Perfectly Scrumptious Sugar Cookies

I can’t lie.  I got this recipe from a friend who got it from a friend who got it from… who knows where?  But I did alter the recipe some and did some fraction math for you.

The original recipe made a batch so big that it didn’t fit in my KitchenAid Artisan Mixer.  Not good.  I’ve tried halving the recipe and the cookies were gone too soon.  So this is 75%.  Makes tons of cookies for you to decorate and eat the cookie dough (don’t pretend you don’t do it!) and I’ve got cookies for more than 2 days.  Score!  One note about the recipe.  Notice that the milk is optional.  Only add the milk if you notice that the dough is crumbly.  Make sure to check the bottom of the bowl!  While mixing, add the milk a tablespoon at a time.  Stop adding when you see no dry crumbs.

After making this dough, take out a third or so of it to roll out and keep the rest of the dough in the refrigerator.  If you keep it sitting out, then the butter will start to melt and will make rolling out the dough much more harder and ickier.  Also, when you’re rolling out this dough, you don’t need a ton of flour to keep it rollable (my new favorite word!).  If you add too much flour, then you no longer have nice soft cookies.  😦   So how much flour should you add?  I take a big pinch of flour and sprinkle a dusting of it on my counter.  With that same flour in my hand, I sprinkle a tiny dusting on top of the dough.  Then I take the rest of it and rub my rolling pin with my fingers.  One of the reasons why this is such a great recipe is that it is super easy to work with so you shouldn’t need to add much flour.  Once I do my initial dusting, I sometimes need to lightly dust the top of my dough and rub my rolling pin.  You should only add flour after the first dusting when the dough is sticking to the rolling pin.  Don’t add for fun.  😉

When you’re ready to transfer the cut-out cookies to the cookies sheet, it can be a little daunting!  I find the best way is to use a thin edged spatula.  You can even rub the edge with flour if you’re having trouble with sticking.  This recipe doesn’t do much puffing during baking so you can keep the cookies pretty close together.  I find the only problem I run into is not leaving enough room for my spatula!

Let’s chat a bit about baking…  Make sure you don’t leave them in the oven too long unless you want crispy (ewwww!) cookies.  You can refer to this post to learn how to make sure you’re not over-baking.  With these sugar cookies, you can even take them out when they are more wet-looking than the cookie in that post.  Don’t decorate until the cookies are completely cool unless you want melted icing.  I decorated the circle cookies.  My 4 year old made a monster star cookie.  And I helped my 2 year old decorate the heart.  He got a little overzealous pushing the mini chocolate chips in the cream cheese icing.  Enjoy the cookies!

Perfectly Scrumptious Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup shortening

2 1/4 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

4 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

5 1/4 cup flour

1 to 2 Tbsp milk (optional)

Cream the butter, shortening, sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Add the baking powder and salt.  Add the flour mixing one cup at a time.  Check the dough for any crumbling.  If there is, add the milk one tablespoon at a time until there are no crumbs.  Take a third of the dough to roll out and keep the rest of the dough in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use.  Roll out to about a 1/4 inch thickness and cut out desired shapes.  Transfer to a cookie sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 8 minutes.  Cool cookies completely before decorating.

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Peanut Butter Chippers

If you like crunchy cookies, then you better find a different blog.

I loooooove only soft, chewy cookies.  And these peanut butter chippers are another example of my love…

This is another “perfect” recipe.  This is not a traditional peanut butter cookie.  This is a medium to mild peanut buttery cookie that is perfect to pair any kind of baking chip.  Well, almost.  Don’t use mint or cherry… yuck!

I have several baking tips here (and while you’re at it, definitely try the recipe!) but I do have a few more I want to share.  It took me a while to figure out how to keep my cookies soft but not undone.  If you have trouble with that too, take a look at this picture.

