I think I prefer to have fond memories of sugar cookies rather than eating them in real time. I loved making them, sneaking tastes from the bowl and licking the beaters of buttercream frosting. My aunt made the absolute best cookies. Sometimes she would make a million dozen for my dad’s classroom (give or take 100 000) and sometimes she would make some with me after my music lessons. The cookies were always hearts and always had pink frosting.
My embossed rolling pin arrived this week and I was super excited to try it! I had made all the shortbread and ginger cookies I needed for Christmas but I hadn’t made any sugar cookies yet. So, I dug out the best recipe and decided to try the rolling pin. I discussed technique with a gal at work, who bakes amazing creations, the best way to keep the dough from sticking to the rolling pin. We thought flour would make the cookies too tough, icing sugar too sweet, but thought cornstarch might do the trick.
That was my first fail.
Let me start at the beginning.
Sugar cookies are a familiar friend. I roll them and cut them and frost them. I would make hippy daisy flowers for my daughter’s birthday treats in elementary school. I know how to make an excellent sugar cookie.
I pulled out my favourite recipe where you don’t have to chill the dough because it rolls best at room temperature and is not crumbly. Very important things. I mixed the batter and placed it between two pieces of parchment paper so I didn’t have to handle the dough too much. It makes for a more tender cookie the less you manhandle it.
It rolled out beautifully. A lovely rectangle the right size for my new pin which is weirdly small. Thanks, random store on Amazon. I then put cornstarch on my pin to get it in the nooks and crannies. The detail is very fine and I wanted definition.
I tried using the handles, but my hands are too big – I don’t have large hands fyi. The I rerolled the dough to a flat surface. I ended rolling using the French pin method – with my hands on the long wooden dowel. I pressed too hard and I pressed too light. In true Goldilocks form, three tries was just right.
I pulled out my cookie press for comparison. The grooves in the press are deeper than the pin. The pin was too shallow. So the design which is gorgeous on the pin is too faint on the cookie dough. My dream of having the cookies look like a sweater was dashed. I cut them into hearts because that is what shapes sugar cookies are supposed to be. And in the right light, you can kinda see if you squint – the outline of the deer and snowflakes. All that fluffing around and I have shaggy hearts.
The next step in my plan was to sandwich these with buttercream frosting. Crave Cupcakes in Edmonton (and probably Calgary) make these amazing sandwich cookies. I always get one for my birthday and by always its been two years in a row because I only just found out about that place.
The cornstarch gave a weird texture to the top of the cookies – so don’t use cornstarch.
The embossing was too shallow for the cookie dough. It might work better on shortbread or gingered bread. It’s too close to Christmas to experiment now. Thanks, Amazon for taking six weeks to get here. I am pretty sure a Keebler Elf whittled it thus explains the length of time getting here from some distribution centre – probably China so it likely came by barge. Then dogsled. Then an obscure white van with the mirror attached with duct tape.
White cookies and white frosting blend together in whiteness. I am opposed to food colour because is it necessary? Also, is it good for me? Also, have you seen me use glue? Food colour is problematic for me and I don’t need to have it all over my face when I am going out for breakfast Christmas Eve morning.
Hearts aren’t very Christmasy.
I have terrible pipping skills.
My cookie recipe is outstanding.
The buttercream is delicious.
I dolloped loads of buttercream on the cookie and it squirted out the sides. If I had been thinking, I could have dipped the sides in peppermint shards (broken candy canes) or mini chocolate chips or BOTH. (I am grasping at straws for a win people, just give it to me.)
Here is the recipe, don’t do what I did, just roll them and cut them using hearts or whatever you fancy. I have Ninja shapes I should have used but I was nostalgic for my auntie’s cookies. Also, Merry Christmas from me to you.
No Fail (see the irony?) Sugar Cookies
- 1 cup salted butter (room temperature. I think its an American thing to keep the butter in the fridge. It’s useless in there.)
- 1 cup sugar – white granulated in case it isn’t obvious
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp. vanilla – the really good stuff, mine is imported from Mexico (is anyone going and can bring me back more?)
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 6 cups flour
- Add butter and sugar to your mixer. Cream it together until lighter in colour and the sugar is dissolved.
- Add vanilla and egg and mix until completely incorporated.
- Add baking powder and mix. – this step is weird, usually, you put baking powder in with the flour. Don’t this time, mix it first. It makes a big difference.
- Mix in the flour two cups at a time, then one cup. (if doubling the recipe – do it two cups at a time)
- Do not chill the dough, the cookies will bake better if the dough is at room temperature.
- Roll a handful of the dough out on a prepared surface until it’s about 3/8″ thick and cut out shapes with a cookie cutter.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 6-9 minutes depending on the size of the cookie. Do not over-bake. I do it for 9 minutes. They are done in that magical stage between translucent and golden.
- Frost with buttercream and sandwich together.
In a mixer combine:
- 1/2 cup butter – salted
- 2 cups of icing sugar or powder sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla or more or add orange or peppermint or brandy – whatever floats your boat.
- I drizzle in no more than a tsp of milk – just to smooth it out.
They taste way better than they look.
Any tips for embossed rolling pins people? I may just stick to stamps, I have that down pat.