When my granddaughter Claire (age 7) comes to visit, we love to make sugar cookies. Not we like to eat them, but she loves to use my collection of cookie cutters to make a lot of different shapes and decorate them when they are done. Usually they are pretty piled high with way too much frosting for me, but she does love them. I found this recipe online and thought it might be fun to make real sugar cookies that you can actually eat.
EASY SUGAR COOKIES
YIELD: 48 cookies
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons nonpareil sprinkles, optional
vanilla buttercream frosting*, optional
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl down.
Gradually add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. If using, mix in the nonpareil sprinkles.
Use a small cookie scoop to create dough balls about 2 teaspoons each. Gently roll each scoop of dough into a ball and place onto prepared cookie sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space between each cookie.
Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheets for a couple of minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.
If desired, top or sandwich cookies with buttercream frosting. Recipe below.
*If using the vanilla buttercream linked above, I recommend cutting it in half.
Basic Buttercream– This buttercream is, fast, simple and what you see on most grocery store cakes. It’s essentially fat (butter, margarine, shortening), confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla extract whipped together. Swiss Meringue Buttercream– This type of buttercream in made by cooking egg whites and sugar together in a bowl placed on a pot of boiling water. The mixture is continuously whisked while it reaches 140° F. The egg white and sugar mixture is then removed from the heat and whipped at high speed until it forms stiff peaks and has cooled. Italian Buttercream– This buttercream is made by adding simple syrup, which is made by heating sugar and water (soft-ball stage) to the egg-whites and allowing the syrup to cook the egg whites and whipped to form stiff peaks.
-electric mixer; if using a stand mixer I recommend the paddle attachment
USES FOR HOMEMADE BUTTERCREAM
-Frosting for cakes or cupcakes
-Sandwiched cookie filling
-Anything that has frosting on the top
-citrus zest (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit)
-beautify your buttercream by adding a touch of gel dyes
-Add in cocoa powder or melted chocolate
-garnish your buttercream with various sprinkles; just make sure you do this immediately after you frost your baked goods. Once the top layer of the buttercream crusts, nothing will stick
YIELD: enough buttercream to frost 24 cupcakes or one 9 inch layer cake
4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
pinch of fine grain sea salt
1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract
2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter until fluffy add in salt. Slowly add in confectioners’ sugar, and continue creaming until well blended.
Add salt, vanilla, and 3 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk. Blend on low speed until moistened.
Add an additional 1 to 3 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk until you reach the desired consistency.
Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy.
This recipe will make enough frosting to generously frost 24 cupcakes or one 9 inch layer cake.
You can easily adjust the consistency of this recipe by simply adding in more heavy cream or milk.
If you are a fan of shortening in your buttercream. simply omit one stick of butter and replace with 1/2 cup shortening.
Clear vanilla extract is used in this recipe to keep the frosting nice and white. If you don’t mind a slight color change, feel free to use pure vanilla extract, but decrease the amount to 2 teaspoons.
Covered and refrigerated frosting can be stored for up to three days. Simply bring it to room temperature and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. You may need to add a couple of teaspoons of heavy cream or milk to revive the consistency.
If you choose to dye your frosting, go easy with the dye. Remember, you can always add more color, but you can’t remove it.