorite cookie recipe, some simple adjustments can give you multiple variations.
Drop Sugar Cookies
- 3 cups flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1½ cups cold butter (3 sticks)
- 1½ cups sugar, plus extra for coating
- 2 eggs
- 1 Tbsp pure vanilla
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). In a medium bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Set aside. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream sugar and butter for 5 minutes. Scrape down bowl once during mixing. Turn mixer to low and add eggs and vanilla. Slowly add dry ingredients, then beat for 30 seconds. Scoop dough using a mini cookie scoop and roll into 1-inch (3-cm) balls. Roll each ball in sugar and place on a baking sheet, leaving 11⁄2 inches (4 cm) between cookies. Bake in the center of the oven for 9-11 minutes, just until edges start to brown.
VARIATIONS: For a more caramelized flavor, replace regular sugar with 1 1⁄4 cups packed dark brown sugar. For chocolate cookies, replace 3 cups flour with 2 and two thirds of a cup flour and 1⁄2 cup Dutch cocoa.
Roll-out Cookie Dough
5 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
11⁄2 cups cold butter (3 sticks)
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
In a medium bowl, mix all dry ingredients. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar for a full 5 minutes. Scrape down bowl once during mixing. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Cover dough and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. When ready to roll out, preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Roll out dough on parchment paper to 1⁄4 –1⁄2 -inch (1-2-cm) thickness. Cut out desired shapes, leaving 11⁄2 inches (4 cm) between cookies, and remove excess dough. Re-roll extra dough and use in
another round of cookies. Gently transfer the parchment paper to a baking sheet. Bake in the center of the oven for 6-8 minutes.
VARIATIONS: Once cookies have cooled, they can be frosted.
You can dip half of the cookie into melted chocolate and top it with chopped nuts or candies. You can make sandwich cookies by filling the cookies with jam, hazelnut spread, or a filling of your choice.
Don’t overmix your dough, it will produce a tough dough.
Make sure your butter is cold, since warm butter will cause your cookies to spread too much.
Creaming the butter and sugar is crucial — it beats air into your dough, and that’s what puffs up your cookie.
Always add salt to your dough, it enhances the sweetness of the cookie.
Always measure the ingredients accurately.
Don’t overbake the cookies, they should look slightly underdone.
A lower oven temperature with a longer baking time yields a crispy cookie. A higher oven temperature with a shorter baking time yields a chewy cookie.
If you’d like to replace the butter with oil, use 1⁄4 of the amount in the recipe. It will result in a crispier cookie.
(Originally featured in FamilyTable, Issue 648)