Thursday, December 8, 2011
My New Favorite Sugar Cookies - Sugar Cookie Squares
I know I just recently posted my favorite cutout sugar cookie recipe, but now I think I may never make them again. I found this recipe on Pinterest, credit goes to fellow blogger Jaclyn at cookingclassy.blogspot.com It is super easy, super delicious, and super easy... did I already say it was easy? Every year I get all excited about all the goodies I'll make, and then before I know it I've run out of time, so I was thrilled to find this recipe!
I have to admit I briefly entertained the idea of using store-bought cookie dough for this, and I suppose you could do that in a pinch, but making your own is really so much more satisfying. I adapted this just a teeny bit because I wanted to try a new product I found - Princess Cake & Cookie Emulsion - in place of vanilla extract. If you have never tried using emulsions in place of extracts, you really should. Emulsions are alcohol-free, give a more robust flavor, and will withstand the heat of baking. You can purchase this from www.lorannoils.com. The Princess Emulsion gives a rich, creamy, nutty flavor - the taste was similar to a bit of almond extract.
I also used their Butter Vanilla emulsion when I made the frosting. Yum!
Here's the recipe:
SUGAR COOKIE SQUARES
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg + 1 egg white
1 Tablespoon sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract (here's where I substituted the Princess Emulsion)
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2-tsp half & half
1 tsp vanilla (I used 1/2 tsp Princess Emulsion and 1/2 tsp Butter Vanilla Emulsion)
Pinch of salt
Food coloring as desired
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9x12 pan or use baking spray. I love the baking spray! In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt - set aside.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, whip together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in egg and egg white. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until blended. Slowly add the dry ingredients and stil until well combined.
If you don't want to mess with separating an egg and dealing with the leftover yolk, you can use the egg whites in the carton. I was doing this in the morning so I saved the yolk and made scrambled eggs while my pan was in the oven.
With buttered hands, gently pat the dough into the prepared pan. I hate buttered hands, so I keep a box of disposable gloves on hand and butter those instead. I thought of doing that about 8 years ago while making 8 million Rice Krispie treats for the concession stand when my son's high school was hosting a Speech and Debate meet, and it's one of my favorite kitchen tricks ever since.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Don't let it get too brown, the edges should be just slightly golden like this:
Cool completely before frosting, then decorate if desired and cut into squares. I cut mine diagonally across and straight up and down lengthwise so my bars ended up a cute diamond shape - just to be a little more festive.
I used green for Christmas, but you could use this recipe for any occasion throughout the year.
One thing I learned - I added a little extra powdered sugar and a teeny bit more liquid to get more frosting. Because I love frosting... but when you make the frosting, be sure and leave it a little bit stiff. I found that I had to let the pan set overnight before I could cut them because the frosting didn't want to set up.
My husband tasted these and the next day he was talking about them at work, so this is definitely a keeper!