Friday, December 16, 2011

Roll Out Sugar Cookie Cutouts

Snowflake Sugar Cookies



PHOTO TUTORIAL  |  PRINTABLE RECIPE  |  HUNGRY FOR TIPS?

Fear Conquered: Sugar Cookies

It's a Christmas miracle! The last week before Christmas, the fake tree still isn't up, gifts still need to be purchased and holiday baking is woefully behind. Yet somehow, these sugar cookies are ready for showtime. And they're miraculous.

Ok, they're really just cookies. But they're gosh-darn easy to make. Beat, mix, chill, bake. And they're gosh-darn tasty. Buttery, sugary, crispy, golden. And so addictive. Did you know sugar cookie addiction is a real thing? It is. A miraculous, sugary craving for crispy, buttery bits of cookie heaven.

Snowflake Sugar Cookies Closeup

And while this cookie miracle recipe may look super simplistic, it took months of testing to get there. And four complete overhauls of the recipe. And experimenting with three kinds of fats (butter, shortening and oil). And a whole lot of testing, grumbling, retesting, grumbling, scrapping, deleting, re-adding, retesting, grumbling and binge-eating leftover sugary failures.

The Christmas miracle you find here is my quintessential sugar cookie. What every sugar cookie should aspire to be. Simple, buttery, crispy, sugary goldenness. With minimal stickiness when rolling and minimal spread while baking. And utterly satisfying without the need for icing, frosting, glazes or decorative sugars. Yes, in a word, a miraculous cookie.

Sugar Cookies Cooling on Rack

So ditch the pouch of Betty's sugar cookie mix. Just throw it away (or donate it). And while you're at it, trash those mass-produced bakery cookies hopped up on shelf-stabilizers. For all their exotic, unpronounceable ingredients and robotic, manufactured precision, store-bought mixes and cookies can never match what you see here. It's not even a contest.

Baked Sugar Cookie Cutouts

So if you don't feel like baking, do what I do. Demand your loved ones help out. Press your kids into service. Bribe gullible friends. Or mysteriously disappear after mixing the dough. Personally, I find it's best to disappear right after the first batch of cut-outs goes into the oven. That way, your kitchen labor is trained and you've satisfied that fleeting desire to cut out shapes.

Better yet, bake these cookies with love and holiday cheer. Because they're are worth the time. Even when you don't have the time.



STORY  |  PRINTABLE RECIPE  |  HUNGRY FOR TIPS?

Photo Tutorial

1 1/2 Cups of Unsalted Butter
Start with 1 1/2 cups of unsalted butter.

Butter and Sugar in Mixing Bowl
Add the butter and 2 cups of sugar to a large bowl.

Creaming Butter and Sugar Together
Cream the butter and sugar together for at least 5 minutes (I use a stand mixer but you could do this by hand with a fork or use an electric hand-held mixer).

Butter and Sugar Creamed Together
After creaming, butter should be lightened in color and fluffy.

3 Large Eggs in Bowl
You will need 3 large eggs at room temperature for best results.

Adding Eggs, One at a Time
Add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly between each egg.

Beating in Eggs
Each egg should be completed beat into the butter and sugar before adding the next egg.

Adding Salt to Cookie Dough
Add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.

Adding Vanilla Extract to Cookie Dough
Add 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract. Beat in the salt and vanilla until well combined.

Sifting Flour and Leaveners
Sift together 5 cups unbleached all purpose flour and 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder.

Adding Dry Ingredients to Cookie Dough
In two parts, slowly add dry ingredients to the cookie dough.

Cookie Dough After First Half of Dry Ingredients
After adding the first half of the dry ingredients, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Adding Second Half of Dry Ingredients
Slowly add the second half of the dry ingredients.

Cookie Dough Just Mixed Together
Mix until the dough is just combined.

Cookie Dough Divided
Gather the dough together and divide in half.

Cookie Dough Wrapped in Plastic Wrap
Wrap each half in plastic wrap and flatten into a disk.

Cookie Dough Disks To Be Chilled
Chill both disks of cookie dough for 60-90 minutes in the refrigerator.

Chilled Cookie Dough on Floured Board
Lightly flour a rolling surface and rolling pin. Lightly flour the surface of the dough.

Cookie Dough Rolled Out to 1/4 Inch
Gently roll out the cookie dough to 1/2-inch thickness.

Cutting Out Cookie Shapes
Cut out cookie shapes.

Baking Sheet Lined with Parchment Paper
Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cookies Ready to be Baked
Transfer cut out cookies to lined baking sheet.

Piled Cookie Dough Scraps
Gather scraps of cookie dough together.

Cookie Dough Scraps Rewrapped to be Chilled
Re-wrap scraps of dough and re-chill for at least 15 minutes.

Cookie Dough Scraps
Repeat rolling and cookie cut-outs with second half of cookie dough.

Baked Sugar Cookie Cutouts
Bake cookies for 13-14 minutes at 350F until lightly golden. Cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes.

Sugar Cookies Cooling on Rack
Transfer sugar cookies to cooling racks to complete completely before decorating.

Butterfly Sugar Cookie, Pink
Decorate as desired and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to a month.



STORY  |  PHOTO TUTORIAL  |  HUNGRY FOR TIPS?

