Sunday, March 4, 2012

VLOG: a sugar cookie with all the right textures

Are you a fan of sugar cookies?  It wasn't until this recipe that I became one.  Well, that's not exactly true. It actually wasn't until I modified this recipe that I became a true believer.  My reservations about the sugar cookie was the texture, which is something that's difficult to acheive.  With most cookies, what we get out of the oven is a chewy warm cookie but a day later it becomes a hard crispy cookie.  I think maintaining that chewy texture is essential.  And I was able to find a recipe that could do that (keep the cookie chewy), and I was also able to modify the recipe to create a completely different texture (keep the cookie cakey like a Lofthouse cookie or a tea cake, while still maintaining its outer cookie crisp).

Why this recipe works: it contains 68% unsaturated fat to 32% saturated fat = perfect ratio for a chewy cookie.  As I stated in the vlog, I melt the butter so the sugar cookie dough could easily be mixed together with a spoon—it gets rid of the need for a mixer and whisking.  I am replacing a portion of the melted butter with vegetable oil to ensure a chewy cookie without affecting flavor. And by incorporating an unusual addition, the cream cheese, into the cookie dough it make will these cookies tender, while the tang of the cream cheese makes for a rich and not-too-sweet cookie.  I play around with these fat ratios and developed a cakey cookie that tastes the same but with the desired texture.  You'll find the two recipes after the jump.

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These cookies would make great snickerdoodles if you roll the dough in equal parts cinnamon and graulated sugar before baking!
Chewy Sugar Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen cookies
Ingredients
cups (11¼ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon table salt
cups (10½ ounces) sugar, plus ⅓ cup for rolling
2 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, melted and still warm
cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions
1) Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl. Set aside.
2) Place 1½ cups sugar and cream cheese in large bowl. Place remaining ⅓ cup sugar in shallow baking dish or pie plate and set aside. Pour warm butter over sugar and cream cheese and whisk to combine (some small lumps of cream cheese will remain but will smooth out later). Whisk in oil until incorporated. Add egg, milk, and vanilla; continue to whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture and mix with rubber spatula until soft homogeneous dough forms.
3) Divide dough into 24 equal pieces, about 2 tablespoons each (or use #40 portion scoop). Using hands, roll dough into balls. Working in batches, roll balls in reserved sugar to coat and evenly space on prepared baking sheet, 12 dough balls per sheet. Using bottom of drinking glass, flatten dough balls until 2 inches in diameter. Sprinkle tops evenly with 4 teaspoons of sugar remaining in shallow dish (2 teaspoons per tray), discarding any remaining sugar.
4) Bake, 1 tray at a time, until edges are set and just beginning to brown, 11 to 13 minutes, rotating tray after 7 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheets 5 minutes. Using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Cakey Sugar Cookies (Lofthouse Cookies or Tea Cakes)
Recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen
Makes about 1 dozen cookies
Ingredients
1 1/8 cups (5.625 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup (5.25 ounces) sugar, plus ⅓ cup for rolling
1.5 ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, cut into pieces
2.5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and still warm
7 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 large egg
2 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions
1) Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl. Set aside.
2) Place sugar and cream cheese in large bowl. Place remaining ⅓ cup sugar in shallow baking dish or pie plate and set aside. Pour warm butter over sugar and cream cheese and whisk to combine (some small lumps of cream cheese will remain but will smooth out later). Whisk in oil until incorporated. Add egg, milk, and vanilla; continue to whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture and mix with rubber spatula until soft homogeneous dough forms.
3) Divide dough into equal pieces, about 2 tablespoons each (or use #40 portion scoop). Using hands, roll dough into balls. Working in batches, roll balls in reserved sugar to coat and evenly space on prepared baking sheet, 12 dough balls per sheet. Using bottom of drinking glass, flatten dough balls until 2 inches in diameter. Sprinkle tops evenly with sugar remaining in shallow dish discarding any remaining sugar.
4) Bake, 1 tray at a time, until edges are set and just beginning to brown, 11 minutes, rotating tray after 5 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheets 5 minutes. Using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Dulce De Leche Frosting
Recipe from JoytheBaker
Frosts 1 dozen sandwich cookies
Ingredients
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup dulce de leche, plus more for drizzling
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 cups powdered sugar

Directions
1) Place cream cheese in a bowl.  Beat for about 30 seconds, until very soft and pliable.  Add the butter and dulce de leche.  Beat until well incorporated.  Add the salt and powdered sugar.  Beat for about 3 minutes, until fluffy and lighter in color.  Generously spoon frosting on bottom side of one cookie then top with another cookie.

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