Monday, August 22, 2011

The Test Kitchen

I've already posted about my new obsession with message cookies. I did not talk about how frustrating it has been to find the perfect sugar cookie recipe to use them with. I tried three recipes over the course of a couple days to try to find perfection. It was not found.

The first recipe, the one that came with the cookie cutters, I found to be too crunchy. They turned out more like sweet crackers. I think they did this so that the letters would keep their shape. The text did look fantastic but I was not a huge fan of the cookies (sorry muddy buddies). Fail.

Next I tried a recipe from my favorite baking book. It is kind of fancy and everything I have ever made from it has been fantastic so I was expecting the best. These cookies tasted great and kept their form well but I thought they were a little dry. Almost like shortbread, which I love, but it just wasn't what I was looking for in a sugar cookie. Tasty Fail.

The last recipe was from one of those cookbooks that has a little of everything and it all turns out pretty good. It is an old standby. These cookies were more like a typical sugar cookie. They were pretty sweet and slightly puffy. I found them hard to roll out because the dough got a little crumbly. The puffiness meant the letters didn't turnout as sharp. I was not a fan of the level of sweetness either. I think sugar cookies are often too sweet, almost to the point of being grainy with sugar, yuck. These weren't that bad but still too sweet for me. Sugar Fail.

The only solution was to combine the best elements into a new recipe. I think they are perfect, not too dry, not too puffy, not too sweet.

Sugar Cookies
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 tsp kosher salt

Beat the sugar butter, shortening and vanilla together on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat for another minute or until well combined. Add the flour and salt slowly, beating well after each addition.
Divide the dough in half, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick, cut out shapes.
Bake cookies for 12-18 minutes, rotating baking sheet once halfway through. Cool on wire cooling rack.

 I made Thank You cookies to go in the freezer and Wine Party cookies for a party we were going to. I added a little frosting to the wine party cookies just to make them a little cuter. It is just a combination of red wine (for a wine party after all) and powdered sugar. I just played with the ingredients until I got the consistency I wanted.

I love the way these cookies taste and I really love the way they roll out. Try it out and let me know what you think!


  1. Double cute. And wine frosting?? LOVE. Question though, kosher salt? I've been seeing it show up in lots of recipes lately, does it really make a difference if you use it instead of sea salt (or even table salt)?

  2. Yes, it makes a big difference. Somehow, when you use kosher salt, the salt flavor doesn't get as lost in whatever you are baking. Sugar cookies made with table salt just taste sugary but if you use kosher salt you still get a small amount of that saltiness. I think it adds a lot of depth of flavor.