Saturday, April 9, 2011

Not My Grandma's Sugar Cookies

1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, OR 1/4 teaspoon table salt
12 T unsalted butter
4 T vegetable shortening
1 T orange honey
1 large egg
1/2 cup sugar, for rolling the cookies

Preparing the cookies:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place oven rack in the center of the oven.

Line 3 12- by 17-inch baking sheet pans with parchment paper.

Combine both flours, baking powder and salt with a whisk.

Place the sugar, nutmeg and vanilla seeds into the bowl of a mixer and mix for two minutes to distibute. Add cold, but pliable butter and shortening - It should look like ice cream just scooped from the container. Start out on low speed and when the butter starts to cream gradually increase the speed to medium and cream for about 2 minutes total.

Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl and add the egg and mix to combine. Add the honey and mix briefly.

Add the flour in thirds, and mix at low speed and mix until all is incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerator until firm.

Place the remaining half cup of sugar into a separate bowl.

With a tablespoon scoop, make small balls of dough and roll them in the sugar. Place the balls of dough onto a baking sheet. With a fork, flatten the cookies to about a 1/2 inch thickness.

Bake for 10 minutes, then check -- The cookies are done when they are brown at the edges but light in the middle. Remove from the oven and cool for 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer them to a rack to completely cool.

Repeat with the other tray of cookies.

Makes 2 dozen cookies


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