The BEST Sugar Cookie

SugarCookiebfLOIt’s a cool, gray Sunday morning here – a good time to make some of these amazing cookies – if we weren’t about to go out for breakfast with friends at the only local place I know that makes their own corned beef hash!

I actually made this super-sized cookie for a Tastefully Simple brunch we had a while ago. One of the samples our rep Sara gave us was their Key Lime Cheeseball Mix; really nice with graham crackers; but I wanted to do something a little different, so went the ‘dessert pizza’ route, making one big (well – TWO, actually) cookie(s) and topping it with the cheeseball mixture and blueberries, strawberries and Mandarin oranges. No picture of the completed dessert, but it was really, really good.

On to the cookie: I found this recipe from Alton Brown at the Food Network site, and will never again look for a sugar cookie recipe. This one has it all – flavor (almost like shortbread), texture (crispy, but still kind of creamy), and about as simple as a mix – but a thousand times better.

ButterbfLOI will note that if you’re going to make this, you really SHOULD use real butter. The recipe called for unsalted, salted butter will work fine. That said, all butters are not alike. After some tasting and flirting with store- and national-brands, I’ve settled on this local Wisconsin brand from Woodman’s, one of our local markets. It runs a bit less than $2 a pound, and tastes so good that there are times a bit of this and a slice of nice bread is a very good thing. Packaged only in waxed paper, it IS a solid 1-pound chunk, so you have to make your own sticks for the butter dish; but that’s a small price to pay for good butter. Check your local markets and experiment beyond the standard, you won’t be sorry.

OK, on to the cookies: (this makes about 3 dozen-2 1/2 inch – or two 9 1/2 inch rounds cut with your tart pan – it’s not just for mushroom tarts anymore 😉

•3 cups all-purpose flour
•3/4 tsp baking powder
•1/4 tsp salt
•1 cup unsalted butter, softened – again, here I used regular
•1 cup sugar
•1 egg, beaten
•1 tbsp milk
•ALSO – I grate some lemon zest into the flour mixture
•Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough (didn’t use – rolled out between wax paper)

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375º.

Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar OR place the dough on a sheet of waxed paper and top with another. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. If dough has warmed during rolling, place cold cookie sheet on top for 10 minutes to chill. Cut into desired shape, place at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes (cooking time for the two big cookies was just about the same) or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven (I also sprinkled a bit of normal sugar on top at this point) and then move to complete cooling on wire rack. Serve as is or ice as desired. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week. The second cookie did keep for, well not really a week, because we kept nibbling, and soon it was no more – but it stayed fresh in a Zip-loc bag down to the last tasty, tasty bit.

MadeleinesbfLOUPDATE: I use this recipe most often to make what I call ‘Faux Madeleines’ – because they are a cookie, not a cake – that I make in my Madeleine Pans – we do love a good tiny tea cake, but this is one of Rich’s favorite cookies.

Simply roll out the dough, divide and press into each little ‘shell’, then bake for about eight minutes. Let rest for five minutes or so, then remove from the pan (you may need to gently loosen each cookie with the edge of a knife), cool them on a rack, and enjoy as is, or dust with powdered sugar. You’ll get about 27 cookies – two Madeleine pans and a bit. I keep them in a tin lined with waxed or parchment paper and they’re usually good for at least a week. Ermmm, or until they’re eaten up 😉

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