Soft Sugar Cookies
Just as one pair of shoes is not enough, one sugar cookie recipe is not enough. I firmly believe that one must have a sugar cookie for every occasion/mood in one’s cookie arsenal. You must have a trusty roll-out recipe for holidays, a not-too-sweet recipe (like this one) for topping with frosting, and one for eating au naturale (just to clarify, I mean the cookies are au naturale…what you wear – or don’t wear – to eat them is your business).
No recipe ever seems to call for the entire 16-ounce container of sour cream, unless, of course, you want to be eating chicken paprikash for a straight month. I found the base recipe for this cookie dough while Googling a recipe to consume a half-cup of sour cream that I had leftover from another dish. Cassie’s offering of Lofthouse Sugar Cookies fit the bill perfectly!
These subtly-sweet, cakey cookies are the PERFECT vehicle for frosting, because eating frosting straight from the tub is just plain sad (Peanut butter straight from the tub, however, is a different story). Since it was a humid 94 degrees today, I figured no butter-based frosting would survive these conditions, and what frosting is worth making if it’s not butter-based?! So, as you’ll see in my pictures, I didn’t actually frost this batch.
I DID, however, adulterate these cookies in another way…SPRINKLES! I mixed rainbow jimmies into the dough, and gave them an extra hint of sweetness by adding a thin crusting of sugar on top (using the same prep method as used for my go-to sugar cookies). The result? The perfect “Eat-me-I’m-fun,” “Sandwich-a-scoop-of-ice-cream-between-me-and-a-friend” cookie. Who can say no to a cookie that says all that?!
Just be careful not to overbake these cookies! The perfectly-baked sugar cookie is very similar to a high-skin-cancer-risk individual — incredibly pale and freckled with tiny cracks on the surface. But please, resist the urge to protect your cookies with a frosting made from sunscreen…these cookies are at no risk of sunburn when safely inside your tummy.
Soft Sugar Cookies
1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temp
1/2 cup sour cream, room temp
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup rainbow jimmies (optional)
Topping: 2 tablespoons granulated sugar + pinch salt
To get butter, sour cream, and egg to room temperature, place on kitchen counter for 1 hour prior to preparing dough — this step ensures perfect homogenization (even without a stand mixer)!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees farenheit.
Using a stand or hand mixer, cream together butter, sour cream, and sugar, in a medium-sized mixing bowl, ~2-3 minutes on medium speed (be sure to switch arms if using a hand mixer to guarantee an even workout). Beat in egg, vanilla, and almond extracts, ~2 minutes.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, in a separate bowl. Turn off mixer, and sift half of the dry ingredients into the wet. Mix on low speed until JUST combined. Sift in remaining half of the dry ingredients, and, again, mix on low until JUST combined. Use a rubber spatula to fold in jimmies, if using.
On a small plate, combine the sugar and salt for the topping. Use slightly damp hands to roll ~tablespoonfuls of dough into balls. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Place eight dough balls per sheet, spaced ~2″ apart, and use a flat-bottomed drinking glass, dipped in the sugar/salt mixture to flatten each cookie. Be sure to re-dip the glass in the topping mixture between each cookie.
Bake 8-9 minutes per sheet, rotating halfway through baking (rotating the sheets, that is, not yourself). Cookies should be dome-shaped but not yet starting to brown. Use a spatula to transfer the hot cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
**If you plan to skip the sprinkles and frost these cookies instead (a life-choice that I fully support), be sure that cookies are COMPLETELY cooled before slathering on your favorite frosting.