Monday, April 9, 2012

Mission: Find the YUMMIEST sugar cookie recipe....Status: Accomplished!

Dear Sugar Diary,
Sugar Cookies (made from scratch) decorated by my kiddos<3)
         So yesterday was Easter ..... I was on a quest for the yummiest sugar cookie recipe. And yes....YUMMIEST is a category to me when it comes to Sugar Cookies. ;) I have made about 5 different recipes...all slightly different on amounts of ingredients....and each one was very different from the next. I tried a recipe that produced little thin crispy cookies...when I say crispy I mean CRISPY. I could have used them to patch a hole in drywall. -_- I am by NO means a cookie baker or decorator...but when the kiddos convene and want cookies to decorate one must always comply! I many kids still want to do that nowadays? Mine are 13,12 and 8 whenever they express they want to do something NON-ELECTRONIC I am overjoyed and JUMP at the chance to spend sit down NON-ELECTRONIC time with them!;)  

Ok so the next 3 recipes were all OK....but OK isn't yummiest. So I looked at all my recipes and compared them to the one I hadn't tried yet. There was really only one significant difference...this one I had left to try called for a teaspoon of Cream of Tartar and 3 1/2 cups of flour. I have only used Cream of Tartar in stabilize it...but never in cookie recipes. And a lot less flour. So I happily gathered my ingredients:
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Followed the directions EXACTLY:
  1. Cream the margarine and add the sugar gradually. Beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at time, mixing well after each addition.
  2. Stir in the vanilla. Add the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt gradually to the creamed mixture, stirring in by hand. Cover and chill dough overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Roll dough out on a floured surface to 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick and cut into your favorite shapes. Place cookies onto the prepared baking sheets.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 6 to 8 minutes or until cookie has a golden appearance.
Immediately with just the dough stage I had that feeling that I was finally on the right track! It was smooth, soft & silky. It didn't stick to everything...and it tasted VERY GOOD! 
I have also learned throughout this experimenting that the "chill dough in the refrigerator" is VITAL in getting your cookies to hold their shape when baking. I always used to skip this part .... being impatient... but they always turned into cookie blobs and that's no fun! I chilled for 2 hours...not overnight...seeing as to how Easter was almost over and the kids wanted to decorate before Easter was over! I rolled out the dough to about  1/4 inch thick and cut out shapes and circles. I placed them on cookie sheets and popped them into the refrigerator again for about 10 - 15 minutes. The oven was already hot by now (I set it to 350...not 375) I baked them for about 8 minutes .. and they looked soooo pretty and held the shapes rather well. I let them cool and harden a little and placed them on a large square cake pan I have. I had already gotten the royal icing ready while the dough had been chilling in the fridge. I use my own royal icing that I have modified to work in my climate....

It is great for cookies as it is runny like "color flow" and it's yummy too! This is how I do it:

 Sugar Shey's Royal Icing Recipe (for cookies):

3/4 cup of warm water
5 large egg whites
1 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract(clear)
One 2lb bag of Powdered Sugar
*Food Coloring 

I first place the 3/4 cup of warm water in my mixer bowl and start it on medium..adding the egg whites slowly and let it mix for about a minute until it is all bubbly ...then in high till it looks like meringue all shiny and gooey and peaks on it's own without falling back into the bowl...but not DRY(think whipped cream). Then I add the vanilla and cream of tartar and bring it back to medium speed for about another minute to make sure its all mixed in...then I add the sugar bringing it back to low (or I will have a sugar explosion! ) lol....once all the sugar is mixed up and not loose (remember to scrape the sides of your bowl!) I bring back up to medium/high to get it to a smooth shiny consistency. =) I hadto play with different ways till I came to this one...our weather is kinda strange in Arizona...VERY DRY and this modified by me recipe has endured the test of DRY. =) It doesn't set up as fast as other recipes either allowing for more time to decorate and even to color the icing.
I found the recipe for the sugar cookies on  they are called "Michelle's Soft Sugar Cookies" . I don't know who Michelle is...but if I did I would write her and thank her. I LOVED these cookies and so did my fiance and kids! They ARE soft and YUMMIEST...super simple and easy to handle without breaking. I will be using this recipe forever now. I hope you try it too and add Cream of Tartar to your pantry arsenal. It works great in this particular recipe. Well I have to say "Toodles" for this week is gonna kick my butt! Orders are all lined up and I have a ton of fun creating ahead! I will try to get in 1 or 2 more entries before the weekend! 1 of which will probably be a tutorial....just not sure on what yet! So...TOODLES and I hope you all have a great week! happy Baking and thanks for stopping by! ;)

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