Often sugar cookies are fat and soft, the cumulus clouds of cookiedom. But when you roll out the dough rather than drop it from a spoon, you reach the other extreme: thin and crisp. Make them just a bit thicker, and you've got crunchy. These golden cookies pair nicely with ice cream or fresh fruit. The dough is sturdy enough to be cut into fanciful shapes and decorated.
Yield: about 3-1/2 dozen
Baking temperature: 350 degrees
Baking time: 10 to 12 minutes
1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) butter
1 cup (7-1/4 ounces) sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1 large egg
1/4 cup heavy cream or sour cream
3 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) cornstarch
3 cups (12-3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
In a medium-sized bowl, beat the butter, sugar, salt, baking powder and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well. Add half the cream, all of the cornstarch, and half the flour; beat well. Add the remaining cream and the flour, mixing just until all of the ingredients are well incorporated. Divide the dough in half, flatten each half slightly, and wrap well. Refrigerate for 1 hour or longer, to facilitate rolling.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
Lightly dust both sides of the chilled dough with flour. If you've just taken it out of the refrigerator, allow it to rest at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes. When you pinch a piece of dough, it should feel pliable, not break off in a chunk. Trying to roll ice-cold dough is like trying to flatten an ice-cold stick of butter; it's more likely to crack and break into pieces than to roll flat and smooth.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured, clean work surface. Starting in the middle, and rolling out toward the edges, roll the dough into a circle 1/2- to 1/4-inch thick. Thinner cookies will be crisper, thicker cookies will be sturdier.
Using a metal turner, pick up individual cookies, and place them on the prepared baking sheets. Edge the turner under the cookie, lift slightly, pull away the scraps around the edge, then give your hand a gentle jerk to slip the cookie onto the baking sheet.
Put the cookies in the oven, on racks set as close to the middle as possible. Halfway through the baking time, exchange the pans on the racks (top to bottom, bottom to top), and turn each pan around so the cookies that were at the back of the oven are now at the front. This will help counteract any hot spots you may have in your oven.
Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until they're set but not browned. Remove them from the oven, and let them cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a rack to cool completely. Use a metal turner to pick up one cookie; if it seems fragile or breaks, let the cookies continue to cool till you can handle them easily. When the cookies are completely cool, store them in an airtight container or in a plastic bag, at room temperature.
Nutrition information per serving (1 cookie, 3lg): 134 cal, 7g far, 2g protein, l0g complex carbohydrates, 7g sugar, 26mg cholesterol, 81mg sodium, 21mg potassium, 69RE vitamin A, 1mg vitamin C, 1mg Iron, 18mg calcium, 22mg phosphorus.
The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion
The Essential Cookie Cookbook
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created December 2004
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