Testing … Sugar Cookies

March 10, 2014 by alex

I’m not crazy about sugar cookies, but I wanted to make them because they’re a staple dessert, one of the basics. Yesterday, I made a batch of Martha Stewart’s sugar cookies. I printed out the recipe about seven years ago and had never tried it. I wanted to give these cookies a try. I followed the instructions as is, except that the recipe wanted the cookies to be rolled out to an 1/8 of an inch and instead, I formed the dough into a log and decided to cut the dough into generous 1/2-inch cookies. Who doesn’t like slightly thick cookies? The dough looked great. It formed really well and I under-mixed it a little bit just to make sure they wouldn’t get too firm. The recipes says to bake them in a 325F oven for about 15 to 20 minutes. I thought that that was too low of a temperature and too long of a time span, but I decided to follow the directions anyway. They seemed to take too long to get golden brown. I ended up putting them in for about 19 minutes, which is a long time for my oven. I’ve learned that my oven bakes a little bit quicker than the recipe calls for, but the cookies still seemed like they were never going to turn golden brown. They were ok when they came out of the oven and were still hot, but a couple hours later they were hard as a rock. Today, I was determined to make up for yesterday’s failure. I made two types of sugar cookies; one that I found online that was made with Greek yogurt, and a recipe for ‘sugar drop cookies’, which is out of The Joy of Cooking. The first recipe mixed very well and looked great. The dough rolled very well and looked great. The batter tasted a little bit weird with Greek yogurt, but I decided to forge ahead. They looked nice when baked. I tried one and it tasted a little bit like a Portuguese sweet roll! I wasn’t very excited by them, but my dad tried them and was very happy (which was a good sign because he can be picky!). I added an orange glaze after they cooled. I love to add citrus to desserts and these cookies needed some added sugar.

I think the second batch of cookies was a lot more successful. You can’t go wrong with The Joy of Cooking. Once again, the batter looked great and actually tasted great too. I decided to add some fresh and ground ginger into the cookies for my dad (he’s a ginger fanatic!). They baked for a longer period of time than the recipe called for because I used a cookie scoop instead of forming the dough into balls. The cookies look good and taste much better than yesterday’s batch. Note: when looking for a sugar cookie recipe, pay attention to the amount of butter, eggs, and flour. Different recipes have different ratios of these ingredients and in return lead to different cookie textures. Other factors include the amount of mixing, temperature of the ingredients, and of course every oven is different.

Also today, I made an Italian almond tart or sbrisolona, it’s sort of a cross between a biscotti and a shortbread cookie. I had to make this for my Italian class and this seemed like a pretty good recipe. The tart is very easy to make and probably goes very well with a cup of tea or coffee. I hope you enjoy! Please let me know what you think.

The Greek Yogurt Cookies:

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
16 ounces Greek yogurt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger

Directions:

Cream butter and sugar together
Add the eggs and vanilla
Add the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda
Mix until incorporated
Bake in a 350F oven for about 10 minutes until the bottoms of the cookies are golden brown.

The Sbrisolona:

3/4 cup slivered, toasted almonds
1 large egg yolk
Zest of an orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
7 tablespoons cold, cubed butter
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

Directions:

Butter a 9-inch springform pan
Mix the egg yolk and orange zest in a bowl
Mix the flour, salt, and cornmeal in a separate bowl
Add in the butter to the flour mixture
Work it in with your hands until the mixture resembles coarse meal
Stir in the sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and almonds
Fold in the egg mixture
Don’t overmix it
Loosely press the dough into the pan
Bake in a 350F oven for about 40 minutes until the tart in golden brown on the top
Let cool and unmold

The ‘Sugar Drop Cookies’:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Mix the vegetable oil and sugar together
Add eggs and vanilla
Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add the ground and fresh ginger
Mix until incorporated
Scoop the dough using a cookie scoop
Roll the cookies in ginger sugar
Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet about 1-inch apart
Bake for about 10 minutes in a 375F oven until the bottoms of the cookies are golden brown

The Butter Cookies:

2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

Cream the butter and sugar together
Add the eggs yolks and vanilla
Add the flour, salt, and cinnamon
Mix until incorporated
Roll the dough into a log and refrigerate for at least two hours
Cut 1/4-inch cookies and place them on a parchment-lined cookies sheet
Bake in a 350F oven for about 12 minutes until the bottoms of the cookies are golden brown.


3 Comments »

  1. Adam Fehnel says:

    Yay glaze! Sugar cookies were fantastic but I think the almond tart stole the show. Bravo

  2. annika says:

    First, I want to say that the last batch of sugar cookies (Martha Stewart’s recipe) had good flavor despite being pretty hard on the teeth. I make her pecan sandies and find that they vary from batch to batch.

    Second, I LOVE the sbrisolona! Very much like a biscotti, but with better texture due to cornmeal! I have set aside one of each of the others and will report back later!

    Thanks!!!

  3. annika says:

    The new batch is really delicious! Very light and buttery… plus the shape with the little dimple in the middle is adorable!

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