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Cookie Basics: Part One

I’m so excited to be writing my first post! What better place to start than with cookie basics? Like a house, you’ll need a firm foundation to create your edible masterpieces on. You can find many sugar cookie recipes online, but this recipe by Peggy Porschen is just right. I tweaked it a smidge, but it’s so simple it can easily be transformed into just about any flavor. Someone said to me long ago, “Cooking is an art, baking is a science.” This is very true and why I cannot stress enough the importance of precisely measuring all of your ingredients! I use the metric system in many of my recipes because you get a more accurate measurement. I highly recommend investing in a good food scale if you’re going to get serious about baking. For now, if you don’t have a food scale, you can use a conversion tool like this one I found online.

Now let's get started! You'll find the detailed recipe below. For you visual learners out there, I've also created a video that shows you how to make the cookies step-by-step.

INGREDIENTS

200g unsalted butter, softened (not melted) 200g granulated sugar 2 tsp vanilla extract 1 large egg, at room temperature 400g all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading

DIRECTIONS

In a mixer set on low speed, mix the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy, or about five minutes. Add egg and continue mixing for another two minutes. Stop mixing and scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure even distribution. Again on low speed, carefully add your flour and continue to mix until just combined. You will know when to stop when the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and come together.

Lay a large piece of plastic wrap on your countertop and pour the dough over it. Shape the dough into a flattened rectangle and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Pop it into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Lightly flour your countertop surface and chilled dough on both sides. With a rolling pin, roll out your dough to about ¼” to ½” thickness. Use your favorite cookie cutter to cut out the shapes you’d like to decorate. Place the cutouts on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and pop into the refrigerator for another 30 minutes to set up. You’ll likely want to turn your oven on at this point to 350 degrees so it is ready to go when your cookies are ready to come out of the fridge.

Bake your cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown along the edges. This recipe makes about 24 medium-sized cookies.

EXTRA CREDIT

Now that you have a solid base, you can start experimenting with different flavor combinations. Instead of vanilla, substitute in almond extract or even lavender. You can also add orange or lemon zest for a citrus undertone. For chocolate cookies, I like to replace 50g of flour with cocoa powder.