Monday, September 27, 2010

daring bakers: sugar cookies

The September 2010 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Mandy of "What the Fruitcake?!" Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking.

I was relieved to see that this month's challenge wouldn't be an all-day project. Although I love difficult challenges where I learn new techniques, we've had house guests and more house guests and parties and family things and major cleaning projects and more of all of those coming soon. So making cookies instead of some complicated sixteen-component French thing was a nice break.

We were supposed to decorate the cookies, but I hate royal icing, and I added too much yellow to the glaze I made, so it was a weird egg-yolk color. So I skipped the decorating. I didn't love the flavor of the cookies, but they did hold their shape amazingly well. If I ever need great-looking sugar cookies, I'll use this recipe and bump up the vanilla.

sugar cookies
7 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
14 oz flour, sifted
7 oz caster sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla. Beat until just becoming creamy. (Don't overmix or you'll incorporate too much air and the cookies will spread during baking, losing their shape.)

Beat in the egg until well combined. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add the sifted flour and mix on low until a nonsticky dough forms.

Knead into a ball and divide into 2 or 3 pieces. Roll out each portion between parchment paper to a thickness of .2 inch.

Refrigerate for at least 30 min.

Once chilled, peel off parchment and place dough on a lightly floured surface.

Cut out shapes on parchment lined baking sheets and refrigerate for another 30 min. to an hour.

Re-roll scraps and follow the above process until all scraps are used up.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Bake cookies until golden around the edges, 8-15 min., depending on the size of the cookies.

Leave to cool on cooling racks. Once completely cooled, decorated as desired.