I love variety! Sweet treats available in a variety are even better when the recipe is one basic recipe made into five distinctly different cookies.
Today I will be sharing with you one basic sugar cookie recipe that makes such delicious cookies that I couldnt stop just there. I decided that if my newly-developed recipe made such great sugar cookies, lets turn it into other cookies as well: Browned Butter-Pecan Cookies, Snickerdoodles, Candy Bar Cookies and M&M Cookies.
The flavor of my Soft & Chewy Sugar Cookies is intensified with browned butter and a healthy dose of pure vanilla extract. The cookies are just slightly crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside.
You know the way some cookies are soft when just baked, but set up firm, then a day later become hard and brittle? Not these cookies. They STAY soft and chewy.
This cookie dough is quite unconventional in the fact that it uses browned butter along with canola oil and a small amount of cream cheese. The cream cheese and cream of tartar in the recipe make for just a slight twang in the flavor and help insure a soft, chewy interior.
The dough comes together quickly without over-beating, which tends to make baked goods tough, and makes a very soft dough -- one that is easily shaped and rolled in sugar before being baked.
Of great importance when baking, make certain the oven temperature is correct at the preheated setting.
Approximately 75 percent of all home ovens are incorrect! Incorrect temperature settings can really screw up your baking attempts.
Simply purchase an oven thermometer ($5-$10) and set it on a cookie sheet in the center of your preheated oven. Check the temperature and make any adjustments necessary according to the recommended temperature stated in your recipe.
If the temperature is seriously off, have an authorized repairman for your particular brand of appliance come out to your home and make the correction for you.
Always bake cookies on cool baking sheets. Have several on hand to use or place warm cookie sheets in the refrigerator to cool off between batches. Bake in the center of the oven, one tray at a time, for best and most even results. Use baking parchment or Silpat non-stick baking pan liners for quick release and no stuck-on cookies.
If youre using really dark cookie sheets with a non-stick coating, remember to lower your oven temperature by 25 degrees and check for doneness at the least recommended baking time.
The end result is super-size cookies, soft and chewy, with enough variety to satisfy even the most demanding Cookie Monster in your house. Happy baking!
Want to learn more about cooking? Come and join me and a host of other chef instructors by taking cooking classes at Macons new kitchen store, Robinson Home, in historic downtown Macon (470 First St.).
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SOFT & CHEWY SUGAR COOKIES
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup canola oil
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 2/3 cups sugar
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
Additional sugar to roll cookies in
Makes 32 large cookies.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two cookies sheets, or line with baking parchment or use Silpat non-stick baking pan liners.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Continue to cook, stirring constantly until the butter turns golden brown and nutty smelling. Immediately transfer browned butter to a large mixing bowl. Add canola oil and cream cheese to the butter. Blend on low speed until smooth.
Stir in the milk, egg and egg yolk, and vanilla extract. Add the sugar and blend well. Sift together the dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to the dough in two additions, blending briefly, but thoroughly. Do NOT overmix.
Shape dough into 3 tablespoon-size mounds. Gently roll dough mounds in sugar and place on prepared cookie sheets, leaving 2-inches of space between each cookie. (Do NOT overcrowd.) Flatten cookies slightly to 1/2inch thick. Place in the center of the oven, baking one sheet at a time, for 11-12 minutes, until slightly golden around the edges and still pale and soft in the center.
Place cookie sheet on cooling rack and leave cookies on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Repeat with other cookies. Once cooled thoroughly, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
MAPLE WALNUT SUGAR COOKIE VARIATION
Replace the vanilla extract with maple flavoring. Add 1 cup toasted, cooled, coarsely chopped walnuts to the cookie dough. Proceed as directed in the recipe. Makes about 3 dozen large cookies.
SNICKERDOODLE COOKIE VARIATION
Prepare cookie dough as directed in the recipe. Roll the cookie dough in a combination of 1 cup sugar plus 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon. Sprinkle any remaining cinnamon sugar on tops of slightly flattened mounds of cookie dough (up to 1/2 teaspoon on each cookie). Proceed as directed in the recipe. Makes 32 large cookies.
CANDY BAR COOKIE VARIATION
Coarsely chop 6-8 ounces of Milky Way or Snickers bars. Stir into the prepared cookie dough before shaping into balls and rolling in sugar. Once cookies have been baked and cooled to room temperature, drizzle tops with 4 ounces of melted chocolate. Makes 3 dozen large cookies.
M&M SUGAR COOKIE VARIATION
Add 6-8 ounces M&M candies to the prepared cookie dough. Proceed as directed in the recipe. Makes 3 dozen large cookies.