December 20, 2009

Christmas Cutout Cookies


In my Thanksgiving post, I mentioned trying a couple of new recipes in search of the perfect cutout cookie recipe.   I initially thought that they were too much like shortbread for my liking, but one of the recipes in particular grew on me and I’ve since used it for 3 batches of Christmas cookies.   It’s a pretty simple recipe.  The only flavoring it calls for is almond extract.  I tried adding some vanilla and salt, but decided that I prefer the recipe in its original form.

  IMG_9185IMG_9191   IMG_9210 IMG_9202IMG_9239IMG_9216

The question is: why do these cookies hold their shape so much better than those made with my old sugar cookie recipe?  Is it that one uses baking soda and baking powder and the other only baking powder, or is it that one recipe calls for two eggs, while the other only calls for one.  Maybe it has something to do with the absence of salt in the new recipe.  I suspect that it is related to the leavening and/or eggs.  Once again, my knowledge of food science falls far short of my culinary aspirations.

I hope that this won’t always be the case, however.  I've had my eye out for a book on the subject and came across one at the library a couple of months ago.  I didn’t get to spend near enough time with it, though.  I got about one quarter of the way through a fascinating chapter on the historical significance and chemical behavior of dairy products before I had to return the book.  It’s on my Christmas wish list, and I hope that soon I’ll be one step closer to at least attempting to answer the cutout cookie question and others. 


All of the cookies in this picture were made using the same cookie cutter.  Some of them actually look like pumpkins and others are just orange blobs.

In addition to its shape-holding power, the new dough is much easier to roll out and cut.   An added bonus is that it doesn’t call for corn syrup like my old recipe does.   Below are their ingredients for comparison.  The old recipe is baked at 350, and the new one at 400:

Old Sugar Cookie Recipe

1 ¼ cups granulated sugar 
1 cup butter    
2 eggs 
1 tablespoon vanilla 
1-2 teaspoon almond extract (optional) 
¼ cup light corn syrup   
3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking teaspoon powder  
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ to 1 teaspoon salt

New Cutout Sugar Cookie Recipe

1 cup sugar 
1 cup butter 
1 egg 
1 ½ teaspoons almond extract 
2 tablespoons milk
2 ½ cups flour 
1 teaspoon baking powder

Believe it or not, I don’t spend all my time wondering about the science behind everything I cook.  Sometimes I just enjoy it (not that I don’t enjoy the science part).

This week I even had a friend to bake with!

 IMG_9363 IMG_9372    IMG_9375


No comments:

Post a Comment