Perfect Soft-in-the-middle-and-crunchy-on-the-edges Cut-out Sugar Cookies

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This sugar cookie recipe is my new favorite. It makes a nice thick cookie that doesn’t snap when you take a bite. It has a slight crunch on the outside, a soft center, and a nice crumb. Perfection! Best of all, it keeps its shape in the oven, great for any cutter of your choice.

This recipe makes a fair amount of cookies, so it is perfectly acceptable to halve this recipe for a smaller batch. Alternatively, you can freeze the dough in an air-tight plastic bag for another day and thaw it overnight in the refrigerator when you need it. You can also refrigerate the dough for up to a week if you can’t use it all up at once or want to make the dough ahead of time.

I used this cookie recipe for the Civil Rights Cookies in a previous post, so check that out!

I found this beautiful recipe at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.

Oven Temperature: 400°F
Baking Time: 5-10 min.
Makes: 60 large cookies (2-3 inch)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1 tablespoon lemon zest (from about 1 lemon)-we didn’t have any lemons, so we used a teaspoon or so of lemon extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Don’t be alarmed by the high temperature. It keeps the cookies from spreading and makes for a softer, lighter cookie. Prepare your cookie sheets by lining with parchment, foil, or a silicone baking mat (a great investment, I highly recommend it!)

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, granulated sugar, and powdered sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Then crack the eggs in one at a time, mixing after each addition. Then stir in the extracts and lemon zest.

Mix in half of the flour with the baking powder and salt. After that is combined well, mix in the remaining flour.

At this point, divide the dough into three portions. Wrap two portions in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill while you work with the remaining portion. You could also wrap all of the dough up and keep in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze.

Dust your work surface with a little flour or powdered sugar. Take your portion of the dough and roll it out to 1/4 of an inch or a little thicker. Cut out your shapes and place on your prepared cookie sheet. Then bake at 400˚F for 5-10 minutes or until very lightly brown on the bottoms or not even brown yet (this makes sure your cookies are nice and soft). Take your scraps and re-roll. Repeat until there is not much dough left. At this point, you can take out your next portion of the dough and repeat. Same goes for the last portion of dough.

Cool your cookies for two minutes on your cookie sheet and then transfer to a wire rack. Wait until the cookies are completely cooled before frosting. I recommend using our Royal Icing recipe to decorate. You could also use a buttercream icing to frost if you would like. Enjoy!

Buttercream Frosting
Frosts 30 cookies generously
 
Ingredients:
½ cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon extract (or to taste)
1-2 tablespoons milk
2 drops red food coloring
2 drops yellow food coloring

Directions:
Beat the butter until much paler and fluffy. This will take about 5 minutes. Then, slowly incorporate powdered sugar. Once all the sugar is added, beat on high speed. Thin out with some milk until the buttercream reaches a piping consistency. Mix in the food coloring if desired. If desired, place frosting in a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe rosettes onto cookies.

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