Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Small-Batch Frosted Sugar Cookies

I have a weakness for grocery store bakery frosted sugar cookies.  Those fat soft cookies with thick frosting and sprinkles on top?  I'm forever in search of a recipe for homemade sugar cookies that come out like those, and I have yet to find one.  This recipe is not the long-awaited successful completion to that search, but it is a perfectly good recipe, if I do say so myself, so I figure I might as well share it for those who are looking for a simple recipe for whipping up a few thin sugar cookies quickly.

  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp almond extract
  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 3/4 tsp buttermilk, sour cream, or plain yogurt
  • 1/2 C + 1 rounded Tbsp flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda 
1.  Preheat oven to 375°F.  Beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Stir in flavourings, mayonnaise, and buttermilk; mix.  Stir in flour and baking soda.
2.  Shape dough into teaspoon-sized balls, drop on parchment-lined baking sheet, 2 inches apart.  Flatten slightly with the bottom of a glass that's been dipped in granulated sugar (see notes).
3.  Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until just set.  Do not overbake.  Allow to cool for 1 minute on baking sheet, remove to cooling rack to finish cooling.  Frost when completely cooled.

Yield: 8-10 cookies

Robyn's notes: to flatten the cookies, I used the underside of a 1/4 C measure.  I gently pressed it briefly against one of the dough balls first, then dipped it in granulated sugar, to get the sugar to stick to the measuring cup for flattening all the dough balls.  Another option is to roll the dough balls in sugar and then flatten them, but I didn't want that much sugar on the outside of the cookies.  It would be best to mix the dough in an electric mixer, but since my mixer is here with us and the mixer's beaters are apparently still in storage, that wasn't an option.  I therefore mixed the dough with a fork as fast as my arm would move, to get air into it.

  • 1 C confectioner's sugar
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • approximately 1 Tbsp + 1-1/2 tsp milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • food coloring if desired
1.  In a medium bowl, cream together the confectioners' sugar and butter. Gradually mix in the milk and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth and stiff, about 5 minutes. Color with food coloring if desired.

Robyn's notes: again, I had to do this by hand, and frosting is never as good when mixed by hand because it's very difficult to get the air in.  It's also exceedingly difficult to cream that much powdered sugar with that little butter by hand.  Add the milk slowly, until you've achieved the desired consistency.  The entire amount may not be needed, and since this makes a very sweet frosting, if you add too much milk it's hard to firm it back up.  Replacing the butter with shortening is an option and might actually be better, but I didn't have any shortening in the house.  

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Peanut Butter Bread Mini Loaf

This is a very simple recipe that produces a bread that's good for snacks or pbj sandwiches.  I've eaten it toasted or not, spread with jelly or honey.  While it's baking the whole house gets a nice smell of peanut butter, but the flavour of the finished loaf is pretty subtle.
  • 1 C flour
  • 2 rounded Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp beaten egg
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 1/4 C + 2 Tbsp peanut butter
1.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  In medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add egg, milk and peanut butter; stir just until combined. Pour into greased mini loaf pan (5 1/2 by 3 inches).
2.  Bake for 40-50 minutes, until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.  Allow to cool 10 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.  

Robyn's notes: I own steel mini loaf pans, but for households that don't, disposable ones can generally be found in the kitchen supplies aisle of grocery stores (I always keep a few of those on hand for cooking gluten-free breads, so there's no danger of cross-contamination from my regular pans).  As I've said before, I suspect that my oven thermostat is off, so while this took 40 minutes to bake for me, it may take longer for more accurate ovens.  This makes a fairly dense bread, but I still think it has good texture.  It would get a higher star rating if there was more peanut butter flavour, it's just a bit too mild for my taste and adding much more peanut butter would keep it from baking properly.  Chunky peanut butter is an option for those who can have it, I'm not supposed to.