Sugar, Sugar

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This is the story of a competitive cookie.

Once upon a time (in my previous post) I told of my longing for a white, chewy, sugar cookie. The ideal cookie is in my head and I usually know that if I tap my resources from America’s Test Kitchen, I can usually come close to perfection. Truth be told, I was a bit bummed when my ATK cookbook came up with nothing. I guess it wasn’t so complete after all. Oh, well. I’d move on.

So when I came across the Cooking with the Cast segment of the ATK Feed website and saw “Make Chewy Sugar Cookies with Bridget” that included a photo submission challenge that would win a DVD set, I was excited (but, seriously, why hadn’t I checked online for the recipe earlier?). And while I really wanted that DVD set, I knew that even if I didn’t win, Bridget would have at least seen my picture and my name. A brush with one of my favorite TV personalities is always a good thing in my book! So how would I make my entry stand out?

Playing off of Bridget’s post of the recipe, that this sugar cookie is the Miss Congeniality of the cookie world, I set to work. I’d make half of the cookies exactly as the recipe said, but then I’d add my own little twist on the second half.

This is how the first word-for-word rendition came out. Simple, beautiful. Not so memorable. Then came time for the fun…

 

Growing up, it seemed that my parents could make anything “special” and “fancy” with sprinkles (or confettis, as we called the rainbow non-pareils). Vanilla ice cream. Peanut butter bread. I don’t think they ever tried it on beef roast or mashed potatoes or peas, but hmmm… it might have helped! In college I used to fill a bowl with sprinkles and dip my soft-serve ice cream cone — cafeteria food wasn’t all bad. It didn’t help my waistline, but it did help ease the pain of bad rehearsals! So, tipping my hat to what I know best, this is Miss Congeniality dressing for the pageant...

 

 

 

The recipe is refreshingly simple (but you don’t have to tell anyone that little secret if you don’t want to). And even though we didn’t win the tiara (or the DVDs), these cookies were fun to make (my daughter had a blast rolling dough balls in sprinkles). They were delicious and exactly what I had been looking for in a sugar cookie! (They also got me singing lyrics from The Archies on and off for two weeks.) To top it off, we made Bridget’s runners-up list. Pretty cool. And everyone lived happily ever after. 🙂 The end.

—————————————-

Chewy Sugar Cookies

from America’s Test Kitchen

Makes 2 dozen cookies

The final dough will be slightly softer than most cookie dough. For the best results, handle the dough as briefly and gently as possible when shaping the cookies. Overworking the dough will result in flatter cookies.

  • 2¼ cups (11¼ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • 1½ cups (10½ ounces) sugar, plus ⅓ cup for rolling
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, melted and still warm
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. Place 1½ cups sugar and cream cheese in large bowl. Place remaining ⅓ cup sugar in shallow baking dish or pie plate and set aside. Pour warm butter over sugar and cream cheese and whisk to combine (some small lumps of cream cheese will remain but will smooth out later). Whisk in oil until incorporated. Add egg, milk, and vanilla; continue to whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture and mix with rubber spatula until soft homogeneous dough forms.
  3. Divide dough into 24 equal pieces, about 2 tablespoons each (or use #40 portion scoop). Using hands, roll dough into balls. Working in batches, roll balls in reserved sugar to coat and evenly space on prepared baking sheet, 12 dough balls per sheet. Using bottom of drinking glass, flatten dough balls until 2 inches in diameter. Sprinkle tops evenly with 4 teaspoons of sugar remaining in shallow dish (2 teaspoons per tray), discarding any remaining sugar.
  4. Bake, 1 tray at a time, until edges are set and just beginning to brown, 11 to 13 minutes, rotating tray after 7 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheets 5 minutes. Using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.
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