These sugar cookies are very basic cookies that I make almost every Christmas. They are very easy and the cookie dough can be made ahead and frozen up to a month ahead. My original recipe( I got it from a cookbook long back, don’t remember the book’s name) results in thick chewy cookies that taste similar to the Indian nankhatai. If you prefer them that way, use the measurements I have mentioned in parantheses for the granulated sugar, confectioners sugar and use egg yolks instead of whole eggs. This is because the batter doesn’t spread as much and holds its shape while baking.
I have made these cookies by rolling them into a ball, but they would also be good for cut-out cookies. I am not a big fan and my son isn’t to the point of recognizing shapes as yet. Maybe next year. If planning on making cut out cookies, use the measurements in brackets. Otherwise the cookie will spread and lose their shape. Although there is not much of a difference in taste, the texture differs.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar(3/4 cup sugar)
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar(3/4 cup confectioners sugar)
2 large eggs (2 egg yolks)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
2 tbsp raw/turbinado sugar
3 drops red food coloring
3 drops green food coloring
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
Cream the butter and both sugars in another medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 30 seconds. Add the eggs/egg yolks, vanilla and orange zest mixing until fully incorporated. Slowly add the flour mixture, and continue beating until the dough comes together. Let this chill for about 20 minutes in the refrigerator.
Make colored sugar by mixing a tbsp of turbinado sugar with the food coloring. Pinch off about a tbsp of dough by hand and roll into a ball. Dredge the tops of the balls into the colored sugar. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Place the cookies in an oven preheated to 375 degrees. Bake for 12 minutes until it starts to turn golden brown around the edges. Lift off using a spatula to cooling racks to cool.
Verdict: Although the name is sugar cookies, it wasn’t awfully sweet. The almond extract gave a nice scent and aroma to the cookies. Kids loved the colored sugar topping on the cookies. Much better than icing I think.
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