Sugar Cakes: the best sugar cookie EVER!!! (this year)

So, I got these cool cookie cutters at IKEA the other day while I was there buying napkins and checking out the fabric for my chair and sewing bench/cabinet thing. I've been dying to make SOME kind of cookies ever since! Altho, I forgot to use the snail.

Then, as I was looking thru this cool program from the July 1963 Pennsylvania Folklife Festival that my sister Bonnie gave me (I know, I know, she's gives me so MUCH cool stuff!!! without her, I would have nothing about which to blog!!) I came across an article with Amish cookie recipes. There are several I'm eager to try out, but for these cookies I chose the Soft Sugar Cakes.

Here's the recipe as it's written in the program, from the article Much Ado About Cookies, by Edna Eby Heller.

2c sugar
1/2c lard
1/2c butter
1c sour cream
4 eggs
1t soda
1t cream of tartar
5 1/2c flour

Thoroughly cream the sugar and shortening. (**anyone else notice the recipe doesn't call for shortening?? tee hee). Stir in the cream and eggs. Add dry ingredients which have been sifted together. Mix well. Chill overnight. Roll on floured board to 1/4" thickness. Cut out with a 3" round cutter and lift to baking pan. Sprinkle with white or colored sugar. Bake for 10m at 400 degrees (**400!!!!! holy crap!!)

Ok, here's what I did. Preheat to 350. Line cookie sheets w/ parchment paper.

I used 1c butter, because I was fresh out of lard (darn it!) and shortening. Also, I used 2t baking powder, rather than adding the ingredients separately. I didn't sift anything, and I divided the dough into two big balls, wrapped in plastic, and chilled two hours. Also, I only baked these 8 minutes, AND used all those funny animal cutters. Did you notice these have no vanilla in them? I didn't add any, and worried about that.

AND.......AND.....I frosted mine, so I didn't sprinkle them with sugar.

this makes the most smooth, silky, tender dough ever, and I spent the time I was working with it imagining how wonderful the cookies from it were going to be. I was not disappointed. Plain, with no sugar sprinkles, these were the most beautifully textured and flavored sugar cookies I've made in a while. OUTSTANDING!!

Again, I only cooked these for 8 minutes in a 350 degree oven. In my opinion, 400 degrees is too hot and 10 minutes too long to result in a soft cake-like cookie. This kind of cookie CANNOT brown or dry out.

William helped with these, because he loves to bake. However, he was obsessed with the elk cookie cutter. It's so huge, though, I only let him make one. I told him we would try that one with a molasses cookie recipe (called Heifer Tongues...mmmm, my fav!!)

I decided a gem of a cookie like this deserved a special frosting. Why gild the lily, you may ask?? Well, to be honest, it was an excuse to make CARAMEL FROSTING!!!!!!!!!!!! Remember the caramel frosting from the Applesauce Cupcakes?? Omg, how I love those cupcakes. I need to suggest them to Dimples.

But I digress. I did a minor modification of this recipe and it was enough frosting for half a batch of cookie dough. I only cut out and baked half, because this is a LOT of dough. perfect for holiday baking!!

Here's the Caramel Frosting Recipe, modified for cookies (double this for the whole batch of cookie dough)

1/2c brown sugar
1/4c butter
1/4c milk
3/4c powdered sugar
Cook sugar and butter 2m Stir in milk. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Allow to cool, then beat in powdered sugar to desired consistency. (I just stirred it in with a whisk for the cookie frosting...it's not as stiff as for the cake frosting)

As it turns out, I have no idea how to frost cookies. So, I used a teaspoon and sort of dropped/spread it around. They look ok, I guess. They taste so fantastic I doubt anyone would give a flip about how they look, but for this type of frosting I may do a round cookie next time.

Here's the elk, all frosted up. We were calling it a moose until I saw that IKEA called it an elk. Oops.

Definitely put these on your "to-bake" list: they're worth it!!
I baked these for the boys and Lacey, their sitter, to enjoy while Doug and I were out, and they all loved them, too!


Goosegirl said...

Oh those cookies look so yummy!! I have to try this recipe. I may make them for India's graduation party. Thank you!!

Nicole said...

I am so making all of this! Are these kind of like those soft shortbread with frosting cookies at Walmart and such? I hate (secretely *love*) those, and this sounds so much better! YAY thanks for sharing the recipes!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

This post has been selected as one of my great posts of the week. Here is the link to my post that mentions you: http://www.jdaniel4smom.com/2010/06/great-posts-i-came-across-this-week.html


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