Roll Out Sugar Cookies

    by Javelin Warrior
     Prep Time: 2 hr
     Cook Time: 13 min
     Get Shopping List
     

Ingredients (3 dozen cookies)
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed for 5 minutes until fluffy
  2. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly between each egg; beat in the vanilla and salt
  3. Sift together the flour and baking powder; on the lowest mixer speed, slowly add the dry ingredients in two parts until just combined, stopping the mixer after the first addition and scraping down the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl
  4. Divide the dough in half, loosely wrap each half in plastic wrap, flatten each half into a disk and chill for 60-90 minutes
  5. Preheat the oven to 350℉ and line baking sheets with parchment paper
  6. Working with one disk of chilled dough at a time: on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness; cut out cookies using floured cookie cutters and transfer the cookies to the lined baking sheets
  7. Gather the scraps of cookie dough together, form a ball of dough, flatten into a disk, rewrap in plastic and re-chill for 10 minutes while working with the second disk of dough
  8. Bake the cookies for 13-14 minutes until golden, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking time; allow the cookies to cool for 3 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to wire cooling racks
  9. Decorate the cooled cookies as desired and store in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze for up to a month
An original recipe by Javelin Warrior. © 2011 Javelin Warrior. All rights reserved.
Powered by Recipage



STORY  |  PHOTO TUTORIAL  |  PRINTABLE RECIPE

Hungry for Tips?
  • You can make these cookies without a stand mixer. Cream the butter and sugar together with a fork until lightened in color and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the vanilla and salt. Gradually mix in the flour until just combined, then follow the above recipe starting with Step 4.
     
  • If the cookie dough cracks severely when you first start to roll out the cookies, it's too cold. Let it rest at room temperature for 10-15 minutes, then try again.

    Chilled Cookie Dough on Floured Board
     
  • These cookies spread and rise minimally while baking so you don't need to bother with refrigerating or freezing the cookie cut-outs before baking. Just cut out the cookies and pop them right into the oven to bake.

    Cookies Ready to be Baked
     
  • In my family, sugar cookies only arrived once a year at Christmas. But sugar cookies are perfect for just about any holiday. So bake up a batch for Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, July 4th, Halloween, etc. Sometimes I even bake letters and shapes to decorate iced sheet cakes.

    Butterfly Sugar Cookies
     
  • I hate frosting cookies. Or flooding cookies. Or piping decorations onto cookies. I also hate artificial food dyes. So most of the time, I decorate my sugar cookie cut-outs with melted chocolate ganache or dip the face of the cookies into a simple glaze. For special occasions, I'll sprinkle with some decorative sugars.

    Sugar Cookie Variety Cutouts



Scan to view recipe on your mobile device




16 comments:

  1. These cookies look amazing!! I really admire your perseverance and dedication. Thanks for the helpful tips. I'll bookmark this for when I have more time to spend baking and decorating.

    ReplyDelete
  2. First off - is it my imagination or is the blog look new? NICE! Also, what amazing dedication to develop the recipe! I would probably be working on more than one as well....so I can see the logic! Oh! Break off cookies - I'd rather poke myself in the eye! I'll take this recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Baking Addict: I hope you enjoy when you bake these and let me know how they turn out :)

    Ann: The blog layout is new - all the glitches with Blogger's new "dynamic" templates pushed me back to something simpler. I'm happy you approve :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. As someone who spent almost all of yesterday baking and decorating biscuits, your post has a certain resonance with me....if we're being honest though, it's worth it, isn't it?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ah you and your Bf are making progress: rearranging the room for the Christmas tree and some baking is a fab start - all look good and colourful. Looking forward to seeing the tree and maybe a few pressies underneath. I'm hoping to do some baking too, but of the savoury kind :)

    PS I appreciate this template, the last one was a bit all over the place esp. when commenting. Simple is sometimes better.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Love your cookies look so cute and nice:) My house is a mess(lol) the kids wanna dress the tree also here you find boxes, garnish etc.etc. and the tree :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yeah, these are a lot of work....but my family loves them so I have to make at least one batch a year. I may try the log of dough next time...they don't actually care what they look like.

    PS...I can't believe I haven't been an official GFC follower till now. Fixed that.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Crusader: It's totally worth it :) But then I have no kids and I only "work" 20 hours per week at an official job. So my perspective may be skewed?

    Shaheen: Tree should be going up later today and I'll definitely share pics. Cause there'll be gifts under the tree too :) And I'm glad the new blog layout has improved your experience here...

    Gloria: Thanks, and my apartment is a mess right now too!

    Lizzy: Thanks for officially adding via GFC but I completely understand because my prior blog layout completely obscured this widget...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Pretty cookies! Way to hang in there and take the time :)

    I like your new blog look too, I remember trying to comment before and having trouble. It's looking good!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sandi, thanks for the feedback on the blog layout - I'm glad you like it :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Your cookies are so cute! I think it's a great thing that you've managed to get these done. Everything else will fall into place, but just in case you start to get stressed at least you have the sugar cookies to make you smile :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. These look great. Good luck with the rest of your holiday plans!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wow, I really admire your dedication to perfecting your recipes!! I'm afraid I'm to lazy for that. I would rather just follow a good recipe that someone has taken months to perfect ;-))

    ReplyDelete
  14. Val: You're absolutely right - things are falling into place and knowing that this recipe is finally complete is a great source of joy :)

    Mary: Thanks Mary. Hope you have a wonderful holiday!

    Anna: I'm quite independent ;) And I like to pretend I can figure out how to make something on my own. Initial success is quite rare!

    ReplyDelete
  15. So colorful and pretty. It looks like you made a lot of cookies! I need to make cookies as soon as I go back after my vacation... I have only a day to make it before Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Nami: I hope your cookie-baking goes well and you have a wonderful Christmas!

    ReplyDelete