Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Soft Batch Sugar Cookies

Soft and tender sugar cookies that are redolent of vanilla with just a hint of lemon are one of my favorite nibbles with afternoon tea.  Often times we tend to think of sugar cookies as the cut-into-shapes type which can be iced and decorated any number of ways.  Those kinds of cookies are great and always welcomed for the holidays or any number of special celebrations. 

The soft, tender variety dropped onto cookie sheets and sprinkled with sugar for a bit of crunch before baking, are a bit more homey and old-fashioned.  They're probably the ones some of you remember your kind grandmothers baking for you while growing up.  It is these which are among my favorite all-American cookies, because they're puffy, light and not too sweet when they come out of the oven.  They remain this way in the cookie jar even several days later if you happen to have any left. 

Go ahead and make these positively delicious Soft Batch Sugar Cookies for the special ones in your life who adore this type of cookie.  If you have kids, let them help you in the kitchen drop the cookie dough onto baking sheets and sprinkle them with sanding sugar; they'll eagerly await the first tray coming out of the oven I can assure you.  My cookies aren't difficult to make and what's more, they're now yours.  Enjoy!


Soft Batch Sugar Cookies

A stack of old-fashioned cookies sitting proudly on a Fire King jadeite plate.  Take a closer look at how tender they are.  Let's bake some now!


The Ingredients
  • 8 tablespoons, 1 stick unsalted butter {115 grams}, room temperature
  • 1  1/2 cups granulated sugar {335 grams}
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup {105 ml.} vegetable oil, such as canola
  • 3  3/4 cups {500 grams} all-purpose flour
  • 2  1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • sanding sugar for sprinkling (coarse or fine)
Yield: approximately 45 cookies with a diameter between 2  1/2 - 3 inches {6.4cm - 7.6cm}.

Center the oven racks.
Preheat the oven to 350° F (177 ° C)
Line several baking sheets with parchment or silpats.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using a handheld mixer), cream the butter for 30 seconds on medium speed to make it malleable.  Add the granulated sugar and lemon zest (if using) and cream on medium speed for approximately 3 minutes; the mixture should be light.  Stop the machine and scrape down the bowl & paddle at least once during this process for even mixing.

While the mixture is creaming, sift the flour, baking powder (make sure it's still viable) and fine sea salt into a medium-sized bowl.  Keep it handy.

Add the eggs one at a time and beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds each or until they are fully emulsified into the sugar/butter mixture.  Stop and scrape down your work bowl and paddle at least once or twice for even blending.  Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.


This is what your mixture should look like after the eggs have been successfully combined.

On low speed, add the vegetable oil and mix until combined.  At this point, the batter will be quite loose (above).  Add the sifted dry ingredients into the batter on low speed and mix just until combined and there are no specks of flour left. 

Voil√†!  The sugar cookie dough is mixed and should resemble the one above.  Using a 1 1/2" {3.8 cm} ice cream scoop, drop the cookies onto the prepared baking sheets.

Stagger the portioned out cookies with about 2" {5.1 cm} of space in between them.  You will be able to fit 10 cookies per sheet.

With the palm of your hand (this is easier than using a glass), flatten the tops of the cookies just slightly.  You'll notice that the cookie dough is not sticky whatsoever.

The type of sanding sugar you use is completely up to you.  Two antique Ball Jars hold clear sanding sugars (coarse & fine).  You can do a combination.  One sheet can have coarse and one fine.


Before you sprinkle the cookies with sugar, if you notice any misshapen pieces of dough sticking out of the portions, use your finger tips to tuck them back into the cookie.  This will create even, round cookies as they bake.

Sprinkle liberally with the sanding sugar.  I'm partial to fine sanding sugar for my cookies.  Immediately place them into your preheated oven.
Bake approximately 13-14 minutes.

This is what they look like when they come out of the oven.  They do not spread all over the place and the tops are pale & sparkly.  There is just a hint of color around the bottom rims of the cookies.  This is a well baked tray of sugar cookies if I do say so myself.  Let them cool on the sheets for about 1 minute and then transfer them to racks to cool completely.

Once cool, you may transfer them to a cookie jar where they will keep for about 5 days.


A tray filled with sugar cookies shows you the undersides of the cookies.  Just a hint of color is what you want. 

 Tender.  Light.  Sparkly.  Puffy.  Thoroughly delicious.


Sugar cookies certainly have their place in America's culinary history with countless versions varying from state to state and region to region.  What they all have in common is that they're delicious, comforting and a good choice for everyone's cookie jar.  Definitely among my top 10 favorite cookies, the soft batch variety with sparkly tops deserve to be baked by all of you.  These cookies are sturdy enough to ship by mail for anyone needing a bit of sweetness or a little pick me up.  Make this recipe your own by changing the zest for another type of citrus or by combining them.  Perhaps you want to add another layer to the cookies by substituting the regular granulated sugar with a layered sugar such as vanilla sugarlemon sugar or orange sugar.  They're all suitable substitutions.  The one thing you must do with these cookies is share them.  Share them with your family or a dear friend and don't forget to give them the recipe when they ask for it.  Have fun baking!  

4 comments:

  1. Warm Greetings!



    Today, I visit your website and after reading your blog i realize that it is very informative. I'm highly impressed to see the comprehensive resources being offered by your site.


    Thanks and Regards




    batch mixture

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Aakash! I try to be as informative as possible on this blog so that people have success in their homes. Thank you for reading!

    David

    ReplyDelete
  3. Just made these for Christmas! They look so good!!!! I can't wait for them to be finished baking! Thank you so much for the recipe and the pictures really helped me along!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love these cookies! I think they're appropriate for Christmas, but they're also good all year long.

    Enjoy them!!

    David

    ReplyDelete

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