Friday, 21 March 2014

The Absolute Best Sugar Cookies Ever


It has certainly been awhile since my last blog post! Only a few days after the excitement of Christmas, Chris and I left Canada to begin our honeymoon adventure. We spent five weeks traveling through Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It was a whirlwind and it was wonderful. I spent my childhood traveling with my family, and my early twenties traveling alone or with friends; travel has been a large part of my life. So it has always been a dream, even a goal, of mine to finally travel with my partner! Navigating an adventure is such a unique and incredible experience, there's nothing quite like doing that with the person that you love.

So now we're home (and have been for some time). We canceled our internet service before we left and when we arrived back home we embarked on an epic adventure in procrastination. Yes, that's right, we have been home for six weeks, and only now, have we had our new internet installed. (On a side note: Tek Savvy is a great inexpensive provider! Take that Bell! We'd rather go without wifi than pay your ridiculous fees! Yeah, Bell doesn't care at all....)

Anyway! I'm back to blogging and I have so much to share! The spring season is on it's way (I truly believe that. I have to believe that), and the coming warm weather is inspiring and invigorating. It's a great time to explore fashion (which I plan to start doing on the blog), shake up your wardrobe, renew your hobbies, even rearrange your furniture. Screw spring cleaning! We can do so much better than just washing the windows!

So to begin, and as a sort of apology for being away for so long, I'd like to share something very important: my sugar cookie recipe. This recipe makes the best ever sugar cookies. I bake these cookies every Christmas, and Chris and I (with much help from Liz and Iain) even made and served them at our wedding. I've given the recipe out to friends and family and I get asked for it at least a half dozen times a year. And since I don't believe that there's any value in keeping recipes secret (as Chris says, a truly good Chef doesn't mind sharing a recipe because she is already on to the next great recipe) I happily share this sugar cookie recipe with you today!

Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

2 3/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

1 1/4 cups sugar
2 sticks butter, softened (1 cup)
1/3 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 tsp almond extract

Directions

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl, set aside. 
Beat sugar, butter, egg, sour cream and almond extract in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until well combined. 

Add flour mixture; beat on low speed until combined. Divide dough into two portions. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill the fridge at least two hours or overnight. 

Preheat oven to 175 C. Line baking trays with parchment paper. Roll one dough portion onto floured surface to a 1/4 inch thick. 
Cut out desired shapes with cookies cutters; transfer cutouts to prepared baking sheets. Lay cookies on sheet about 1 inch apart. 
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until edges are slightly golden brown. Remove from heat and transfer to wire cooling racks. 
When cookies are cool, decorate with Royal Icing. 

Tips and Tricks

These cookies are pretty fool proof, but if you're going to use them for intricate decorating projects, you'll want them to be close to perfect. Here are some things I've learned over the years:

- I like to freeze half of the dough to use at a later date. Not only does this dough freeze well, but half the dough recipe will still yield approximately 15 cookies depending on the size of cookie cutter you use.

- Once cookies are on baking sheets, transfer baking sheets to the fridge or freezer for 5 minutes before putting them in the oven, this will help the dough to firm up and prevent cookies from spreading and losing their shape during baking.

- Use an oven thermometer to read oven temperature. Old ovens, especially those in rental apartments can be completely off when it comes to temperature. Don't trust your oven! Purchase a cheap oven thermometer ($5 at Target), place in the middle of your oven as it comes to temperature and use this as your guide to what temperature your oven actually is.

- When baking, set the timer for 4 minutes and take both trays out. Flip them around and switch the upper with the lower. Set the timer for another 4 minutes. This ensures even baking and helps keep the cookies in 'hot spots' from burning.

Important!
Come back to the 11th Apartment tomorrow for the Royal Icing recipe (I didn't have time to type it out today), but more importantly, stop by and check out my tutorial on easy spring cookie decorating. I've got some very pretty cookies to share with you! See you then.

Shayda

 

Above: Liz puts the finishing touches on our wedding sugar cookies. Sugar cookies on the dessert table!