Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Boot & Guitar Sugar Cookies
Welcome to Nashville! I will also welcome you to the best sugar cookie ever. You can trust me because I am a reformed sugar cookie eater. Until about a month or so ago, I hated sugar cookies. And I mean seriously hated. They were crumbly, flavorless, and oh so boring. I would turn my nose up to them if someone brought them to work and I certainly was never going to bake any. That is until I discovered how cute and fun they are to decorate. I was determined to not only make pretty cookies, but make delicious cookies. I set out on a sugar cookie taste-testing extravaganza in preparation for an upcoming party for my friend Carol, who just moved to Nashville. Now you see where the Boot & Guitar Sugar Cookies come into play! After making a handful of different recipes and getting a group to taste them all, these Vanilla Almond Sugar Cookies were clearly the winner.
So, how’s it taste?
These cookies hold their shape so well, they are just perfect for icing and decorating. The added almond extract is what makes these cookies stand out. It’s a very subtle flavor in the background, but it makes all the difference. They aren’t too sweet, which also works great because all that icing turns up the sweet level big time. These cookies are chewy and moist and rich and just fabulous. I’m absolutely addicted to them! Yep, me, the girl that despised sugar cookies not too long ago. Thanks so much to Lindsay over at Love & Olive Oil for introducing me to this recipe from Bridget at Bake at 350.
*For a great step-by-step tutorial on how to decorate with royal icing, visit Annie’s Eats
Boot & Guitar Sugar Cookies
Vanilla Almond Sugar Cookies
3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, cold
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. meringue powder
5 tbsp. water
1. For the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Combine the flour and baking powder, set aside. Cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg and extracts and mix. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl, especially the bottom.
3. The dough will be crumbly, so knead it together with your hands as you scoop it out of the bowl for rolling.
4. On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4" thick sheet, and cut into desired shapes. Place shapes on parchment or silpat lined baking sheets. Place entire baking sheet in the freezer for 5 minutes (this step is important in helping the cookies keep their shapes nice and clean). Remove and bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until edges are just barely starting to turn golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely prior to decorating.
5. For the royal icing: Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (about 7-10 minutes). Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to an air-tight container. This will be the stiffest consistency of the icing, and at this point it is still too stiff to use for decorating. Add water a very small amount at a time and stir by hand until fully incorporated. Continue until the icing has reached a consistency appropriate for piping. (Remember, if you are having any difficulty piping, it is still too thick. Add a little more liquid and try again.) Using a pastry bag, pipe around the edges of each cookie. Let stand so the icing will set. Make sure to keep the leftover icing covered at all times when not in use so that it does not begin to harden.
6. Once all the cookies have been edged, transfer some of the remaining icing to a separate air-tight container. Thin out by incorporating a small amount of water at a time, until the icing drips off the spoon easily when lifted and then smooths in with that still in the bowl. If you go too far and the icing is too thin, add more sifted powdered sugar to thicken it again. Once the icing has reached the desired consistency, transfer it to a squeeze bottle (or a plastic bag with a hole in one corner), and flood the area surrounded by the piping on each cookie. If it does not completely spread to the edges, use a toothpick to help it along. Allow to set.
7. Use the remaining thicker icing for piping decoration as desired. Gel icing color is best as it does not add a significant amount of liquid. Liquid food coloring can be used as well – add powdered sugar as needed to compensate for any thinning that occurs.