Thursday, February 14, 2013

Soft Sugar Cookies

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I hope that everybody is taking the time to show the ones they love just how much they care :).

Whateverrrr.... frankly, I think it's kind of lame that people feel they need a *holiday* to express their love, because I'm pretty sure if you love someone you should show it everyday... but to each his own. And as I mentioned before, I'm a big fan of the copious amounts of candy and chocolate that I frequently receive on this holiday (*cough, from my Mother... whatever, don't judge), so I guess I'm OK with it. Somewhat.

Anyways, here are some nice soft sugar cookies that you can share with your significant other, family and/or friends. They're simple to make, and I like that it's a roll-out dough so you can choose whichever shape you want! Many of the recipes for soft sugar cookies I looked at are more drop-cookie style, so the fact that you can roll this one out was what drew me to it. However, I would make one slight adjustment to this recipe. Instead of using vanilla extract in the dough, I would swap it for almond. I doubled the amount of vanilla, and the cookies still came out somewhat plain. If they hadn't had the buttercream on top, they would have been too flavourless for my liking. But baking is about whatever you like, so you use whichever extract suits you!

Yield: just over 2 dozen
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons almond OR vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream

For the Buttercream Frosting:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 cups powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Food coloring, optional
Sprinkles, optional

In a medium blow, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated. Add the extract and sour cream and mix until just combined.

Add the dry ingredients and mix at low speed until the dough starts to form, scraping down the bowl as needed. The dough will be a little sticky; that is normal. Flatten the dough into a rectangle about 1 1/2 inches thick, then wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats; set aside.

Lightly flour the counter top and the top of the dough. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness. Using desired cookie cutters, cut out the cookies and place on baking sheets. Bake for 7 minutes, or until cookies are just slightly golden around the edges. Immediately transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and vanilla extract. Slowly beat in powdered sugar and pinch of salt. Once smooth and creamy, add in heavy cream. If you don't have heavy cream, milk or normal cream works as well. Beat in 1 tablespoon at a time until the frosting reaches your desired consistency. Then beat at medium-high speed for a minute or two until the frosting is light and fluffy. If desired, add food coloring and mix until combined.

Once cookies are completely cooled, frost and decorate as desired. Allow the frosting to set (it will form a crust), then store in an air-tight container for up to 3 days (the cookies actually last longer, I've had mine for about a week, but they start to get a bit stale and just don't taste as good. They're definitely the best in the first two days.).

Source: Two Peas and Their Pod

If you're interested in other treats for Valentine's Day, check these out:
Whoo Do You Love? Sugar Cookies 
Red Velvet Cupcakes 
Strawberry Cupcakes 
Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies 

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