I have been promising a life changing sugar cookie recipe for a while now. My friends, I am finally delivering on that promise! These cookies are seriously to die for, everyone who eats them asks for the recipe or proclaims they are the best sugar cookies they’ve ever eaten. I’m not exaggerating! I top them off with an egg free meringue powder royal icing (because #pregnant) and they not only taste great, they look beautiful, too.
Once again, the recipes are from my favourite bakers, Anna Olson and Martha Stewart. I feel like I could rename this blog “The Anna & Martha Baking Diaries” and it wouldn’t be a stretch (though not as catchy, right?). The cookies are from Anna’s book, Back to Baking, and aren’t actually listed as sugar cookies at all but rather a foundation recipe for things like Snickerdoodles and Toffee Softies, both drop cookies. I had to figure out how thick to roll them and the baking time for making them into cutout cookies, and I think I’ve come up with a winner!
Prepare for these to be a new classic recipe for your Valentine’s Day baking, or rather, any occasion that demands cookies, like a Frozen Winter Wonderland Third Birthday Party or Christmas Eve or when company’s coming. In fact, I actually made a triple batch in November for the birthday party and simply thawed, rolled, baked and decorated for Christmas and now Valentines! From now on I’m keeping a batch of these in the freezer at all times.
Sugar Cookie Recipe (from Anna Olson’s Basic White Sugar Cookie Dough Recipe)
1 cup softened (but still cool) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 cold eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
0.5 tsp salt
one: cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time blending well. Add the vanilla.
two: in a separate bowl, stir together the flour, cream of tartar and salt. Mix this into the butter mixture.
three: form into a flat disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm and cold, about 1 hour.
four: Here’s my cookie rolling trick: most recipes tell you to lightly flour your surface and your rolling pin, but I do something else. I use the plastic wrap between the counter and the dough and another piece between the dough and the rolling pin. This prevents sticking and you don’t need to add extra flour, which also helps with cleanup. Roll to 0.25 inch thickness, cut out your shapes, and put them on a cookie sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper. If you’re moving particularly slowly you may find it helpful to bunch your scraps back into a disc and refrigerate so the dough doesn’t stick to your cookie cutters.
five: bake at 350 F for 12-14 minutes, rotating half way through. This is not a lot of time, you’re going to think your cookies are not done. But you want just the tiniest bit of golden colour showing on the bottom; you want these to be soft, not crunchy. The tops will be a bit firm when you press on them and they will be just ever so slightly browning on the edges, that’s when they’re done (check out my pictures). Monitor closely to figure out your oven’s baking time.
Egg Free Royal Icing with Meringue Powder (from Martha Stewart)
Ingredients (makes 4 cups):
6 tbsp meringue powder
4 cups icing sugar
about 1 cup water
one: using the whisk attachment, mix the meringue powder and 0.75 cups water to combine. Add 0.25 cups of icing sugar and mix on low speed, gradually adding the remaining icing sugar and scraping the sides of the bowl.
two: on high speed, beat for about 5 minutes until soft peaks form, also adding a few drops of food colouring if required. This should create an icing with the right consistency for outlining your cookies; for flooding you’ll need to add a little water to make it more runny. Martha says to store unused icing in glass or metal at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
There you have it, I hope you love these as much as we all do! There’s a ball of scraps wrapped up in my freezer right now, I may need to pull those out for one last cookie fix!
Cru by Darbie Angell Lauderdale Collection Oval Platter: Cru Dinnerware