Sunday, January 2, 2011

Roll out the fun

If you are one of those people groaning about how they can’t look at another cookie, you probably shouldn’t read this post.  I could lie and say I was purposefully holding this recipe to prepare you for a fun Valentine’s Day cookie… but it simply isn’t true. Though, if the only cookie cutter you own is a heart, this may be of interest to you after all.

The most important aspect of making sugar cookies is choosing the right recipe.  I am partial to the classic Joy of Cooking rich-roll cookies.  They are buttery and maintain a bit of chew, without being too delicate to work with (unless you are a four-year-old Megatron slamming cookies down on the marble counter like you mean it).  

Plus, these cookies don’t fall into that terrible sugar-cookie-tastes-like-raw-flour category.  You know that’s right.
I come from a shortbread-oriented family and would have been happy eating these cookies with a modest sprinkling of decorative sugar.  However, it was more fun making a sticky mess with my two sisters.  We used the timeless liquid + powdered sugar = icing method.  I have developed a sudden fear of food coloring, but since all my youngest sister cares about is pink, we used pomegranate juice to make a rose-tinted icing and water for a plain icing.  (Heart-shaped cookie cutter owners take note of this love-appropriate color scheme.)  The plain icing was, in my opinion, a little too sweet (little Megatron would disagree).  I recommend using lemon juice or orange juice to make a more palatable glaze.
We ended up with a sugared-up four-year-old who ate more sprinkles than she decorated with, three headless reindeer, and pink penguins, pink snowmen, and pink Christmas trees. A worthwhile activity, to be sure (no matter the season).

Rich-Roll Cookies (from Joy of Cooking

Beat in a large bowl until creamy:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar

Add and beat until combined:
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Stir in until blended:
2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Pat into a disc and refrigerate for 30 minutes. (The original recipe tells you to do some crazy stuff around this step... I just ignore all that and get down to making cookies.)

Roll chilled dough out to about ¼ inch thickness. Cut and arrange on cookie sheet covered in parchment paper. Bake at 350°F for 6 to 9 minutes (rotating the tray once).  I like for the cookies to be pretty pale, but slight toasting of the edges is a fine sign.  Let cool and then decorate.


  1. Going a bit more golden is fine, said the woman who will cheerfully eat over-done shortbread.

  2. Remember when we rocked that wine and cheese party with those pomegranate-glazed cookies? I'm on the side of pink icing, sweetness be damned.

    Beautiful cookies!

  3. That face looks pretty darn serious, despite the sugar. Or, maybe she hadn't gotten to the sugar yet? My family and M's cousins ate the sugary mess quite happily, though I was sweeping up sprinkles for the rest of the week.

  4. The last sentence of the second paragraph made me snort aloud. FYI.

    Mom, back when Sham could consume the wonder that is your shortbread, he agreed with you on the golden!

    Peggy, I think the photo was right before Megatron tried to harvest more venison by decapitating yet another reindeer. What's more serious than that?

    YAY. This was so much fun and the recipe was spot on. Thanks, Hanz, for keeping us safe whilst cooking and always well fed.