It’s been a month since my last blog post?! I have no idea where that long blog vacation came from, but I suspect it has something to do with the laziness that marked the second half of my winter break, the stress of the first weeks of the semester, and a lot of not feeling well throughout it all. Last week after I was taken out by an innocent bowl of ice cream, I began to suspect that I might have joined the ranks of the lactose intolerant. I’ve gone dairy-free for the past week and discovered that the food hangovers, chronic indigestion, and general pain that I had chalked up to eating “bad” food and/or stress have all gone away. So good-bye to feeling like crap and back to the blogging . . .
In addition to breaking up with dairy, there have been a few new additions to my humble kitchen, including a rockin’ new set of knives, some Pyrex pie plates bought at a ridiculous discount, and–most importantly–a sleek and sexy black KitchenAid Artisan Mixer given to me by my dad. For years, I’ve had a Sunbeam Mix Master that has been a tireless companion through a million baking efforts as I’ve tried to hone my skills. In fact, I ran the damn thing ragged so that by the end of November, every time I turned it on, it would grind and scream in protest–the death rattle of the small kitchen appliance. I had been pricing KitchenAid mixers for awhile, but they are expensive and I am broke broke broke. So I had just come to terms with the fact that I was looking into a baking future without a stand mixer when my dad swooped in and used the points he had accrued through a work-related incentive program to have an Artisan mixer delivered to my door. It was awesome. Just like my dad is awesome.
I picked this sugar cookie recipe at random to baptize the mixer, and I’m glad that I went with something that was simple and familiar so that I could really appreciate the difference a KitchenAid mixer makes. I am not a brand whore. In fact, part of my process of coming to terms with the fact that I would not be able to afford an Artisan mixer any time in the near future was convincing myself that it couldn’t possibly be *that* much better than the much more affordable Mix Master. But I kid you not–it is incredible. It’s simple and intuitive to use, it gets the job done right, and it’s a hell of a lot faster. Less time mixing, no need to continually scrape down the sides of the bowl. I am in love. That’s not to say that I don’t still have love for my now-deceased Mix Master. I do, because it was the perfect appliance for me during the many years where I was only baking casually and then while I was just starting to take on more complex and complicated baking challenges. But now that 80% of my waking thoughts revolve around baking, the upgrade to the Artisan mixer is GREATLY appreciated.
But enough gushing. These cookies were good, and the recipe is quick and easy to throw together with things you’re already likely to have on hand. My one regret is baking these at the recommended time, which didn’t yield the “chewy” texture the original recipe claimed it would. I would describe the texture more as occupying a nice middle ground between a crispy and a cake-y sugar cookie. Frankly, I’ve come to realize the I prefer my cookies slightly under-baked and I think I need to start pulling them out of the oven a minute or two early to yield the kind of product I really want. Still, these cookies were tasty, not overly sweet, and would probably make for a great base recipe for playing around with different ways of flavoring the dough. If you chill the dough for a couple of hours, I think it could make for great cut-out cookies since the dough doesn’t spread or puff up during baking. But regardless of the shape they take on, the sprinkles will definitely brighten up your day and what middle-of-winter day doesn’t need some brightening?
Sugar Cookies (adapted from Food Network)
- 2 3/4 c flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 c softened butter
- 1 1/2 c white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 to 4 tbsp buttermilk
- sprinkles for decorating
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
- In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Gradually add in the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Add enough of the buttermilk to make the dough soft, but not wet. (I used 2 tbsp)
- Roll the dough into 1″ balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Moisten the top of each cookie with some of the remaining buttermilk and slightly flatten the top of each cookie. You could use a pastry brush for this step, but I simply dipped my fingertips in the buttermilk before flattening the cookies. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with the sprinkles.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes in a 375 degree oven, or until the cookies are slightly golden. Let the cookies stand for two minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.