This is one of two sugar cookie recipes that I have, the first is my granny’s & this is an off shoot of that. As kids, we only ever baked my granny’s sugar cookies for all occasions but as I grew up, I found the cookies a little bland, hard & chewy – sorry granny! I don’t complain much about my granny’s recipes! Anyway, over the years, I’ve dabbled aplenty: increased the butter, lowered the butter, taken out an egg, lowered the sugar, increased the sugar, in and out of the fridge, played with the oven time – you get the idea!
Taste & texture wise, these sugar cookies are perhaps my favourite, but they are a labour of love, time consuming, so I don’t make them very often at all. Quite possibly just 2-3 times a year but definitely at Christmas and Easter. The time factor comes as a result of the dough being quite soft and delicate to handle, so to get around that, it’s got to be refrigerated at every step (that’s 3 times!). Like I said, time consuming.
We also bake it at a higher temperature than cookies usually require – 180˚C, to arrest the spread. I found that no amount of chilling stopped the slight spread of the cookies, the only way I managed to solve that problem was by increasing the temperature.
Standard flavouring for this would be vanilla but you can use anything you like – rose, mixed spice, ginger, lemon, etc. At Christmastime, one of my favourite flavouring is Aroma Panettone.
- 350g plain flour
- 200g butter
- 180g caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla paste/extract or flavouring of your choice
- Cream butter and sugar in your table top mixer or with a hand held beater until pale and creamy.
- Add egg and continue to beat until it's mixed well.
- Add the flavouring, beat in.
- Add the flour and beat until you get a dough. Use your hands at this stage if you have to but DO NOT KNEAD, you'll end up with rubbery cookies.
- Divide the dough into 2 and flatten into discs, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Line your work surface with baking paper and get one one of the dough portions out. Place the same cling film on the dough and roll it out to a thickness of about 4-5mm. The cling film with stop the dough from sticking to your rolling pin (my granny's trick).
- Slide the baking paper with the dough onto a baking sheet and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to harden. This will allow you to cut and move the shapes easily.
- Cut the shapes out and place on baking sheet, leaving about an inch of space all around.
- Back in the fridge for 30 minutes (I know!). Turn the oven on to 180˚C/Fan 160˚C.
- After 30 minutes, bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes. Definitely check at 10!
- Cool completely before icing.
Click here for How To Decorate Cookies and the Icing recipe.