Last weekend I was hired to make fifty iced sugar cookies for a University of Utah graduation party. I was excited for the opportunity and busied myself with preparations. The first thing I had to do was find a good recipe for sugar cookies. I’ve made many before, but hadn’t yet found the perfect recipe.
I did some searching and decided to try a recipe from one of the food bloggers I admire and trust. I didn’t have time to test a lot of recipes and the first attempt had to work. This particular recipe seemed to jump out at me from all of the others and I decided to go with my gut. I made three batches and chilled the dough overnight. The dough was quite tasty and, judging this book by its cover, I felt confident I had made a good decision.
The next evening I rolled out the dough, cut it into cookies, and hoped for the best. I had been warned to chill the cookies in the freezer before baking and so I did, but I was still disappointed in how much they spread in the oven. They looked good enough, especially once frosted, and I stayed up late into the night icing the best “U” I possibly could onto each cookie and sent them on their way the next day.
I got some great feedback, but still the perfectionist in me was unsatisfied. The flavor was great, but the texture wasn’t quite right. I had some leftover dough in the fridge and a few days later I tried again. This time I was careful not to let the dough get too warm while I was working with it and once I had the cookies cut out I put them all in the freezer for a solid thirty minutes before baking.
And it worked! The cookies held their shape and were light and cakey. They were delicious. I opted not to frost this batch and instead sprinkled some sugar over the tops before baking. The cookie was plenty sweet and flavorful without icing and the sugar added a nice crunch. This sugar cookie recipe isn’t going to blow you away or change your world, but it’s a good one to have up your sleeve. It’s simple, both in it’s preparation and in it’s overall taste. It’s a recipe I’m going to hold on to and enjoy.
Simple Sugar Cookies
Adapted from 17 and Baking
Makes 24 cookies
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon almond extract
4 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Cream together the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each. Add the vanilla and almond extracts.
In another bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and salt. Add to the wet mixture and mix until combined. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line sheet pans with parchment paper.
Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for a few minutes and then roll out to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired, and place on a sheet pan in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges just start to turn brown. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.