What would you choose for dessert; a sugar cookie or a slice of chocolate cake? If you’re anything like me and those two items were in your home, the sugar cookies would be hanging around long after the chocolate cake was polished off.
Don’t get me wrong, I do like sugar cookies, but love them… Not so much. But trying to decorate chocolate cake to give as gifts - that wouldn’t work as well as sugar cookies do. Which leads me to the reason why I’m writing this post today – I’ve come up with a sugar cookie recipe by playing around with some favorite recipes. It’s definitely tasty, although it’s still not in the ‘chocolate cake’ category. If you try it out I’d love to hear what you think in the comment section below.
Before I get to the recipe, let me share a little introduction to the ‘Polar Bear Parade’ cookies with you.
When I saw this ribbon months ago at Michael’s Craft Store I just knew I had to make a cookie version of it. Pretty colors, a simple shape and such a cute little polar bear.
These were finished before Christmas, but I wasn’t able to post them in time. If you’d like to create these, you could make just the polar bear or substitute another object for the gift instead. It’d be a nice winter-themed cookie I think. The ribbon is probably on sale now too!
I used the KopyKake drawing projector to help me draw the image (believe me – I need it!), but you might be able to freehand as it’s a fairly simple shape.
Some of these are made of a new gingerbread recipe I found on-line, but I wasn’t entirely happy with the results (taste).
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been playing around with some of my ’go-to’ sugar cookie recipes – a few of the main ones being Peggy Porschen’sand the NFSC (No Fail Sugar Cookie) recipe (from cakecentral.com), to come up with my own combination. The latter two are still favourites for me, but now I’ve got a third choice. This is what I’ve come up with (please also see notes at the bottom of the recipe):
Sugar Cookie Recipe
Yield - Makes about 30-35 cookies, but it will also depend on the size of the cookie cutter and how thick you make your cookies.
2 cups unsalted butter (at room temperature)
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
seeds from 1 vanilla bean (or 3 tsp vanilla)
5 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder (*take this out if you don’t want your cookies to spread)
1 tsp salt
1. Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer on low to medium speed. (Use the paddle attachment). Mix until thoroughly incorporated – for about one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula and mix again for a few seconds more.
Over mixing the butter and sugar in this step will cause too much air to be incorporated into the dough. If you’d like a light and fluffy cookie, that’s ideal, however the dough will spread more during baking; not ideal if you’d like the cookie to hold its shape.
2. Add eggs slowly and mix. Scrape down the bowl with your spatula at least once and mix again.
3. Cut open your vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out. Add to mixing bowl. Alternatively, add liquid vanilla extract. Stir briefly.
4. Sift your dry ingredients together. (Flour, baking powder and salt).
5. Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl. Place a large tea towel or two small tea towels between the edge of the bowl and the electric mixer so that the flour won’t escape. Mix on low speed for 3o seconds. Remove the tea towels and observe the dough mixing; when it clumps around the paddle attachment it’s ready. It’s also important at this stage not to over mix the dough (the glutens in the flour develop and the dough can become tough).
6. Roll the dough out between 2 large pieces of parchment paper. Place on a baking sheet and into the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.
7. Roll out the dough further if you need to, and cut out cookie shapes. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Re-roll scraps and repeat.
8. Put cookie dough shapes back into the fridge for 10 minutes to 1 hour to chill again. They will then hold their shape better when baked.
9. Preheat your oven to 350°F or 176°C.
10. Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes or until the edges become golden brown. The baking time will depend on the size of your cookie.
11. Let cookies cool to room temperature and decorate!
A few notes about the recipe:
*Butter – The butter needs to be soft, or room temperature. I leave mine out the night before I do my baking. If you forget, you can grate the butter on the largest hole of your box grater, so that the sugar and butter will mix together better.
*Baking powder – I hardly use any baking powder in my recipe because the dough will spread and rise more during baking, thereby making the shape of the cookie less crisp. The only time I use it now, is if I’m just making round shortbread cookies and I don’t care about the cookies spreading.
*Chill your dough if it gets too soft work with. It’s a softer, sometimes sticky dough (depending on your environment as well), but in my humble opinion, makes up for it in taste.
*Read these tips here on stopping dough from spreading.
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I’ll do an in-depth tutorial with pictures on making the sugar cookie dough in a future post.
Hope you enjoy this recipe!