Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Softer Cut Out Sugar Cookie

Difficult: Not really
Time consuming: less so than other cut out cookies because the dough does not need to chill.

I have a go to sugar cookie recipe.  It's awesome.  The cookies cut out and bake up beautifully.  But they are a hard cookie.  And husband does not like hard cookies.  He likes soft cookies, so this holiday season I scoured the internet for a softer cut out sugar cookie.

I found a great recipe but it called for a lot of baking powder.  Baking powder = spreading cookies.  You might get something that looks like this:

Picture from Pinterest.  Source.
I tweaked the recipe and am very pleased with it.  The cookie is not as hard as the ones of Christmas' past, but is hard enough to hold its shape while baking and take royal icing like a champ.  Don't be confused, this won't make a bakery style cake cookie.  But you will get a great softer cut out sugar cookie that can be used for all cut-out cookie occasions.  I think the secret to this cookie being a softer cut-out is that it uses powdered sugar instead of white sugar.  Just a guess, though.

The Recipe:

2 sticks (1 cup) of unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 egg
2-3 teaspoons extract (I used homemade vanilla)
2 1/2 - 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder (you can reduce this or leave it out if your cookies have more complicated shapes)
1/4 teaspoon salt


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper and set aside.  Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl, set aside.

2.  Cream the butter and the sugar together until just combined (over beating will incorporate more air which will cause cookies to spread more when baking).

3.  In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and flavoring (mixing the egg now will ensure you don't over beat later).  Add to the butter/sugar and mix until just combined.

4.  Add the flour mixture to the butter/egg/etc in increments.  Stirring in between until the flour is moistened.  (Again we are trying to avoid over-beating the dough).  Once all the flour has been added, let the dough rest for a few minutes (I use this time to do a few dishes).

5.  Place a sheet of parchment out on your table, plop the dough onto it, flour the top, and roll the dough out to about 1/4" thick.  Cut out shapes and transfer to prepared baking pan.

6.  Bake for 6-8 minutes, until the bottoms just start to turn golden (the tops should not brown at all).

7.  Let cool for a few minutes on the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack.

8.  After the cookies have cooled, decorate however you wish.

I usually wait a day or so to decorate.  And I like to use royal icing, which I will post about very soon.

These cookies also freeze very well as long as they're stored in a airtight container.  I baked my cookies one weekend, then froze them for a week before I pulled them out to ice them.

Recipe adapted from The Adventures of Sweet Sugar Belle.

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