Last Summer, my family had a Sugar Cookie Bake-Off. There were five entries and some darn good cookies. Since my mom was making the recipe I use (and borrowed from her) I went looking online for a 5 star rated sugar cookie recipe… and after lots of looking I found a really good recipe.
But even that wasn’t enough to compete with my Aunt Karen’s Most Excellent Sugar Cookies.
She is an wonderful baker and a very talented lady. Her cookies were the runaway favorite, and that is saying something. Because we have some really good bakers in the family. What makes them so good? Lemon peel… oh and sour cream of course. Aunt Karen’s Most Excellent Sugar Cookies are a softer cookie because of the sour cream and the lemon give them a brighter, lighter flavor. Her cookies aren’t the prettiest sugar cookie I’ve ever made after they are baked… but they look wonderful once frosted, and they taste divine!
Sugar cookies are one of the few cookies that are good all year long. They are the great chameleon of cookies. What would Santa do without a plate of Christmas Sugar Cookies or Valentine’s day be without Sugar Cookie Hearts? Star shaped sugar cookies are just the thing for the 4th of July.
Here is her wonderful recipe:
Aunt Karen’s Most Excellent Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon extract
½ tsp. finely grated lemon peel
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. nutmeg
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp. baking soda
5- 5 1/2 cups flour (Just enough so they are not too sticky to work)
Combine sour cream and baking soda and set aside. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla, lemon extract and lemon peel. Sift together salt, baking powder, nutmeg, and flour and add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream mixture. Mix after each addition. Chill. Roll out and cut. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
Here’s a printable version.
1. Add baking soda to sour cream. Mix together and set aside.
2. Cream together sugar and butter.
3. Finely grate lemon peel.
4. Add eggs, vanilla, lemon extract and lemon peel and mix well.
5. Sift together dry ingredients.
6. Alternating adding the dry ingredients with the sour cream until all ingredients are added. Make sure ingredients are incorporated, but do not over mix.
6. Place dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until chilled.
7. Once chilled divide the dough into 4 pieces.
8. Dust your counter or board and rolling pin with flour. I learned this tip from Martha Stewart… she says to always roll in the same direction and then just turn your dough. This keeps it loose on the board. I start rolling, lift the dough to turn the direction and dust a little more beneath it. I turn and dust one more time… by this point I can roll without it ever sticking. Roll according to how thick you like your cookies 1/8″ to 1/4″ thick.
9. Press with your cookie cutter of choice. Give the cookie cutter a little shake to make sure it cuts all the way around.
10. Place on a greased cookie sheet. And bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
11. Cool on a cooling rack.
12. Frost with your favorite frosting and decorate as desired. I am cooking so much this week that I am decorating them quick and easy, butter frosting and some stars and sprinkles and flags… not fancy but still fun.
Sometimes Aunt Karen makes her frosting so that it’s more of a glaze and just dips the tops, they dusts them with colored sugar, for a very quick and easy decoration.
Here is a quick butter frosting:
2/3 cup softened butter
6 cups powdered sugar
3 tsp. vanilla
4-6 Tbsp. milk depending on desired consistancy
Mix together til smooth. Add coloring if desired.
My sister in law, Nan always adds cream cheese to her butter frosting which is delicious and cuts the sweetness a bit.