I am going to be completely honest, I hate sugar cookies. I enjoy eating good sugar cookies, but I hate making the damn things. These things were just a mystery to me with the mixing, chilling, rolling, getting them cut without sticking to the counter. Let’s not even get into the baking with the spreading and the distorting of what was once a beautiful shape before the oven. After testing and tweeking about 15 variations of different recipes, I finally got one that didn’t make me cry.
Here are some things that I learned, now my sugar cookie rules.
- Rule number one, don’t use anything with oil, i.e. margarine or shortening. Just don’t. I mean, if you aren’t looking to keep a perfect shape, then go for it. But otherwise avoid, avoid, avoid.
- Rule number two, watch your butter temp! Softened doesn’t mean warm and wholly malleable. You’re not buttering toast, you’re making cookies. Looking for soft enough to leave a slight indent when applying pressure with your thumb. Nothing more.
- Finally, rule number 3, use the proper rolling pin! I have two rolling pins I adore. A traditional wooden rolling pin that spins and a French rolling pin that is thicker in the middle and thinner at the ends. I love my French rolling pin for pie crust and bread dough. But I have to go with the traditional rolling pin. For cut out sugar cookies, you need to keep it as even as you can and the traditional flat rolling pin makes it a little easier. Also, don’t be afraid to lightly flour it occasionally and go in one direction with nice long movements.
What I like about the final tweeked version was the flavor and so did Mr. Stacy and his store’s staff, as did our first grade taste tester. Plus, I didn’t have to chill it. Which is a bonus for me. I am not a patient woman some days.
Rolled Sugar Cookies
- 1/2 C unsalted butter, softened and cubed
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 3 Tbsp sour cream or plain greek yogurt
- 1 Tbsp clear vanilla extract (or whatever extract you want to flavor it up with)
- 2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in egg, dairy choice (I preferred the sour cream), and extract. Mix your dry ingredients together and slowly add to the batter so it can fully incorporate.
Lightly flour your rolling surface and turn out. Work the dough together into a large ball, lightly knead for a few moments, sprinkle on a little flour and roll out the dough to about a quarter inch thick. Cut into shapes and place on cookie sheet. Rework dough and keep cutting. Place about an inch between cookies.
Bake for 9 or 10 minutes, or till edges of cookie are just turning gold. Pull sheet from oven and let cookies cool on sheet 15 minutes, they will continue to cook on the sheet out of the oven, so just let them rest. Transfer to rack to completely cool before icing. Store in an airtight container.
- 5 Tbsp meringue powder (do not use fresh egg whites, use the powder, trust me.)
- 1 Tbsp light corn syrup
- 1 tsp clear vanilla extract (or flavor of choice)
- 1 C cool water
- 2 lb powder sugar (that’s a whole bag.)
Combine everything but the powder sugar in a mixer bowl, use a hand whisk. Combine well, it’ll get a little foamy from the meringue powder. Next slowly add the powder sugar in stages, still use that whisk. Once it gets fairly well combined, put the paddle attachment on your mixer and drop it in. Mix it at medium high for 5 minutes or until stiff peak stage.
Cover your icing with a damp towel to prevent dry up when not using. Mix icing colors in small batches.
To make flood icing, add a few drops of water to the batch you want to have flow, mix well. I like to use squeeze bottles for the flood icing. Make sure you have a toothpick on hand to pop the bubbles.
Let your cookies dry on racks. Pack with paper between layers.
Awesome thing, when you use meringue powder, you can store your unused icing in a zipper food bag. Squeeze out all the air and leave out. Use within a week.