I have been on a quest for the perfect rolled sugar cookies for I don’t know how long. I mean literally years I have been looking for the recipe. I only just realized a few months ago that I was actually on a quest for several varieties of sugar cookies. There’s the perfect roll out and cut sugar cookies that you decorate for Christmas and all those other holidays. There’s the slice and bake sugar cookies for when you’re lazy and need a quick fix, and then there are those ultra soft, slightly pillowy sugar cookies that have the deep, smooth frosting with sprinkles. Can you tell I have spent many hours deep in thought over a cookie? One that we all seem to know from childhood and remember so well. And yet, every time I tried to re-create it, I failed. Well I have finally covered at least one of those recipes.
Perhaps you are aware that there’s some fancy football game coming up this weekend. I only know this because The BF’s a raging Giants fan (I’m an Eagles fan, and not of the fair-weather variety) and while we were on vacation in Cancun – sunny, beautiful Cancun – during the welcome party the resort throws with FREE BOOZE, The BF was lodged in a chair with THREE other individuals, watching a Giant’s playoff game. I mean, yay dedication? (Screw that I got me some free booze.)
Anyway, being the good girlfriend that I am, I went out and bought a Giants t-shirt so I could wear it to my first (and likely only) Pro game back in October (I also bought an Eagles shirt so I didn’t feel like I was betraying my team). I would like to state, proudly, that every time I wore that shirt the Giants won, so I like to think I contributed to their Super Bowl entry (granted I only wore it twice on game days, but whatever).
Anyhoo, last year I bought a football cookie cutter, to add to my enormous collection of cookie cutters that I never actually use, in the hopes of using it for the Super Bowl. Our plans got a little fuddled and I ended up not making cookies for the party we attended. Sad face. So it’s been languishing, in the super fancy $10 glass jar I bought at Crate & Barrel to try and contain my cookie cutter addiction, for the last year. And even though we once again do not have a party to attend for the Super Bowl I decided to make a whopping six football cookies.
Now this is how well I know football logos. I decided I would pipe on the Giants’ logo for each cookie, thinking it was just a big “G.” Negatory friends. The “G” logo is actually for the Packers, which I realized belatedly when I googled “Giants logo.” I should have known this since my father is a raging Packers fan and in college I actually played enough Madden ’04 to know part of the Packers’ playbook (by now long forgotten; in fact I can’t name more than three position on a football team, much to The BF’s and my father’s dismay).
So I carefully drew the Gaints’ logo on each cookie with an edible pen to trace later with piped icing, and realized after I finished the last one that I should have flooded the cookies first. Go figure I finally get a beautiful piping and flooding consistency royal icing, after studiously watching every single video on University of Cookie and all of Bridgett’s tutorials at Bake at 350, and I totally goof on the order of operations.
Whatever. After failing miserably to flood three of the uglier cookies, I gave up and just left a piped outline on the other three. At least this time I got a red that’s less pink and more red. But that wasn’t even the point, the point was I finally found a great roll and cut cookie recipe. Even after completely bombing the two cookie recipes in my new Dorie Greenspan cookbook I intrepidly struck out to try her sugar cookie recipe. I am so glad I did. It’s a great recipe and doubles well for slice and bake (according to her, and I trust her). They bake evenly with flat tops and still stay just slightly chewy even after being left out overnight so the icing can harden. I’m in love.
So with that I say GO G-MEN!
*Just a Note: Like most roll out sugar cookies this dough needs to refrigerate for a few hours before it is stiff enough (heh, I’m so childish I actually giggled when I typed that) to endure rolling, cutting and re-rolling. Therefore, plan ahead at least 3 hours before making these.
Roll Out Sugar Cookies
Recipe direct from Dorie, but my roll and cut directions are slightly altered
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 stick plus 2 tbsp (10 tbsp) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
Whisk together the flour salt and baking powder in a small bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer cream the butter and sugar just until smooth, about one minute (I learned from Cook’s Illustrated that if you cream until fluffy like you would for a cake it affects how the cookies rise). Add the egg, extra yolk and vanilla, just until incorporated. Add the flour and mix on low until no streaks remain, about 30 seconds. The dough will be very soft and sticky (and also irresistibly delicious).
Split the dough in half, wrapping each half in plastic wrap and shaped in a disk. Refrigerate at least two hours, or freeze for upto two months double wrapped in plastic.
Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat.
Working with one disk at a time, gently roll the dough to 1/4″ thickness between two sheets of lightly floured wax paper. I find that rotating the dough 45° before each pass keeps it even and prevents it from sticking. Try not to work the dough too much as it’s very soft and will warm up quickly, thereby making it difficult to work with. Cut out your desired shapes (if you’re only using sprinkles now is the time to decorate), place them on the baking sheet and freeze for 5-10 minutes. Return the scraps to the refrigerator.
After the dough has been slightly frozen, promptly place in the oven and bake for 9-11 minutes. While one batch is in the oven you can roll out the next batch and place the sheet in the freezer while the other bakes up.
When the cookies are a light golden color on top they’re done, you don’t want too much browning on the edges. Allow to rest for a minute on the sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate as desired. If you’d like a good tutorial on royal icing and how to flood and decorate I direct you to Bridgett at Bake at 350. She is way more of a pro than I am (as you will notice).