Thursday, October 9, 2008

Chewy Sugar Cookies (9/18)

I made these pretty recently, but I'm bumping it up the list because they turned out great and a coworker asked for the recipe. Here you go, Natalie! I got this recipe for sugar cookies straight from King Arthur Flour, which recommended adding 2 tablespoons of corn syrup for a chewier cookie (which I prefer). You should omit this if you want to make rollout cookies.

I made the corn syrup from a very simple recipe, and got about a jar's worth. It's a good thing to have around, especially as a substitute for the more artificial stuff available.

Homemade Corn Syrup

Put sugar, water, cream of tartar and salt in a saucepan.
Chewy Sugar Cookies

Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Chewy Sugar Cookies

Reduce heat to a simmer and cover for 3 minutes to steam sugar crystals off the sides. Uncover and stir until mixture reaches the soft ball stage (235-240F, or when a drop placed in a glass of cold water forms a soft, flexible ball).

Not there yet! Notice my lazy man's spur-of-the-moment way to soften butter: I leave it on my griddle, which is covering my oven vent, aka getting preheated. A little melty, but works fine.
Chewy Sugar Cookies

There we go. It'll continue to heat up a bit even after I take it off the burner (also known as residual heat. SCIENCE!).
Chewy Sugar Cookies

Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two months. Write the date on the jar. (About all the glass jars you have, from pasta sauce, salad dressing or whatever. With a little elbow grease, you can remove the label and any glue residue and have a great airtight container.)

Homemade Corn Syrup
from Recipezaar
yield: 1.5 cups

2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 pinch salt

1) Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan.
2) Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
3) Reduce heat to a simmer and put cover for 3 minutes to get sugar crystals off the sides of the pan.
4) Uncover and simmer, stirring often, until it reaches the soft ball stage (235-240F)
5) Cool and store in a covered container at room temperature for about 2 months.


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets, or line with parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients
Chewy Sugar Cookies

In a mixer or other bowl, beat together sugar, cream cheese and butter until fluffy
Chewy Sugar Cookies

Add vanilla and almond extracts and egg. Scrape the bowl. Now would be the time to add 2 tablespoons or 1-3/8 ounces cooled corn syrup.
Chewy Sugar Cookies

Finally, stir in the flour mixture on low to medium speed until just combined. At this point the recipe calls for rolling tablespoonfuls of dough in 3/4 c of sugar to give it extra crunch and flavor, but I felt bad enough about the 2 sticks of butter so I left it out and they still tasted fine.

Chewy Sugar Cookies

Chewy Sugar Cookies

They're not the fanciest cookies, but they are soft and chewy and buttery. The 3/4 teaspoon of salt is more than usual and I thought it might be too much, but other people said it balanced out the sweetness well. That's your own call.

For rollout cookies, make the dough with 3 1/2 cups flour. Place the dough in a plastic bag, flatten it into a disk, and chill for 1 hour before rolling it out and cutting. Bake the cookies for 8 minutes, until golden brown at the edges.

Sugar Cookies
from King Arthur Flour
yield: about 3 dozen cookies

12 3/4 ounces (3 cups) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks/1 cup) unsalted butter
10 3/4 ounces (1-1/4 cups) sugar
2 ounces (1/4 cup) cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 large egg
2 tablespoons corn syrup (optional)
5 1/4 ounces sugar for dredging (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets, or line with parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and cream cheese until light and fluffy.

Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts, and the egg; scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Add the flour mixture, and mix at low to medium speed until the mixture is evenly moistened.

(optional) Place the 3/4 cup sugar in a large plastic bag, or in a shallow pan. Scoop the dough by tablespoonfuls into the sugar, rolling them in the pan or gently shaking them in the bag to coat them with the sugar.

Place on the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2" between them.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. The edges of the cookies will just barely begin to brown.

Remove from the oven and cool on the pan for 5 minutes, before transferring to a rack to finish cooling completely.

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