Tom’s Favorite Sugar Cookies
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “That’s just how the cookie crumbles” — often declared with a sad shake of the head. I’m equally sure that you’ve never really considered just how a cookie crumbles, but I can guarantee that — subconsciously — you have been significantly impacted by the crumble of a cookie at some point in your life. If not, the crumble of these sugar cookies are sure to bring you to your knees!
These cookies have a pillowy-soft, melt-in-your-mouth, simultaneously-crumbly-yet-tender structure that no combination of words (hyphenated or otherwise) can adequately capture. You’ll just have to make them for yourself.
I also call these “Kim Kardashian Kookies.” Why? When baked properly, they, too, have a bottom worth celebrating.
The closest analogue of this cookie’s texture that I can think of is those Walmart bakery sugar cookies — you know the ones: ~3″ diameter, inch of solid Crisco frosting (usually pink…unless it’s St. Patty’s Day), sprinkles, taste as artificial as a dog wearing pants…you know the cookies. As a misguided youth, I loved them. Now, as a slightly less-misguided young-adult, I love these instead. Call it a transfer of confections.
Add first few ingredients IN THIS ORDER so that you don’t end up with a
face-full of powdered sugar when you turn on your mixer.
These delicately sweet, airy baked goods are my boyfriend’s absolute favorites, and yes, I make a lot of cookies, so that accolade is actually worth something — also, if you knew Tom (man of few words and fewer compliments — think Mr. Darcy, but even more reserved), the title of “Carolyn’s Best Cookie”would be even more meaningful to you.
Using room temperature ingredients is of the UTMOST importance with these cookies. If you use cold butter and egg, you’ll end up with insufficiently-incorporated ingredients, and don’t nobody want no butter lumps in the batter! Sorry, my grammar goes out the window when I think about mis-tempered ingredients…it’s hereditary. The ingredients are very simple and in perfect proportion, so accurate measurement and proper mixing are key to success.
These cookies take a bit of TLC to get that perfect sugary crunch on the tippy top layer, which delights mouths of all ages. As pictured above, these are the steps to perfectly-shaped/-topped sugar cookies:
Use the bottom of a clean drinking glass to gently press down on one dough ball — don’t flatten all the way yet — you just need to get the bottom of the glass a bit greasy (you only have to do this “pre-flattening” for the first dough ball).
Dip the now-greased glass bottom in a shallow bowl of granulated sugar with a pinch of salt so that the granules stick to the glass.
Use sugared and salted glass bottom to flatten dough ball to ~1/4″ thick, using even pressure — you WANT the cracks to form on the sides as you flatten (=more surface area for light-crisping in the oven).
Repeat with remaining dough balls, re-dipping in sugar/salt mixture between cookies.
Also, I like sprinkles. So, if you too are a human, top the flattened dough balls with a light sprinkling of…sprinkles…prior to baking.
The cookies will stay pale, even when fully baked (don’t let them get brown at the edges!), so watch for the “puff-up” stage to know when to take them out of the oven (~10-11 minutes for golf-ball-sized dough balls). The puff will diminish as the cookies cool on the sheet, and you will be left with picture-perfect cookies every time.
Tom’s Favorite Sugar Cookies
1 stick butter, cubed and at room temp
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 egg, room temp
1 teaspoon almond extract (or vanilla extract, if you don’t like the heavenly flavor and aroma of almond extract…not to peer-pressure you or anything)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar + 1/8 teaspoon salt
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, place butter, powdered sugar, granulated sugar, and oil (in that order!), and beat until very pale and creamy. Beat in egg and extract. In a large measuring cup or small mixing bowl, use a fork to combine and aerate flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. With mixer on low, gradually add dry ingredients to wet. Cover mixing bowl, and chill 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Roll golf ball-sized dough balls (or smaller, if you like a more modest cookie), and space ~1 1/2″ apart. Gently press down one dough ball with the bottom of a drinking glass to get some of the oil on the bottom of the glass. Then, dip the glass in a shallow bowl containing the 1/3 cup granulated sugar + 1/8 teaspoon salt (the sugar/salt should now stick to the bottom of the glass). Use the sugared/salted glass bottom to flatten each dough ball to ~1/4″ thick, re-dipping in the sugar/salt mixture between each cookie. Sprinkle flattened cookies with nonpareils, if desired. Bake 10 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through bake time. Let sit on baking sheet 2-3 minutes to deflate, then remove cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Store cooled cookies, in a tightly-sealed container, at room temperature, for up to 5 days.