At this point in my journey to become a cookie decorator, I’ve covered the basic supplies needed to get the dough made and the cookies baked.
Moving right along I now delve into the ingredients needed to make a sugar cookie.
And not just any old cookie. We’re aiming for the best of the best. It’s the allure of a great cut-out sugar cookie we’re after. The first-rate, melt-in-your-mouth type that are oh-so-satisfying.
Imagine for a moment that you’re in your favorite corner bakery. Nestled among an assortment of cupcakes and brownies, sits a methodically decorated cookie that immediately catches your eye and you know this little baby has your name written all over it. It’s just waiting for you to rescue it from the case.
Granted, in the case of the photo below you’ll have to use your imagination as this is one of MY creations which we all know by now are not exactly showpieces. Close your eyes and pretend this is methodically decorated.
Back to the bakery.
As hard as you try you cannot take your eyes off the little butter-laden gem in front of you and you’re just tickled to death with how cute it looks.
Oh yeah, this is Adult Entertainment on a PG-13 level.
You’re consumed with desire to sink you’re teeth into it, ignoring that little pang of guilt you have, knowing full-well that once you do, that’s the end of the cuteness.
Hands shaking with anticipation you open your wallet, part with a few dollars of your hard-earned money and take your first bite. It’s absolutely scrumptious. Oh, to hell with the diet!
This, folks, is the allure of a great cut-out sugar cookie. Are you following me here? The cookie MUST be the rock-star.
Without an over-the-top cookie you’re bound to be seriously disappointed.
The good news is that great sugar cookies are actually easy to make. Five ingredients are all that’s needed, six if you use a leavening agent, but I don’t because I have enough trouble keeping my cookies from spreading so I don’t need anything else to help that along.
We begin with some all-purpose, preferably unbleached, flour,
some granulated sugar,
room temperature butter (PLEASE do not even think of substituting with margarine or shortening – uggh!),
a couple of large eggs,
a tiny bit of salt to bring out the sweetness,
and last but not least vanilla, or a flavoring of your choice; pure extracts here, no imitation flavors.
As Ina Garten says, “How easy is that”?
Easy, but not impossible to screw up as I learned a long time ago. Baking is a science and things have just got to done the right way – measurements, mixing, ingredients temperatures, etc. Every ingredient is in proportion to the other ingredients. All the decorating in the world is counterproductive unless the cookie is divine.
Now I am not one to develop my own cookie recipes so thankfully there are a few really, really good sugar cookie recipes out there – tried and true recipes that I know work every time. I stick to those, just slightly adapting them to my own taste and to what works best for me.
The sugar cookie recipes I find work the best for me are listed on my Recipes Page. I’ve made each of them a number of times and they truly produce great cut-out sugar cookies each and every time.
We’re almost ready to start measuring and mixing.
But before moving on, I want to share two important tips I learned that have really helped me in all of my baking. In the next two posts I’ll discuss:
Not exactly the most entertaining reading you’ll ever encounter, but critical to baking so it has to be said.