Do you see how you can see some wetness in the cookie but overall the surface looks dry?  I circled the wet spot for ya too.  You also don’t see any significant browning.  This particular cookie was photographed right after I took it out of the oven.  Now, ovens can be different in temperature and even altitude, humidity, different baking sheets and if you’re destined to have a good day can alter your result.  I try to sit next to the first set of cookies and check on them a minute or two before the given time in an recipe.  Then I can use the same time on the rest of the batch.

If you find that a cookie is hard to lift off of the baking sheet, it could mean that you need a thinner edged spatula or the cookie is not done.  Just keep the cookies on the sheet to continue baking out of the oven and try lifting one up every minute or two.  If you need to keep them on the baking sheet more than 5 minutes, then you definitely need to increase the baking time in the oven.

Another baking tool that I love is Pampered Chef’s stackable cooling rack.  I love how it’s a grid so my soft cookies don’t sink in between the slats even with small cookies.  And during holidays when I’m really cranking the baked goods out, I can stack them and still have some counter space to prep dinner.

Peanut Butter Chippers

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softenend

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup sugar

2 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 1/2 cups flour

1 package baking chips

Preheat oven to 350F.  Cream the butters and sugars.  Add the vanilla and eggs.  Mix until creamy.  Mix in soda, salt and flour.  Add chips.  Drop onto an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for 9-11 minutes.

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know, I know.  There are a million recipes for chocolate chip cookies, but I swear this is the best!  It has a perrrrrrrfect texture!  You can tell when you finish the dough.  Just look at this!

Don’t you just want to eat it all?!!  In fact, I don’t really know how many cookies this recipe makes because we eat so much of the dough.  I think it’s about 4 dozen though.  🙂  These cookies are soft and chewy with the slightest crispiness around the edges.  It has a perfect balance of sweetness with a touch of saltiness which makes these cookies unique in my opinion.  The only thing about this recipe is that it’s a bit more work than other recipes.

Look at all the ingredients.  Two different “fats”, two different sugars…  It’s not impossibly hard!  Just a little more work but you won’t regret it since these cookies are SOOOOOO good!

I’ve got the recipe below but I do want to add some of my tips that might help you out.  First, don’t freak out about using shortening.  They are cookies and they need fat!  Plus, no matter what you use (butter, margarine, shortening), it’s not good for you!  So you might as well use what tastes the best, right?  And please…  just don’t do any substitutions!  No wheat flour, no margarine, not even milk chocolate chips.  Seriously.  It messes up with the flavor.  Now that you’re not going to cheat some Imperial margarine into the recipe, you might be wondering what is the best way to measure shortening.  My secret is this contraption from Pampered Chef.

Spoon the shortening in making sure to fill in the gaps to get an accurate measurement.  Then just push it out!  Easy and not as messy as any other options.  Speaking of accurate measurements, that is super important in any baking recipe so let’s speak about brown sugar.  Make sure to pack it in and level it off with the back of a table knife.

I have some tools I love to use too I want to share.  I love my KitchenAid Artisan mixer and I am loving my scraper beater.  It doesn’t completely scrape the bowl when the dough is thicker but it will for like cake batters.

In this recipe, make sure you do not over mix the dough or else the cookie ends up not as soft.  Just mix until the ingredients aren’t separated anymore.  Then turn the mixer off!  Oh, and I like to mix in the flour 1 cup at a time so it doesn’t fly all over the place.

Another great cookie tool in the kitchen is my OXO medium cookie scoop.

It makes perfect little cookie balls… to eat.  Oh, and to bake too.  😉  See, I did actually bake some!

If you don’t have a scoop, you can use two spoons.  Use one spoon to pick up cookie dough and then use the other spoon to scrape it off onto the cookie sheet.

Yummmmm, I want some cookie dough now!  The cookies aren’t so bad either…

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

3 1/2 cup flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 12 oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.  Cream butter, shortening and sugars.  Add eggs one at a time and make sure the egg is incorporated before adding the next one or move on to the next ingredients.  Mix in flour, salt, baking soda and vanilla.  Add chocolate chips.  Drop on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes.