It’s hard to believe that it’s been over a year since I’ve updated this blog. I know, I know – for shame! But hey, let’s not dwell on how lazy (or in this case, pregnant) I’ve been and just get right back to the baking, eh?
With the holiday season in full swing, and my due date only 7 weeks away, I’ve got cookies on my mind almost constantly. Craving cookies. Baking cookies. Eating cookies. Eating more cookies. Eating all.the.cookies.
And with these little beauties in the kitchen, who can blame me? These cut-out sugar cookies are the softest and most delicious I’ve ever made (or eaten), and best of all, they’re a snap to throw together for even a novice baker. While I spent a great deal of time, energy and effort on frosting and decorating these snowflakes – and admittedly made a pretty big mess in my dining room in the process, oops! – the frosting is actually easy for even the littlest of cookie decorators to mix and use. This is the perfect cookie recipe for a baking day with your kiddos any time of year!
Credit for these cookies, and for the delectable icing they’re smothered in, goes to Sally’s Baking Addiction and allrecipes.com, respectively. I’ve made this recipe on multiple occasions and have had great results each and every time!
FROSTED HOLIDAY SUGAR COOKIES
Yields: 18-20 cookies
For the cookies:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large fresh egg, at room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
For the frosting:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp milk
2 tsp light corn syrup
1/4 tsp almond extract
To make cookies:
In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter (which should be slightly softened but not melted) until creamy and smooth – approximately 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 or 4 minutes, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and beat on high until fully combined, about 2 minutes, continuing to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Turn the mixer down to low and add about half of the flour mixture, beating until just barely combined. Add the rest of the flour and continue mixing until just combined. If the dough still seems too soft, add one tablespoon of flour until it is a better consistency for rolling.
Divide the dough into two equal parts. Roll each portion out onto a piece of parchment paper to approximately 1/4-inch thickness. Stack the pieces (with paper) onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day. (Note: Chilling is mandatory! If chilling for more than a couple of hours, cover the top dough piece with a single piece of parchment paper.)
Once chilled, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. The amount of batches will depend on how large/small you cut your cookies. Remove one of the dough pieces from the refrigerator and using a cookie cutter, cut in shapes. Transfer the cut cookie dough to the prepared baking sheet. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used.
Bake for 8-11 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking time. The secret to the soft, tender centers in these cookies is underbaking; remove from the oven as soon as they look “set” and are very lightly colored around the edges. Allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
After the cookies have cooled, frost using the instructions below. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
To make frosting:
In a small bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
Divide into separate bowls, and add food coloring to each to desired intensity. Dip cookies, or paint them with a brush, and apply sprinkles or edible ornamentation as desired. Allow to set before eating or storing.
I start each and every morning with an ice cold chai latte – and would like to end each and every evening with a freshly baked snickerdoodle – so the marriage of these two favorites sounded absolutely heavenly when I stumbled across this intriguing recipe on Taste of Home last month. The reality far exceeded even my expectations; the addition of ginger and green cardamom – two mainstays of traditional masala chai – took the beloved cookie of my childhood to a whole new level of awesome. These are fan-freaking-tastic slightly warm, so there’s no reason to hold off diving in until they’re completely cool. Enjoy in moderation!
CHAI SPICE SNICKERDOODLES
Yield: 4 dozen cookies
2 cups sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 large fresh eggs
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and allspice. Remove 1/2 cup sugar mixture to a shallow bowl; set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter and remaining sugar mixture until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover dough and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C. Shape chilled dough into 1 1/2-inch balls; roll in reserved sugar mixture. Place 2 in. apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets and bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.
It seems like forever (almost a year ago? really?!) since I featured a cookie recipe on this blog, which boggles the mind because 1) this is *supposed* to be a baking blog, and 2) I bake and eat cookies all.the.time.
If I had to rationalize their omission, I’d say it’s because this blog – at least lately – primarily features my culinary experiments, rather than those tried and true recipes I’ve relied on for years. I have so many treasured cookie recipes passed down from my mother and grandmother that I’m often on cookie auto-pilot; in other words, I rarely branch out and try new recipes. Well, shame on me! There are literally thousands of incredible cookie recipes – this one included! – that I’ve overlooked in my haze of childhood cookie nostalgia. I take heart in the fact my Grandma Bonnie would have LOVED these Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies – she was a sucker for anything with coconut and chocolate – and forgiven my wandering taste buds. These cookies are soft and chewy, over-sized (which is the best cookie size, amirite?), and not overly coconut-y. They’re best enjoyed 10-15 minutes out of the oven – when they’re still a wee bit warm and gooey on the inside – but can be zapped for a few seconds in the microwave for a similar effect.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in the coconut and chocolate chips. Shape two tablespoonfuls of dough into a ball and place 3 inches apart on a baking sheet; repeat with remaining dough.
Bake in preheated oven for 12-14 minutes, or until lightly browned (13 minutes was the sweet spot for my oven). Remove to wire racks to cool.
Today’s recipe is for soft, chewy oatmeal cookies – one of my all-time favorites! Aside from being insanely delicious, they remind me so fondly of my beloved grandmother Bonnie Jean, the original Baking Goddess. Although she passed away in 2012, her recipes (and spirit!) never fail to make an appearance in my kitchen. She LOVED these cookies – I can scarcely remember a time visiting her home when they weren’t baking in the oven – and I’m certain your family will love them as well. Enjoy!
OATMEAL WALNUT COOKIES
Yields: 24 cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup golden brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
In a large mixing bowl, blend butter, brown sugar and white sugar until creamy. Add beaten eggs and vanilla extract; mix well.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda. Add to butter-sugar mixture, stirring until thoroughly combined. Add oats and chopped walnuts and stir to fully incorporate. Chill dough for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Using a small, rounded spoon, scoop dough into balls and drop onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until thoroughly cooked through. Do not overbake.
Cool on baking sheet for two minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool fully.
I’m so pleased to share this recipe for my absolute favorite cookie! I’m a bit of a cookie aficionado (translate: I eat a lot of them), and nothing homemade or store-bought has ever compared to my grandmother’s recipe for Molasses Cookies. They’re soft, chewy, and easily the most frequently-requested cookie in my baking repertoire. Enjoy with tea, coffee or milk (or stuff one after another in your mouth – no one would blame you!).
Yields: 3-4 dozen cookies
3 cups butter-flavored Crisco (do NOT use butter!)
4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup molasses
4 fresh eggs
8 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
Cream shortening and sugar in a very large mixing bowl. Add molasses. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients. Add to molasses mixture and stir well to combine.
Chill dough for a minimum of 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/175 degrees Celsius. Using an 1/8 cup-sized measuring cup, scoop dough onto an ungreased baking sheet. Flatten gently with the palm of your hand. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, then allow to cool slightly on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to a baking rack to cool completely.
Store in an air-tight container for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 6 months.