12 Days of Cookies – The Great Sugar Cookie Debate

Sugar cookies are the classic holiday cookie. Everyone seems to have a great sugar cookie recipe. I personally only have the patience for sugar cookies at the holidays. Even though I have about 40 cookie cutters, they barely ever get used. Occasionally I’ll use them for things other than cookies (like cake or bars).

I think it’s because I don’t have a great sugar cookie recipe. Don’t get me wrong I love the recipe that came from my Aunt. The problem is that it poofs so sometimes the cookies lose their shape. They don’t have crisp edges like some sugar cookies. So I decided to test three sugar cookie recipes to come up with a favorite.

The first recipe will be my Aunt’s recipe that I grew up eating. I’ll use it as a baseline to compare the other recipes to. Second, I’ll be trying a Dorie Greenspan recipe. Funny thing is that both Cookie Carnival AND Tuesdays with Dorie are doing Dorie’s sugar cookies this month! The last recipe comes from Ashlee’s blog (and Katie uses this recipe too). Her cookies always look perfect.

I decided that we needed to come up with a way to use up all of these cookies. Our friends offered to host a cookie decorating party. I brought the naked cookies and all my decorating supplies and they provided snacks and beverages.

These are pictures of some of the cookies we brought home with us. It was a lot of fun to decorate cookies with a group of friends.

One cookie cutter that I have never really liked is the Santa cookie cutter. My mom had one growing up and the only way it looks like a Santa is if you decorate it properly. I don’t think I’ll use the cookie cutter anymore. We did have fun trying to decorate the shape into things other than Santa. Hubby made a convincing bird and another friend made a cute penguin mother and baby. Here’s a pic of my Santa and hubby’s bird.

I was trying to be organized while I was baking, so I went ahead and measured everything out at the beginning including labeling each measured ingredient with post it notes. It turned out to be very useful when I started mixing the dough.

So now on to the verdict. Is it possible that one of these new recipes is going to replace my go to sugar cookie recipe? The recipe I grew up loving turned out soft and a little puffy as expected. It’s also somewhat difficult to work with because you have to work quite a bit of flour into the dough prior to rolling it out. Dorie’s recipe held it’s shape well and the batch was small, which was refreshing. It was also very easy to roll out and work with. Ashlee’s recipe had a nice hint of lemon. I enjoyed the lemon when they weren’t frosted but I thought it was a big overpowering when they were frosted. These also help their shape quite well and again were easy to work with. So I would definitely make any of these recipes again. I guess it would depend what I was looking for.

For super soft roll out cookies – I’d make my aunt’s recipe.
For cookies that hold their shape really well – I’d make Ashlee’s recipe.
For a simpler sugar cookie that yields a smaller batch – I’d make Dorie’s recipe.

And now on to the recipes.

Sugar Cookies – from my Aunt Deanne – I got 5.5 dozen cookies
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs beaten
1 cup lard
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
4 cups flour
sour milk (1 cup milk mixed with 1 tsp. vinegar and 1 tsp. baking soda.)

In a large bowl, mix sugar with eggs. Add lard, baking powder,
vanilla, milk, and flour. Mix each ingredient one at a time to the
other. Roll out and use cookie cutters. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.
Watch closely, top does not brown only bottom.

Sugar Cookies – from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from my Home to Yours – to see the entire recipe, check out the TWD member who chose it, Ulrike of Küchenlatein – I got 2.5 dozen cookies

As you can see the Dorie recipe made a very small amount of dough. This is nice though because sometimes making sugar cookies is overwhelming. Also, I didn’t rechill my dough between rolling it out. I just rerolled and went with it.

Sugar Cookies – from Katie, originally from Ashlee - I got 5.5 dozen cookies
1 1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. powdered sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 Tbsp lemon zest
5 c. flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Powdered sugar, for rolling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cream butter and sugars in a mixer for 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly. Add vanilla, almond, and lemon zest.

Sift in flour, baking powder, and salt a little at a time. Do not over mix, this process should take about one minute.

Chill dough for up to a week in the fridge, or roll out and cut right away. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and bake cookies for 7-8 minutes. Wait until cookies are cooled before icing.

Frosting
1 stick of butter, softened
1/4 cup Crisco
6 cups powdered sugar
Water or Milk to reach desired consistency
Food coloring

Beat butter and Crisco until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar slowly. Add water/milk (I used whipping cream) until desired consistency is reached.

My 12 Days of Cookies:Day 1: Lumberjacks
Day 2: Peppermint Sandies

I’m submitting this to Food Bloggas Eat Christmas Cookies blogging event. Check this link to participate in the event. Or check here to see the roundup (gets updated as entries come in).

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7 Responses to “12 Days of Cookies – The Great Sugar Cookie Debate”

  1. #
    1
    Joelen — December 9, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    Adorable cookies!

  2. #
    2
    Katie — December 10, 2008 at 1:36 am

    I LOVE this! Comparison posts are my favorite and this is perfect timing with Christmas!!

  3. #
    3
    Jen — December 10, 2008 at 1:56 am

    Thanks. I really enjoyed doing the comparison!

  4. #
    4
    CB — December 10, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    Fun post! I loved Dorie’s recipe but I’ll have to try the other 2. Yum!
    /Clara

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    5
    Susan from Food Blogga — December 12, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    That’s funny. We only ever made sugar cookies at Xmas time too. Those poor little Easter Bunnies and Halloween pumpkin cut-out just collected dust in the cupboard. Yours look great; and I’m with your aunt. I like them big and soft. :)

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    6
    Ashlee Wetherington — December 18, 2008 at 4:05 am

    W-O-W! My cookies compared to Dorie’s?! I’m super floored :) Thanks for including mine in your comparison!

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    7
    AmyRuth — January 4, 2009 at 1:00 am

    Hey I love that you compared recipes. I made a gazillion wedding cake cookies and used Nancy Baggett’s sugar cookie recipe which worked really well for cut out cookies and they taste good. Very buttery. I was surprised. What a fun party idea.
    AmyRuth

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