On this National Sugar Cookie Day, and to satisfy your sweet tooth, popular with young kids, and old kids, this sugar cookie recipe from the author of “89 Heirloom Recipes from New York’s Milk & Cookies Bakery, is the best ever.
It's pretty easy to see how Sugar cookies came to get their own special day. Almost everyone has had them. Many people are hooked on them. Put out a plate of sugar cookies, and you can be certain they won't be there for long. We haven't seen any surveys, but it's a sure bet that sugar cookies are right up there with chocolate chip cookies as America's favorite cookie.
Spend a portion of the day baking sugar cookies. They are very easy to make. If you have kids, make today a real family holiday, and let them help with the baking. Homemade cookies taste best when you helped to bake them. Once you've baked the cookies, hurry and pop them into your mouth while they are still warm. What’s better than Milk and Cookies?
SUGAR COOKIE BASE DOUGH by Tina Casaceli author of 89 Heirloom Recipes from New York’s Milk and Cookies Bakery (page 70-71) Chronicle Books San Francisco
PREPARATION: 1½ hours – makes about 2 dozen cookies
3 cups (12 ounces) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1½ cups (12 ounces) salted butter, at room temperature
1¼ cups (8¾ ounces) super fine sugar
2 large eggs yolks, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk or buttermilk (optional)
½ cup (3½ ounces) granulated sugar, for decorating
In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Set aside.
Put the butter in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Begin beating on low speed. Increase the speed to medium and meat for about 3 minutes, or until very light and smooth.
Add the superfine sugar, ¼ cup at a time. When all the sugar has been added, beat for 2 minutes.
Add the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition. Add the vanilla and continue to beat for 1 minute.
With the motor running, add half the flour mixture, followed by the milk. When blended, add the remaining flour and beat to just barely blend. While the dough is still streaky, remove the bowl from the mixer and scrap the paddle clean.
Lightly flour a clean, flat work surface.
Scrape the dough onto the floured surface. Lightly flour your hands and finish mixing the dough by using a gentle kneading motion, working until the dough is just blended. Do not overwork the dough, you want to be certain that all of the ingredients re just blended together.
From the dough into a disk and cover tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for a least 1 hour (or up to 3 days), or until firm.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350˚F.
Line two baking sheets with nonstick silicone baking mats or parchment paper. (Alternative, use lightly buttered cookie sheets.) Set aside.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and unwrap.
Place the granulated sugar on a large flat plate.
Using a tablespoon or small ice-cream scoop, make mounds of dough. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough into balls about 1½ inches in diameter. Using your palm, gently flatten each ball to make a puck-like shape about 2 inches apart, on the prepared baking sheets.
When all of the cookies are formed, place in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until just barely brown around the edges.
Store, airtight, at room temperature for up to a week.
NOTE: Dough can be stored, airtight, in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month.