Saturday, March 10, 2012
Back with a bang - Almond Sugar Sheet Cookies
Last night I decided that I owed you guys something, and it better be good to make up for lost times. And I promise, this is it! I LOVE sugar cookies. I mean, LOVE them. I would take them over cake or ice cream any day. Not just any cookie and not just any sugar cookie, I love sugar cookies with icing and sprinkles. And, not just any sprinkles, I prefer sugar sprinkles so that I get a great crunch when I eat them that blends beautifully with a buttery cookie and smooth buttercream. I was going over a few recipes last night and came across one that peaked my interest. I am always on edge when I see things described as "the best". I am also very hesitant to put that description on things because not all of our taste buds are the same. So, I took their recipe and made a few changes of my own and I really do think these are some of the best sugar cookies I have ever had. My oldest muffin can not keep his eyeballs off of the pan and keeps sneaking in to take tiny fairy bites. If you like good almond kissed buttery, non dried out, moist sugar cookies then these are perfect. This dough could be chilled and rolled out and cut into cute shapes but I am WAY TOO LAZY for rolled out cookies. The idea of standing and icing one cookie at a time makes my head hurt. I can ice cupcakes all day long but when it comes to cookies I am a lazy bum. If you like icing on your cookies then this is the perfect creamy texture for your sugar cookie. It doesn't dry out and flake to pieces when you bite it and you don't have to pipe it into pretty little designs, you can just dump it and smooth it however you like because you must top your cookies with sprinkles once they have been iced. Now, your flavor of sprinkle is your choice and remember that all sprinkles are not created equally. I like sugar crystals as opposed to sanding sugar so that there is a larger grain and a larger crunch. You may prefer cute sprinkles like mini hearts or circles but those tend to have a mushy texture when placed on icing. But, your sprinkles are up to you. These are a great go-to treat when you need to serve a crowd because you can cut the cookies into whatever size you want. We tend to cut them into larger squares but you can cut them however large or small you like (I will not tell you the size we cut them into because you might think bad thoughts about me!)
So folks, get to cookin' so that you can forgive me fast!
Almond Sugar Sheet Cake Cookies
2 sticks unsalted butter at room temp (do I need to get into the whole room temp thing again?)
1 cup sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp almond extract (if there is an allergy, use vanilla)
3 cups flour (when measuring, gently fill the cup then use something flat like a knife to level it off. Never jam pack a flour cup or you will way OVER measure and that is bad!)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
In a large bowl, combine the flour, soda and salt. Use a whisk and whisk it all together to make sure it is all combined (this is my lazy girl version of sifting!)
In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat your sugar and butter on medium heat until it becomes light and fluffy, or "creamed", typically after 4-5 minutes. Be sure to scrape the bowl so that all of the butter gets an equal beating. Turn your mixer to a lower speed and add the egg, yolk and extract and beat until thoroughly combined. Using a measuring spoon, gently measure in a little of the flour mixture at a time with the mixer on low speed until combined. It has a very crumbly texture so I ended up removing the whisk attachment and finished mixing it with my hands to get is all combined.
Spray a large silver cookie sheet (I think it is a 13x17) with Pam or Baker's Joy (which is a must have for all baking and what I used. It has flour combined to help things not stick) Dump out the dough onto the cookie sheet. Use your hands to pat it as evenly as possible, then take a piece of either wax or parchment paper and lay it on top of the cookies and gently roll a rolling pin across the sheet of cookies to make sure it is good and even.
Place into a 350 degree oven and bake for around 15-18 minutes (I didn't exactly time things but I think that is about how long) It will have sort of a bubbly look across it and will be semi set to the touch. It will NOT turn a golden brown color so don't cook until it has become golden or it will be a burnt mess. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool before icing.
1 stick unsalted butter at room temp
1/4 cup shortening (don't back out of me here! You need it to keep the icing soft and tender)
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp milk or cream
1 tsp almond extract (or vanilla or lemon if you want to get crazy!)
1/2 tsp salt
Dump the buttercream on the cookies and spread it evenly with a flat spatula or knife. Immediately pour on your sprinkles of choice so that they will set within the icing.
These are great left at room temp uncovered. They will not get hard and yucky because of the amount of love put into them.