Christmas Sugar Cookies

26 Dec

This was my first shot at christmas cookies.  My dear friend Corcs inspired me with the possibilities.  I knew I didn’t want something crunchy and tasteless with hard frosting. So I decided to go with chewy sugar cookies from America’s Test Kitchen.  Now, the recipe doesn’t sound all that appealing- it has cream cheese and veg oil in it.  But I knew as well as to trust the test kitchen.  These are not just for christmas.  I added red decorative sugar to be festive- but you can definitely just make them for everyday. Bonus, this recipe doesn’t use any sort of mixer.  I only did a couple stars- dough not quite ideal for cookie cutters.

2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 cups sugar , plus 1/3 cup for rolling (can add decorating sprinkles here)
2 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter , melted and still warm
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat to 350.  Set oven rack to middle. Line backing sheets w. parchment paper.
Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in medium bowl.  Set aside.
Put the 1-1/2 cup sugar and cream cheese in large bowl.  Put remaining 1/3 sugar (and decorative sprinkles if using) in shallow dish.  Pour warm butter over sugar and cream cheese and whisk to combine (there will be some small lumps but will smooth 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 dough forms.
Scoop out cookies- about 2 tablespoons each (maybe a little less).  Using hands, roll dough into balls (maybe 1.5 inch diam?).  Working in batches, roll balls in reserved sugar to coat and evenly space on prepared baking sheet, 12 dough balls per sheet (these spread a lot). Using bottom of drinking glass, flatten dough balls until 2 inches in diameter (then they come out perfect circles). Sprinkle tops evenly with 4 teaspoons of sugar remaining in shallow dish (2 teaspoons per tray), discarding any remaining sugar.
Bake, 1 tray at a time (do this), until edges are set and just beginning to brown, 11 to 13 minutes (11 was fine, they might not look quite done, but they are), 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.

They say it makes 2 dozen cookies, but I got closer to 3.


3 Responses to “Christmas Sugar Cookies”

  1. Anonymous December 26, 2010 at 10:06 pm #

    Anonymous is wondering why these weren’t brought to the Christmas party he and Ms. Backo attended…

    • tessa December 26, 2010 at 10:12 pm #

      For the record, cookies were for the party that Anonymous bailed on…

      • Anonymous December 30, 2010 at 6:11 pm #

        Ah, the night Anonymous was trying to hook up with Ms. No-Name. Trying, and failing. Once again I, Anonymous, retreat to the shadows.

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