Merry Summer! I hope you’ve all been good, nobody likes grounds in their stockings! In continuing celebration of our Christmas in July event, it’s my turn to bring you another recipe, and today it’s Sugar Cookies.
Now the thing is, sugar cookies in particular are somewhat infamous around the office as we've been trying for a few years now to find the perfect sugar cookie recipe. I realize of course that perfection is a pretty lofty goal, but recently I found a recipe that we all agreed comes pretty close and so, I thought I'd share it with you today!
For the “As Close to Perfect as I’ve Found Unless You’re Hiding the Secret Recipe” sugar cookies you're going to need:
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease two cookie sheets and set the butter out to soften. I recommend taking it out even before you preheat your oven, and letting it sit for a few hours, it'll be much easier to cream together with the rest of your ingredients that way. The butter should be soft to the touch when you mix it in. As an additional preparation, get some cooling racks ready if you have them for when you take your cookies out of the oven.
Start by mixing together your sugar and butter in a large bowl, while thanking yourself for allowing it time to soften (especially if you're mixing by hand). When the butter and sugar are mixed completely, add in your egg yolks and your vanilla. If you've never separated the yolk of an egg from the white before, here's some advice. Try to break the eggshell into two even halves and transfer the yolk between the two, using the edges of the shells to clip off the white until eventually only the yolk is left. This is best done over the sink so you don't make a mess on your counter. If you're not confident about your egg yolk separating skills, you can always take care of it first and set your eggs aside in a bowl for when you need them.
When you've finished with the eggs and vanilla, it's time for the dry ingredients. If you've been mixing by hand, now might be the time to switch to an electric beater. While mixing in your dry ingredients, be sure to scrape anything that sticks to the sides of your bowl back into the dough that's forming. When your cookie dough is ready, roll out balls a little less than an inch in diameter and place them two inches apart on your cookie sheet.
So, at last it's time to bake your cookies, and not to put any pressure on you, but this can really make or break things. I recommend letting them bake between 10-11 minutes, however, everybody's oven is a bit different. The key thing to look for is whether or not the cookies have begun to crack on top, or whether or not they've begun to brown. Personally, I'd take the cracking as a sure sign that they're ready to be removed, because if the edges of your cookies, or even the tops are starting to brown, just think of what that means for the bottoms. Learning when to take them out of the oven is the key to a softer, chewier cookie.
Once out of the oven, it's important to let them sit for a bit on the cookie sheet before moving them. They're going to be a bit fragile and you should let them firm up a bit before moving them. However, don't leave them on the sheets for very long! The bottoms are still cooking and can become very crispy if you don't move them soon enough. If you aren't sure whether or not they're ready, try sliding your spatula underneath one, if the edges of the cookie get squished inward then you should wait a bit longer. When they're ready, transfer them to the cooling racks to set for about five minutes. When that's up, store them as you will.
If you're all done baking you can refrigerate the remaining dough, but if you're going make more, be sure to let your cookie sheets cool off some before rolling more dough.