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Sugar Cookies

Sugar CookiesTomorrow begins a new era at the Sushi Bar:  The Young One begins high school.

So, as we were grocery shopping Saturday (The Young One went with me willingly; he wanted to see if he is old enough to apply for a job there – be still my beating heart.  And for the record, he’s not), we trolled the aisles for yummy lunch things and I asked him if he wanted to buy cookies or have me bake some.

He looked at me as if I’d lost my mind and said, “Bake them.”

Okay, what kind?  Chocolate chip, oatmeal, peanut butter, sugar?

Sugar.  Which is good, because not only are my sugar cookies damn good, they’re damn easy.

The dough requires no refrigeration, nor do they need to be rolled (these are not “Christmas” type sugar cookies).  Even with an entire cup of butter, they don’t spread while baking and have excellent keeping qualities.

Well, they have a pretty long shelf life for a homemade butter cookie.  How long you can keep them in the cookie jar is another matter all together.

Note: I use a small ice cream scoop for standard size cookies; it has about a 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoon capacity.

Sugar Cookies

makes 3 dozen 2 1/2 inch cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup (2 sticks) slightly softened, unsalted butter cut into  1″ cubes

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 eggs, separated

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons milk

2 teaspoons water

1/3 cups sparkling white, or “sanding”, sugar for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375°; butter cookie sheets well.

Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed (use the paddle attachment if you have a stand mixer) until smooth and light in color, about 2 minutes.  Add the sugar 1/4 cup at a time and beat for 2 minutes.  Add the egg yolks and the vanilla, mixing for another minute; scrape down the bowl as needed.

On low speed, add half of the dry ingredients, then add the milk, followed by the remaining dry ingredients, mixing only to combine.

Use a small cookie scoop, or with well-floured hands, shape about 2 tablespoons of the dough into a ball and set 2 – 3 inches apart on each cookie sheet.  Using a flat-bottomed glass lightly dipped in flour, flatten each cookie into a 2 1/2 inch circle.

Combine the egg whites with the water and beat lightly with a fork.  Brush the top of each cookie heavily with the egg wash; sprinkle with the sanding sugar.

Bake the cookies in the top and bottom thirds of the oven for 13 to 14 minutes, turning about halfway through to ensure even browning.  Remove the cookies from the oven and let rest on the cookie sheets for 3 to 5 minutes, or until firm enough to handle.  Using a large, thin, flexible spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire rack and cool completely.

Store in an airtight container, layered between wax paper, for up to 3 weeks.

From the blog