Recipe by Sarah Phillips © 2007 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
Photo and cookies by eeyoregirl, Premium Member © Sarah Phillips
DonnaL, Premium Member, suggested I create Peanut Butter cut-out sugar cookies! So, I did!
Creative sugar cookies are buttery, crispy, flavorful and beautiful when decorated with a royal icing or fondant glaze. They have little baking powder so they bake with flat, smooth surfaces, perfect for decorating on. The cookies start out on the crispy side— necessary when covering with a royal icing glaze made with egg white powder; the water and sugar in the glaze provides and attracts moisture so they soften slightly when the glaze is applied, making them the perfect eating consistency when decorated. Cookies glazed with royal icing made with meringue powder dry harder. The master recipe for this is Sarah's Creative Cut Out Sugar Cookies.
COOKIE RECIPE HELP
I freeze my cookie sheet! Then, I roll out the dough on it. Since the cut out cookies should not spread much, anyway, I can cut them really close together. The dough should contain very little leavening if it is a good recipe. The dough should not be sticky, either. If it is, you needed to add more flour, a teaspoon or two, during mixing to correct.
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (Spoon into measuring cup and level to top)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) peanut butter or any nut butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Position two oven racks: one of them 1/3 of the way from the bottom and the top rack 1/3 of the way from the top of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
You’ll need at least two (preferably four) UNGREASED non-insulated cookie sheets or sheet pans. You can also cover them with parchment paper (not waxed), if desired.
2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl with a hand held mixer fitted with beater attachments, beat the butter and peanut butter on low speed until softened. Add the granulated sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, and beat until combined before adding more. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 1 minute until light in color and creamy. Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl often.
Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat on low until incorporated.
4. Add the flour mixture in three equal portions, and fold after each with a large rubber spatula until just incorporated; do not over mix.
The dough is stiff, but will be somewhat dry. Knead dough a few times so it comes together. It may be somewhat dry. Pat the dough into a large, 1-inch thick rectangle and wrap it in plastic wrap.
Refrigerate the dough, 20 minutes to an hour until well-chilled. This is so the dough will be cold throughout and easier to handle.
5. When chilled, roll out a quarter of the dough on a non-floured surface about 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick; rolling dough in flour is the main culprit in producing hard, dry cookies. Instead, I use a Silpat, nonstick mat. Keep the unused dough covered in the refrigerator.
6. Cut cookies from the rolled out dough with cookie cutters. Start from one edge, cutting the cookies close together. Line up the cutter and cut, pressing down firmly to make a clean one. Lift the cutouts with a bench scraper or metal spatula to the cookie sheet and place about ½-inch apart; don’t crowd the baking sheet. This dough spreads about 1/8-inch on all sides.
Don't place cookie dough on a warm cookie sheet because it will cause the cut-out dough to spread and become misshapen. Use one a fresh cookie sheet or one that has cooled thoroughly from the last batch.
If the cookies easily become misshapen, the dough is too warm. Chill the dough you are using to cut the cookies from. Carefully reshape any cookie, if necessary and chill the cut-out cookies on the baking sheet for about 20 minutes before baking. You can bake them right from the refrigerator.
Quickly gather the scraps and press them together to loosely make a flattened rectangular shape without much handling or the cookies will be tough. Re-chill if necessary. For the best texture, avoid handling and re-rolling the scraps too many times. Both actions make a tough dough and cookie from excess gluten development.
7. Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes until they just start to take on a light brown color around the edges; do not over bake - the browner the cookies, the harder and more inedible they become. Allow to cool on cookie sheet 1-2 minutes and remove to a wire cake rack to cool. If baked on parchment paper, cookies can be cooled right on its surface. Slide the paper with the cookies on top to a wire cake rack to cool. Remove cookies when cooled.
Use a cold cookie sheet for the next batch.
Already baked cookies can be stored at room temperature or frozen. Crisp cookies should be stored in an airtight container. They will keep for about 4 days. Wrap cookies well for the freezer where they will keep for about a month.