Sugar Cookies

June 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

Sugar cookies always seemed to me like something you bake at Christmas and no one really enjoys that much because they are plain and dull.

I was wrong.

Of course, the person I have to thank for making me realise that they are, in fact, a delicious year-round kind of treat is Martha Stewart (who else?) and the recipe I use is her‘s. I like to add a capful of almond essence to the mix, which adds a lovely flavour and if you don”t have almond essence, some finely-grated lemon zest would also be nice.

I serve these after dinner with a digestif like amaro, instead of dessert. But then, I do kind of hate dessert.

115 unsalted butter softened
1 cup white or caster sugar
1 large egg
1 capful of almond essence
or 1 teaspoon vanilla essence or 1 teaspoon finely-grated lemon zest
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
icing sugar (for dusting)

Makes about 50 cookies

Cream butter and sugar, then beat in the egg and add the almond essence (or lemon zest or vanilla essence). In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together.* Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet, until a dough forms. You may need to use your hands at some point to mix this properly. Divide the dough roughly in half and press each half into a disc-type shape. Wrap each in cling wrap and freeze for 20 minutes (or up to 1 month).

Pre-heat oven to 180°C.

Roll out one disk of the dough between two large sheets of baking paper on your bench. If it’s too firm to roll give it 10 minutes to thaw. Roll the piece between the sheets, flipping the whole thing occasionally until the dough is about 1/4 centimetre thick. Flip the whole thing over so that the sheet you were rolling the dough onto is now on top (making it easier to peel the cookies from the paper).

Peel off the top sheet and cut out the cookie shapes you want, peeling each one gently off the paper and onto baking paper-lined trays. Allow some room for expansion between each cookie.

Cook in the oven for about 10 minutes. Although cooking time really depends on the size of your cookies. Just watch until the edges turn a very light golden, that’s about perfect.

Remove them from oven and allow them to cool completely (you can slide the baking paper and cookies straight off the tray to do this, if you need the trays for more batches).

Once completely cool, dust with icing sugar.

* Martha is a big fan of whisking dry ingredients together rather than sifting. It’s a great idea.

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