Sunday, January 31, 2010

In search of the perfect sugar cookie

I have a "Go-To" recipe for sugar cookies, and love to make them and decorate them...but lately I've just been thinking, maybe my recipe isn't THE BEST...everybody LOVES them, customers, family, I'm a little bored with them, so I thought I'd experiment with a few different sugar cookie recipes that have been on my "TO DO" list for awhile's been a crazy busy week (life!) but I managed to find time on Friday to bake! Yay!

You may know that I am a busy stay-at-home mom, but may not realize that 5 kids makes for alotta dishes! Most days 2 loads, sometimes as many as 4 loads of dishes in a day...that being said, you can see why I'd appreciate recipes that are "one-bowl..." keeping that in mind, I made three different doughs back to back in the same bowl, deciding it was easier to make the doughs now and chill to be rolled later than to space out the making of doughs (thus creating more dishes). Also, this allowed me to compare them side-by-side and decide the best (rather than trying to go on memory of what one tasted like).

No time to decorate yet, but that's ok because in this case my mission was to taste the cookies, not the icing ;) So, here are my results:

I baked three different recipes but for the sake of time, I only made a half-batch of each, so that I could taste and compare. I did not take pictures of each step of the recipes this time, I found it to be pretty redundant since I'm comparing 3 different recipes here and all have very similar I just documented pictures of the most important part, the end results!

Cookie Recipe #1 - Penny's Cookies (click link to view recipe)
Seriously? Don't waste your time and ingredients on this was a PAIN! It says you don't have to refridgerate the dough, I chose to anyway only because I didn't have time to roll them out immediately. After chilled, the dough was tough and hard to work with, and would break apart when rolled. After cooling to room temperature, the dough was impossible to roll, very I was forced to add flour (which I HATE to do becuase it makes the cookies tougher and drier...) I had to add flour every re-roll, so yeah...does not make for a soft cookie...also this recipe is baked at 325, so I had to bake them longer - about 15 minutes. I rolled the dough to my usual 1/4 inch.
Cookie Recipe #2 - No Fail Sugar Cookie (NFSC)
This cookie was far superior to the Penny's recipe, I followed directions exactly and after chilling the dough was a dream - did not have to add any additional flour, rolled perfectly without sticking. The cookies are slightly crisp, due to the higher baking temp and longer baking time...I had to bake about 14 minutes to ensure they weren't undercooked. I rolled the dough to my usual 1/4 inch. Taste? Decent - like a sugar cookie, but not alot of flavor.
Cookie Recipe #3 - Martha's Sugar Cookies
The above recipes paled in comparison to Martha's. The dough was perfect after chilling, rolled like a dream, no additional flour needed. Hubby loved these because they turned out very crispy, like a shortbread. I also rolled dough to 1/4 inch, baked at 325 - had to bake almost 18 minutes, when I pulled them out of the oven they were slightly crispy on the outside but soft in the center and chewy. Residual baking got me with this one - when I returned to taste them after completely cooled they were very crispy...I am a soft cookie person, so this for me was a turn-off...hubby is a crispy cookie person so he couldn't get enough of them. I've decided they were good enough to be baked again, but next time I'll probably up the baking time to 350 and bake for a shorter period, hoping to achieve ideal texture. These had a higher ratio of sugar to the other ingredients than the NFSC, which gave them more flavor and definitely more taste appeal.

Did I find the Best sugar cookie today? No...but that's ok - the purpose of this blog is to find and try new recipes in search of the perfect. Today I found 3 recipes that definitely were NOT the perfect sugar cookie, so in a way I did eliminate some of the competition ;)

Stay tuned for future posts on the perfect sugar cookie - I plan to try three more recipes this coming week, as well as a new icing recipe soon.

Note: If you try any of these recipes, I recommend rolling between sheets of parchment, to cut down on flour usage...(as mentioned above, you'll still have to add additional flour if using the Penny's recipe). Also bake your cookies on parchment-lined cookie sheets to cut down on dishes!

Happy Baking!!



  1. Julie - This blog looks great! Your photos are so clear and your directions easy. Best of luck to you and this site. Paula's cookies look so good, I think I will try them today! - Stacie