Unrecipe of the Week: Sugar Cookies

 

IMG_1461Sometimes, there is nothing like a good old fashioned sugar cookie. They can be cut into novel shapes, left “naked” or iced. Decorated to the hilt, or just tastefully dipped in chocolate.

This recipe makes a soft, pliable dough that is easy to roll. The secret is in the flour. Cake flour is  finer and more aerated than all purpose flour, with a lower protein content. It yields a finer, more delicate crumb in cakes, and it gave our cookies a lighter, less rough texture.

If you don’t have any cake flour on hand, no worries. It is easy to make, using all purpose flour and cornstarch. For every cup of flour you measure, remove to large tablespoons, and replace it with cornstarch. Sift the flour/ cornstarch mixture several times. Conversely, place a wire sieve over a mixing bowl, and stir until the flour passes into the bowl. Repeat a 3 or 4  times until the flour has a light airy texture.

Basic Sugar Cookies:

Cream together 1  1/2 sticks of unsalted butter and 3/4 cup of sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in 2 large eggs and a capful of vanilla extract.

In another bowl combine 2 2/3 cups of cake flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt. Add this to the butter / sugar combo and mix well.

If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour.

Pat into 2 flat disks, cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or more.

Roll each disk on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/4″ thick. The dough should be soft and easy to roll. If it is too sticky, use a little more flour on the surface and the rolling pin. If it is a bit hard, allow it to sit for a few minutes at room temperature until it is more malleable.

Cut into desired shapes, and place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-12 minutes, until just golden at the edges. Do not allow them to get too brown!

Cool on a rack before icing.

For the Royal Icing:

Mix a few tablespoons of very hot water with sifted confectioners sugar and stir until it is a thick paste, free of lumps. Add a little more water as necessary.

Color as desired. I used unsweetened cocoa powder to create a deep brown color for the owls. The icing will be a little runny, but will dry into a slick glossy finish. Add decorations before the icing dries, so they will stick better. Let your creativity flow and enjoy!!!

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