Speedy Sugar Cookies

Christmas is almost upon us! 🎄 You’ll know this if you leave your house because the frenzy is real! Speaking of frenzy, everyone wants to make sugar cookie dough faster than fast, right? Cook’s Illustrated November-December issue has a recipe that does just that. It’s so fast you don’t even have to let the butter soften to room temp!  I was skeptical at first about this new method; no softened butter and use a food processor, not your mixer?  But it totally works, yielding soft, slightly chewy, perfect sugar cookies.

See?

For this recipe you’ll definitely need:

  • A food processor
  • Parchment paper

CI says to buzz the sugar in the processor to make it “superfine”. This smooths out any grittiness in your cookies that can sometimes happen with regular sugar. I did this and it worked well for me.

First, however, whisk together the flour, baking powder and baking soda in a medium-sized bowl.  Next, in a small bowl, whisk together the egg, salt, almond extract, and vanilla extracts. Pulse the sugar in a food processor for 30 seconds then add cubed butter straight from the refrigerator. Whizz together until it is uniform, about another 30 seconds.  Remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl in-between adding ingredients.

Add the egg mixture and process until smooth like paste, another 10 seconds.  Dump in ALL the flour at once and buzz until no dry flour remains and a dough lump forms, roughly 15-30 seconds. Remove the dough from the processor and use your hands to form two discs. Press each disc between 2 sheets of parchment paper (using 4 sheets total) and roll out until 1/8” thick. Place dough on parchment in fridge until firm, 1-1 1/2 hours. 

Peel one side of the parchment away, then flop the dough onto the peeled side (this will unstick the dough from the parchment and make cookie cutting removal easier). Save the top piece of parchment to line your cookie sheet. Cut out your cookies and bake at 300 °F for 14-17 minutes, or until edges are slightly browned. CI suggests flipping your cookie sheets over (or if you are already fancy use your rimless cookie sheet) to promote even air circulation and a more even bake. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Frost cookies with your favorite frosting once completely cooled. My go to for royal icing is from SweetAmbs.com. Just remember to give your frosted cookies a good 6-8 hours to dry. “Someone” stuck his tiny thumb in the below masterpiece a little too soon…

Easy Sugar Cookies (from Cook’s Illustrated Nov-Dec 2017 issue)

Makes: roughly 40 2 1/2” cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 16 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter cut into cubes

Method:

  1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and baking soda in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, salt, almond extract, and vanilla extracts.
  3. Pulse the sugar in a food processor for 30 seconds then add cubed butter straight from the refrigerator. Whizz together until it is uniform, another 30 seconds. (Remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl in-between adding ingredients.)
  4. Add the egg mixture and process until it’s a smooth-like paste, another 10 seconds.
  5. Pour ALL the flour in at once and buzz until no dry flour remains and a dough lump forms, roughly 15-30 seconds.
  6. Remove the dough from the processor and use hands to form two discs. Press each disc between 2 sheets of parchment paper (using 4 sheets total) and roll out until 1/8” thick. Place dough on parchment in fridge until firm, 1-1 1/2 hours.
  7. Once firm, remove dough from fridge and peel one side of the parchment away, then flop the dough onto the peeled side (this will unstick the dough from the parchment and make cookie cutting removal easier).
  8. Preheat oven to 300 °F. Cut out cookies and bake 14-17 minutes, or until edges are slightly browned. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
  9. Wait until cookies are completely cooled before frosting.

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