I need help finding the best recipe for soft, fluffy sugar cookies that can still maintain their cut shape after baking without spreading too much so they can be decorated with buttercream. I'm a cake designer but I've been approached by several people about making cookies since our local small-town bakery just closed. I've tried several recipes but I'm not really happy with any of them. My order goes out this week and I'd like to avoid further recipe testing
this is the recipe I use - they turn out perfect every time and almost always keep their shape
Mix together until fluffy:
1 lb butter softened
3 cups sugar
Add one at a time:
1 tablespoon vanilla (I use vanilla bean paste) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001EQ5FO0/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_2/192-4872035-7740527?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_r=0W5T0B1YSNZ06DSZYR1B&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_i=B002HQE11
Mix in 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
7 cups of flour
Once thoroughly mixed - cover and put in fridge for several hours. I usually let it sit overnight.
Roll out dough - cut shapes - place on parchment covered baking sheets. Let dough sit on baking sheet in the fridge for 10 min prior to baking (this is a critical step, don't skip it or they cookies won't retain their shape)
Bake at 400° for 8-12 min depending on size of cookie.
I normally decrease the milk to 1/2 cup or so in this recipe and add lemon zest or other flavoring rather than nutmeg but these plump up nicely and don't spread much (with the reduced milk)
MrsNisch that is VERY similar to the recipe I use, yet it spreads all the time! I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong .. the dough is always chilled for hours before usage and back in the fridge before baking. I do bake at 350 (what my recipe calls for) Do you think temp has something to do with the spreading?
I have baked the recipe below and it's true, they do not spread at all.
From the Wilton forum:
MELISSA'S SUGAR COOKIES
2 sticks of Land of Lakes sweet cream salted butter
1 large egg
1 cup of sugar
vanilla-I don't measure-Just splash it in
Mix until creamy
2 3/4 to 3 cups of plain flour
Bake at 400 for 7 to 8 minutes
The dough should not be crumbly -- No need to chill this dough, you can use it from the bowl to rolling out.
I use about 1/3 of the dough at a time to roll -- I don't have luck keeping consistancy with thickness with larger portions -- I try to use all the dough I can, to prevent getting additional flour by using over and over.
Some people find it not sweet enough - That's another benefit for me -- they are more "cakie" -- more like a shortbread type -- I find with the icing, they are so tasty and again "real" butter is a huge factor in taste--I only use Land of Lakes.
I don't like crunchy cookies -- I don't like thin cookies -- I like thick and soft cookies!
Why in the world do you bake at 400? I dont bake much of anything that hot" -- I don't have an explanition, except for That's what I've always bake them at and for that amount of time.
I roll cookies thick -- a good 1/4" + and right on the formica
another note -- use a cookie sheet with out sides -- a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with sides hold the heat -- the cookies next to them will brown faster
I perfer my cookies to be "just barely" done -- they are just set and barely if at all brown --- I don't like browned bottoms for taste or looks -- or hard cookies.
Let them cool competely before decorationg.
I freeze them undecorated for up to 2 months in vacummed sealed containers or tightly sealed -- they freeze very well.
Unfrozen and Packaged in cellophane, they will keep up to 3 weeks -- I've pushed it with 4 -- but definitely 3.
I have added lemon flavoring or almond flavoring to these and they were fabulous!!! The possibilities are endless! This dough DOES NOT SPREAD!!!! They don't puff up either. How they are placed on the cookie sheet is exactly how they come back off the cookie sheet. I love this recipe for cookie cutters with detail.....IE: Easter cutters or Christmas cutters. I roll this out on my countertop with a piece of wax paper on the top. I use rolling pin rings so I get an even thickness of cookies so they all bake the same.
I use this recipe. It has a great flavour, and doesn't spread a ton. I will roll and cut and then refrigerate the cut cookies for at least an hour, and often overnight. I will often roll and cut the entire recipe one night and then do the baking the next night, and decorating the night after that.
Recently I found that baking on the convection at 375 seemed to lessen any spread, at least to me. But definitely chill the cut out cookies before baking. I also roll about 1/4" thick.