Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sturdy Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

Niall passed his driving test.  Yesterday he asked me to make some sugar cookies with passion fruit frosting.  I had made some soft sugar cookies over the weekend, but wanted to find a sturdier dough so I could take these to Niall's work to celebrate.  I ended up using a recipe from Cookie Madness.  I'm copying the recipe from Anna's blog below because her entry has a few recipes.  The only modifications I made were a little more almond extract and no shortening (I haven't been able to find a shortening in the UK that works in sugar cookies.)

The dough is unbelievably sturdy.  It has a half cup of cornstarch!  The cookies are still pretty soft and taste pretty good as well.  (I still prefer a softer dough if the cookies aren't traveling, but these cookies hold up well.) 

The frosting I made using a passion fruit reduction mixed with a swiss meringue buttercream frosting.  (1 part passion fruit puree with 1.25 parts butter cream.) I used a fresh passion fruit reduction to make a puree.  It was okay, but I wanted it to have more passion fruit flavor and tartness. I'm not in love with this frosting and don't plan to make it again, so I'm not posting it.  But it looks pretty!  (The yellow in the frosting comes naturally.)

Sturdy Cut-Our Sugar Cookie Dough
(adapted from “Big Fat Cookies"-from Cookie Madness)

2 3/4 c flour
1/2 c cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 c unsalted butter — at room temperature
1 c sugar
1 egg
2 tsps vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Cream the butter, shortening, and sugar until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the egg and extracts and mix until blended, about 1 minute. Add the flour mixture and stir until incorporated. If you have a Kitchen Aid, you can use the paddle attachment on low speed. Otherwise, you might have to use your hands – the dough seems dry at first (I thought I'd done something wrong), but comes together nicely.

Divide dough in half and form it into 2 smooth disks about 6 inches in diameter. Wrap disks in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.  I found the dough was very firm when it came out of the fridge.  It was nice to have it already in the disks; it made it easy to roll out and cut straight away.

Roll out dough to 3/16 inch thick. Cut out cookies and transfer to parchment lined (baking paper) baking sheets.  Bake until bottoms are lightly browned, about 14 minutes at 350 degrees F. Cool cookies on baking sheets for 5 minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely before frosting.