Hello! It’s been a while since I’ve posted, you know when your weeks just start to get away from you? That’s been me recently, despite how much I complain that I’m bored, I feel like there’s never enough time to get things done. These winter months are always tough, and what better way to brighten your mood than with sugar cookies? But not just any sugar cookies, an amalgamation of the world’s BEST sugar cookies. This recipe that I use is sort of a mix of two of the incredible Molly Yeh’s most beautiful cookie recipes, found here and here. If you don’t know Molly Yeh or her blog found here, 10/10 would recommend, in case you haven’t noticed I’m a huge fangirl. In both of the above recipes, almond and vanilla extract are combined with the optional sprinkling of bright lemon zest to create truly the best sugar cookie you will ever eat. Both cookies are smothered in pretty pastel glaze, but the fun is in the decoration, which is where your creative license comes into play. Whether you feel like adding sprinkles, piping, or leaving them smoothly glazed is up to you, but WOW you’ll never eat a plain sugar cookie again and that’s a guarantee.
I’ve made a variation of these cookies three times now, guess how long on average they last in the cookie jar? If you’re thinking around two days, you’d be right, which is really saying something since this recipe ends up making over 3 dozen cookies.
Before we get started, a quick note about Valentine’s Day- this day can either be a super bummer or such a happy day, but it doesn’t have to be all about dating. For those who are feeling down or unlucky, I wold just like to say that you don’t need one day to remind yourself how many people love you! You are surrounded by friends and family who love you every day and not just because Hallmark told them to, so treat yourself and your galentines or palentines (or your someone if you’ve got one) to a batch of these cookies and remember that you are LOVED, no matter what! Okay so now that we’re all on the same page here, without further ado, let’s get baking!
*As a side note, I know these posts have been baking-heavy lately, but I promise, savories are coming!!*
Makes: around 3 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 1½ hours (including decorating)
Bake Time: 10-13 minutes
Total: ~2 hours
3½ cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp kosher salt
1 cup salted butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup powdered sugar
zest from ½ lemon (if you’re feeling fancy)
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
¾ tsp almond extract
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt- almond flour tends to clump easily, if you find this is the case, you may want to sift these dry ingredients together first. Keep to the side.
2. In the bowl of your stand mixer (or in a separate bowl with a hand mixer), cream the softened butter* and both sugars until the mixture is fluffy, around 3-4 minutes. At this time you can add the lemon zest if you’re choosing to add it, but feel free to switch it up with other flavors too because I’m sitting here thinking to myself that I bet orange or lime would be refreshing too! Add each egg one at a time, and then finally both extracts.
*Forget to leave your butter out to soften? Never fear! To achieve perfect softness every time, place the whole stick of butter (with the paper wrapper on) in the microwave for 15 seconds, turn it over, then microwave for 7 more seconds. Voila! Soft butter immediately.
3. Begin adding your flour mixture into the bowl of the stand mixer (veeeery carefully, unless you want to end up wearing most of the flour). Mix until blended, for me it took about 3 minutes in my ancient Kitchen Aid.
4. If you’re making this dough ahead of time, you can wrap and refrigerate now, but if you’re like me and think waiting is truly the worst, you can actually also get rolling right away. Start by preheating your oven to 350ºF, and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Flour your surface and your rolling pin, and roll out a third of the dough to about ½ inch thick- the thicker you roll the dough, the fewer cookies you’ll get, but the softer they’ll be. Cut into the desired shapes using whatever cookie cutters you have on hand (I didn’t have festive ones so these got the biscuit cutter treatment), and lay onto your prepped baking sheets. This dough doesn’t spread very much, so you can lay them out about 1 inch apart or so. Bake the cookies until they’re just about to turn brown, but haven’t yet in order to maximize the softness- start checking at around the 10 minute mark. Let them cool on the cookie sheet at first (they’ll be really soft when they first come out and if you try to move them they’ll most likely break), and then transfer to a wire cooling rack until completely cooled.
4 cups powdered sugar
4 tbs light corn syrup
5-6 tbs whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract
pinch of kosher salt
desired food coloring
1. Mix all if these ingredients together (or split into multiple bowls for different colors.)
2. Dip the tops of each cookie into the glaze upside down and completely parallel, so that the whole top surface of the cookie is covered. Lift up and swirl off the excess over the bowl, it’s okay if it’s a little uneven, once you replace the cookie on the rack, the glaze will even itself out. (Make sure you put some parchment paper under your racks to catch dripping glaze, you’ll save SO much cleaning time later.) If you’re simply adding sprinkles, do so now before the glaze dries because once it does, the sprinkles will roll right off. If you’re looking for more decorating fun, keep reading!
3½ cups powdered sugar
½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp almond extract
3-4 tbs whole milk
food coloring (if desired)
1. Cream the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth. Add in powdered sugar a little at a time, until all is in. Add in the extracts, and then add the milk as necessary, you may not need all of it depending on your desired consistency.
2. Divide into bowls and add food coloring as desired, then spoon into piping bags (or ziplock bags with the corner snipped) fitted with a piping tip and decorate away!
(This recipe post on this day is dedicated to Lu, it feels extra far today and I miss you terribly.)