I’ve noticed a new trend in sugar cookies: delicate, intricately shaped cookies which are decorated to an artistic feat. These cookies are beautiful, especially on party tables, but I have to admit that more often than not, I just want to make a cookie just like Grandma’s brand–those big pink ones sold in dorm vending machines (sadly, Grandma’s just don’t taste that great now that I’ve weaned myself from most processed foods–these cookies are exceptionally better). Caryn’s cookies are soft, fluffy, easy to make, and pretty much a great, great cookie. The dough pairs best with simple cookie cutters (like circles or hearts) because they puff during baking, but anything will work. I also like that the dough doesn’t require refrigeration. It also doubles, if you need to make a lot.
Aunt Caryn’s Soft and Fluffy Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
1 c. sugar
1 c. butter, softened (2 sticks)
3 t. baking powder
3 1/2 c. flour
2 t. vanilla
1/4 t. salt
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes with a mixer. Add eggs and vanilla to the butter mixture and mix until incorporated. Then add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated.
Preheat oven to 375. Roll out dough to as much as 1/4″ thick (or thicker, if you like), adding flour if necessary to keep from sticking. Cut out and place on lightly greased cookie sheets, with like sizes on similar sheets (so you don’t overbake small cookies while underbaking large ones). Bake for 10 minutes, rotating midway through to keep the browning even. Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1-8 oz. bar cream cheese
5 T. butter, softened
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
pinch of salt
With a mixer, combine the butter and cream cheese until soft and fully integrated, about 3 minutes. Add 2 1/2 c. of sugar and vanilla and salt, and mix until combine. Add remaining cup of sugar slowly until the frosting thickens and reaches the sweetness you prefer. Tint with food coloring, if desired. Note: you can also add 1 t. grated lemon or orange peel or 1 t. cinnamon for a little flavor variety.