Cookie Calendar: Sugar Cookies


What is Christmas without sugar cookies?

Linzers or spritz, frosted or stamped, homemade or store-bought, sugar cookies grace every holiday table in some form.

As I write this, I have two logs of Alton Brown's sugar cookie dough sitting in the fridge, waiting to be baked. Though he calls for rolling out the dough, I'll attempt to slice off cookies to avoid the hassle. I've read sticking it in the freezer for about half an hour before slicing helps the dough keep its shape. Maybe I made that up. We'll see tomorrow!

I'll update this post tomorrow to detail my experience getting from dough to cookie, plus let you know how they taste. I can tell you that everyone in the kitchen yesterday enjoyed the taste of the raw dough, as I had to keep batting off thieves!


The Next Day: I did freeze the dough for about 30 minutes before I sliced it. The extra firming made it a breeze to slice into 1/4-inch rounds. No rolling; no mush!

The dough did not spread or puff excessively in the oven, so I'd recommend it for fancy cutout cookies if you have the patience to roll out your dough. Below, you'll see the raw slice on the left, with a baked cookie to its right.


My cookies needed only seven minutes to bake, but mine were on the small side. In case you're unsure how to tell when your sugar cookies are done, check out these photos:


Notice that the cookie is just browning on the very bottom edge. When you pull out the cookies, you'll see a bare hint of golden brown right where the dough touches the pan.


The bottom will look much like this: mostly golden brown, with blond spots, yet no dark brown. I did, in fact, forget to set the timer for one tray of cookies, which took on a decidedly dark brown cast.

ab-sugar-cookies06.jpgSugar Cookies
Source: Alton Brown
Yield: about 3 dozen 2 1/2-inch cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough

1. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

3. Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. If dough has warmed during rolling, place cold cookie sheet on top for 10 minutes to chill. Cut into desired shape, place at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack. Serve as is or ice as desired. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.

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