I’ve been reading a lot about baking lately because I secretly want to open a bakery on Main Street. You know what I’m talking about. That bakery that you went to as a kid where you can get a sugar cookie with sprinkles or a yellow cupcake with chocolate frosting or a snowball (if you don’t know what a snowball is, you haven’t lived) or a brownie all made with things like real butter and sugar and flour. No partially hydrogenated oil. Real honest to goodness baked goods. Traditional pink bakery boxes tied with traditional bakers twine. No frills. Except the petit fours, which look like this (thank you, Moeller's in Houston, I'm still dreaming of these):
I may be slightly obsessing over the whole idea. It’s amazing how much time you can kill on Pinterest. (In a side note, I took Théa to an occupational therapist this week for an evaluation based on her inability to sit in a chair and her seemingly impulsive behavior. The OT thinks that Théa might be exhibiting OCD-like behavior rather than impulsive behavior. Gee, I wonder where she gets it.)
But anyway, back to the baking. Most of the reading that I’m doing is about baking at high altitude and I’m realizing that there might be a few simple (hopefully) fixes for the issues that I’ve had with some of my baked goods. I’ve also realized that I may have inadvertently altered recipes correctly to suit the altitude here and that those recipes might be horrible at sea level (here’s looking at you, Los Angeles reader). Don’t hold it against me. I’ll try to remind you that I’m baking at altitude when I make changes to recipes.
You really don’t need to make any changes to these sugar cookies. These taste quite a bit like those crack cookies at the grocery store in plastic rolls except that they are made with real ingredients. What I love about this recipe is it is ridiculously simple (do I make any other kind of recipe?) and does not involve frosting. Don’t get me wrong. I still like a good, soft, sour cream based sugar cookie with frosting. I’ve almost perfected this type of cookie. But I also have time limitations. There is nothing wrong with a traditional sprinkled or sugared soft sugar cookie, especially when it gives your kids an excuse to cover your kitchen with sprinkles in the process of making them.
Here’s what you do need to know. This recipe called for butter or margarine. I always struggle with recipes that don’t specify salted or unsalted butter. What should I use? Doesn’t this impact the leavening? In this case, because the recipe did not call for salt and because I knew that the recipe was originally from an older Betty Crocker Cookbook, I went with plain old salted butter. This was the correct call.
I used the drop method (must get an ice cream scoop) rather than the rolled method, using one tablespoon for each cookie, which yielded cookies that were about three inches across. I did refrigerate my dough again after my kids (manhandled the hell out of them and) rolled them in sprinkles and sugar but before I smashed the cookies with the bottom of a glass. My cookies took 10 minutes to bake at 375°, but I think this is because of the altitude. I’ll probably try to raise the temperature of my oven next time.
Also, have you seen this video about the science behind the perfect chocolate chip cookie? You’re welcome.