Thursday, January 1, 2015

Family Recipe: White Sugar Cookies

I had the pleasure of attending the annual Slow Food Edmonton sugar cookie bake on Candy Cane Lane this holiday season. From our host Cynthia, I learned two tricks for baking sugar cookies: roll them out with extra icing sugar (instead of flour) on the countertop to keep the dough from getting too dry, and use a sil-pat sheet to keep them from sticking to the cookie sheet. Seriously, the sil-pat worked like magic, but parchment paper works almost as well.

Cynthia has a snail-shaped cookie cutter. THE CUTEST.
This is the recipe I made in advance to bring with me: the classic "white sugar cookie" recipe that came to me from my husband's grandmother, Delma (nee LeBlanc) Vienneau, via his aunt Lorraine (Vienneau) Miller. We're not sure how old it is. Aunt Lorraine also had adapted the recipe, so I'll append her version to this post. This is the doubled original recipe.

4 cups sifted wheat flour (I use half unbleached all-purpose, and half organic "soft white" flour from local growers Gold Forest Grains)
2 cups white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup butter

Preheat over to 350F / 180C.

Sift then measure flour. Add baking powder, cream of tartar, and salt to flour.

In another bowl: cream the butter until soft and smooth. Add while mixing: sugar, vanilla, eggs, then flour mixture (a bit at a time).

(The dough can be chilled or frozen - or used right away.)

Roll on a lightly floured board to about a quarter-inch thick and cut into desired shapes. Bake for 10 or 12 minutes. You may sprinkle with sugar before baking if desired - or decorate with icing once cooled.

Aunt Lorraine's adapted sugar cookie recipe:

3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda (not baking powder!)
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup shortening (instead of butter or margarine)
1/4 cup milk

Combine dry ingredients (except sugar).
Cream shortening until soft. Add while mixing: sugar, eggs, vanilla.
Add 1/4 of flour mix, mix well, then add 1/2 of milk and mix well.
Add 1/2 of remaining flour, mix well, add rest of milk, mix, then add rest of flour and mix until all traces of flour disappear.
If dough is too soft to handle, add extra flour.
Roll to about 2 cm thick, cut and bake 10-12 minutes at 350F / 180C.

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