Saturday, March 12, 2011


Cookies decorated by Sarah, Katie, and Jenny. Sarah says that the last instruction should be, "Spend hours decorating cookies!"

There are sugar cookies, and there are sugar cookies. Some are thin and crisp, and good for dipping in tea, some are thick and soft, and best alongside a cold glass of milk, and some are in between, crisp and soft and chewy all at once, perfect with any drink. It’s nice to have a recipe for each, for whatever your mood.

These are the perfect in between cookies. They are a bit crispy and a bit chewey. They are very sweet, so the lemon extract is just right. And they travel well too. It is the most requested sugar cookie recipe I’ve made. I treasure my copy, in Emily’s handwriting, given to me many years ago: it reminds me of my sweet little sister.  
Makes about 6 dozen

1 c soft butter
2 c sugar
2 eggs
3 ¼ c flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract (sometimes I add finely grated lemon zest too)

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in small bowl.
In large  bowl, beat sugar into softened butter until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time and mix in thoroughly.
Blend in vanilla & lemon extracts.
Slowly mix in dry ingredients until dough is well blended.
Chill dough well.
Heat oven to 350˚
Roll out about one fourth of the dough at a time on a floured cloth with covered rolling pin, or in between two sheets of lightly greased waxed paper (or plastic wrap). Roll to approximately 1/4” thick, cut and bake approximately 10 minutes.
Remove from oven before edges brown.
These can be decorated with sugar before going into the oven or iced and decorated after they are cooked.

These are the soft cookies. Katie & Jenny copied this recipe from Grandma’s box several years ago, though Grandma says that she often just uses the Land O’Lakes recipe. Whatever recipe, I think that what makes  Grandma’s  cookies uniquely hers is her hand: she rolls the dough out very thick, to about 3/8”, and cooks them on the very light, almost underdone side, and they are always completely sealed on top with a thin glaze. And another thing that makes them so wonderful is her cheerful delivery-it is always a good day when Grandma comes by with a plate of her cookies!
1 c soft butter
½ c sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp almond extract
2 ¼ c flour
¼ tsp salt

1. Mix up.
2. Chill.
3. Roll out (in two pieces; flour board)
4. Bake  about 10 minutes at 375˚
(Directions as written by Jenny when she was about 10; Grandma’s recipes are often simply a list of ingredients!)
1 c sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 – 1 ½ T water
½ tsp almond extract
Color with food coloring if you’d like, though white cookies are lovely.

These are the crisp cookies. Because the dough holds up well, it is a good recipe to use with children, and it can be rolled out very thinly. They last for a long time in a tin and freeze well. It is a good idea to keep a few around as they make a great crumb crust for cheesecake or pie. My favorite way to eat these is dipped in hot tea.
1     (1/2) c shortening or butter
1     (1/2) c sugar
3 ½  (1 ¾) c flour
2      (1) egg
2     (1) tsp vanilla & almond extract
2     (1) tsp baking powder
Cream shortening and sugar. Gradually add egg and extracts.
Sift flour with baking powder and add to creamed mixture.
Should be easy to handle; if not, chill.
Roll out ¼” thick.
Cut out cookies.
Brush with white of egg and sprinkle with colored sugar.
Bake 10 – 15 minutes in 375˚ oven.

By combining her Grandma and Granny's sugar cookie recipes, my daughter, Katie, has come up with what she calls "The Best of Both Worlds Sugar Cookie", which really are delicious. Here's her recipe, in her words:

For the "Best of Both Worlds" cookies I averaged the two recipes together.  Here is a rough estimate of what it was:
3/4 cup butter softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp baking powder
Cream butter and sugar.  Beat in egg, vanilla, and almond extracts.  Sift flour and baking powder together - gradually add to creamed mixture.  Chill, roll out, cut with favorite Christmas cookie cutters (snowflakes and trees a must).  Bake 375 for 10-15 minutes, depending on how soft or brown you like your cookies. 
No snowflakes left!

No comments:

Post a Comment