Dear Sugar Cookie,
You’re my favorite.
I know I talk about favorites a lot, but in the world of cookies, you reign supreme. Even just this month, I was at a friend’s holiday cookie party, for which she’d baked over a dozen batches of a-ma-zing cookies to share. And amongst all of the deliciousness, do you know which cookie was my first and favorite to enjoy? Indeed. In the words of Rachel from the finale of Friends….”it’s always been you”. :)
Perfect recipes to highlight your classic good-looks and taste can be hard to find — especially recipes for delicious dough that still holds its special cookie-cutter shape when baking. But I believe this one is a keeper. It was featured at my Christmas party this week, when good friends turned you into all sorts of normal, beautiful holiday shapes….such as hula dancers (front and back) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (holding pizzas).
Yes, you’ve always had the knack for inspiring the best creativity, smiles and good times. :)
So thanks for the memories. Thanks for the smiles. And thanks for continuing to be my favorite.
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 tsp. canola or other flavorless oil
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and salt together and set aside.
Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and use the paddle attachment on medium-speed to cream them together until light and creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, followed by the oil, vanilla and lemon zest, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
On low speed, slowly beat in the flour mixture, then increase the speed to medium and beat the dough until it comes away from the sides of the bowl. Shape the dough into a large disc and wrap it in a sheet of plastic; refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
When you are ready to bake the cookies, remove the dough from the refrigerator to slightly soften it while you preheat the oven to 350°F, positioning the racks in the center of the oven. Spray two cookie sheets or rimmed sheet pans lightly with non-stick cooking spray (and/or line them with parchment paper).
Divide the dough into three pieces; work with one piece at a time, keeping the other pieces chilled or in a cool part of the kitchen. On a lightly floured board, roll the dough 1/8th of an inch thick, taking care to make sure the dough doesn't stick to the board and remains cool to the touch. Use your favorite cutters to stamp out the cookies into desired shapes and transfer them to the baking sheets, 1/2" apart.
Bake the cookies 10 to 12 minutes, or until they just turning golden at the edges. (If concerned about the cookies being evenly browned, rotate the baking sheets halfway through the baking time.)
Allow the cookies to cool for one minute on the sheet, and then slide them onto a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat as necessary with the remaining pieces of dough. Store the cookies up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.
A fun trick for storing the dough is to place the ball in a large ziplock bag (unzipped). And then use a rolling pin to roll the dough flat inside of the bag until it has nearly filled it up. Then zip it, and voila — you have dough already on the way to being rolled out flat, and it’s well-sealed without extra air in the ziplock bag!