Dining In

Simply Sugar Cookies
By Nancy Finch, Food Columnist

Simple Sugar Cookies
Simple Sugar Cookies

I had sworn off sugar cookies.

I haven’t made them for years and had no intention of making them again. I had valiantly tried to make Halloween cats, Christmas stockings or Valentine hearts with rolled-out sugar-cookie dough for holidays when my children were small. Invariably, they hardly resembled any of the above. Or, if they did make it through rolling, cutting and baking and were still recognizable, they were hard as rocks.

Besides, I thought they were an awful lot of trouble, well, at least for my results!

But along came some recipes from The Sugar Association and I was intrigued. There seemed to be a new method to making sugar cookies, at least it was new to me, having given up on them long ago.

The difference? No floury boards to roll the cookies on with resulting cookies that could be stacked for door stops and little mess to deal with.

Here’s the secret. A VERY short dough is made and spread on a plastic-wrap-covered cookie sheet. Then the dough is covered with plastic wrap and you roll the dough with a rolling pin. (That was a little tricky since my rolling pin is wider than my pan. A pan without sides would work well. But you can press the dough by hand through the plastic where the pin won’t go.) Chill the dough for an hour in the freezer, remove and cut the cookies, still on the wrap, but removed from the pan. Re-roll dough scraps between the plastic wrap to cut more cookies.

These sugar cookies are delicious — light, crisp and very buttery (do use real butter!)

Brown Sugar Cookies are good but very different from the white Sugar Cookies. Brown sugar creates a chewier and more flavorful cookie.

Tips: For the white sugar cookies, roll dough as evenly as possible so cookies brown together. Thin cookies brown very quickly. Remember that a dark pan makes cookies bake fast. Both cookies, but especially the brown sugar ones, spread out. Place cookies about two inches apart so they won’t run together. These cookies bake quickly, watch carefully.

Either cookie can be dipped in chocolate dip, if desired, and then decorated with sprinkles. But, we liked these cookies plain.

Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

bullet1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
bullet3⁄4 cup confectioners’ sugar   
bullet1 t pure vanilla extract
bullet2 cups flour
bullet1⁄4 t salt

Directions: In medium bowl, cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt just until blended. Lay a large piece of plastic wrap on a baking sheet pan. Spoon dough on top of it. Cover with another piece of plastic wrap and press dough out with a rolling pin until it is about 1⁄2-inch thick. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350˚. Uncover dough and lift off baking sheet. Using a cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out sugar cookies still on the wrap. Set cookies on baking sheets and bake 15 minutes until lightly browned on the bottom. Transfer to wire racks or waxed paper to cool. Makes about 40 cookies.

Brown Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

bullet11⁄2 cups flour
bullet1 t baking soda
bullet1⁄4 t salt
bullet1⁄2 cup butter, softened
bullet1⁄2 cup sugar
bullet3⁄4 cup light brown sugar, packed
bullet1 egg
bullet1 t pure vanilla extract

Directions: Preheat oven to 350˚. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. In large bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. On low speed, gradually beat in flour mixture until just combined. Chill dough about an hour. Divide dough into 24 pieces and roll each into a ball. Place balls on baking sheet pans and flatten into 1⁄4-inch thick circles. (I used my measuring cup, dipped in flour, to flatten.) Bake for 15 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool on pan before transferring to wire rack to cool completely. If desired, dip top half or third of cookie into chocolate dip, then into sprinkles. Return to wire racks to set. Makes about two dozen cookies. Dip: 6 oz. chocolate morsels, 1⁄3 cup heavy cream, sprinkles. Melt chocolate in double boiler over hot water. Stir in cream. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat.

 

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