Monday, January 23, 2012

"Lofthouse" Style Sugar Cookies

I worked in Albertson's Bakery for 18 years of my life... not realizing that I stayed there sooo long because baking was my passion. Of course I didn't get to do alot of the 'fun' stuff because I wasn't the baker... or the cake decorator, but I did get to frost the donuts, and ice a few cakes on the cake decorator's day off. But I did get to help customers, and half of my passion is having people enjoy what I cook. So I was happy to help people with cakes, breads, donuts and other pastries. When the bakery started to do less scratch baking and incorporate some items that were made at a warehouse, I enjoyed it a little less... but I still enjoyed waiting on customers. One of the items they brought in were the Lofthouse sugar cookies, you know the ones, they're soft, and usually have pink icing with sprinkles, but the color of icing changes during the holidays. The first time I 'accidently' dropped a box so it broke open and we just HAD to eat them, man oh man, I wanted to create that cookie at home. Soft cookies with a frosting to die for.... and I think I finally found a recipe!!! There were ALOT of different sites on the internet that had this same recipe or something very similar, so I gave it a try. YUM!! I made a batch and took it to work to try out on my co-workers and most thought they were good and reminded them of the "lofthouse' cookies. Some said mine were even better. (I think it's my frosting, that's my tweaking) This recipe is a keeper.... All I can say is make yourself wait at least 6 or 7 hours before eating. I ate one right after making them and thought they weren't anything special, and the next morning I had one for breakfast and goodness! Delicious!! Something about letting them set overnight seems to let the flavors develop... of course I had mine covered so they didn't dry out! Just be prepared to eat a couple and have a glass of milk handy! Enjoy!

"Lofthouse" Style Sugar Cookies
For the Cookies:
6 cups flour, divided
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, at room temperature (**note this recipe doesn't have salt in the cookies... use Salted butter for the best results, if using salt free butter add about 1/4 teaspoon of table salt to the dough)
2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups light sour cream   (I like Daisy brand... do a dollop,... do do a dollop!)Sorry.......

For the Frosting:
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon coconut extract (this is my tweak... I think it just adds that extra YUM to the icing)
4 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons heavy cream
Dash of Salt
Several drops food coloring
Sprinkles

Directions:
In a medium bowl, whisk 5 cups of flour, baking soda, and baking powder; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the flat beater attached, cream the butter and granulated sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time beating until each is incorporated. Add the vanilla and sour cream and beat at low speed until combined.

Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl as needed. Dough needs to obtain the right consistency for rolling, so add additional flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until this is achieved (up to 1 cup more flour). Divide dough into two sections. Flatten into rectangles about 1 1/2 inches thick, then wrap with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator overnight (or at least 5 to 6 hours)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper ( I love parchment paper!!) or spray them with nonstick cooking spray, set aside.

Generously flour a work area and rolling pin. (here is another tweak I learned off the food network, mix powdered sugar in with your flour when flouring your surface before rolling out the dough-- I use a 1 to 1 ratio.... this gives them a better flavor...With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness. Don't go any thicker or you'll will get really thick puffy cookies. Using a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles and transfer to a baking sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes, until pale golden. Immediately transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. ( you might think baking them at 425 is too high, but it's perfect!! I baked mine for the 7 minutes, then removed to a cooling rack right after I took them out of the oven.)

To make the frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, vanilla and coconut extract. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar until it's all incorporated..it will probably be lumpy and very dry... Next  add in heavy cream, 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired spreading consistency is achieved, also add a few drops of food coloring at this time if you are going to use it. Add a dash or two of salt .... Salt helps take out the overly 'Sweet' taste of the frosting... all you need is a dash or two though. Once I get the icing pretty smooth and to a spreadable consisency, I turn the mixer to medium speed and whip for about 2 minutes... this gets it to a light fluffy frosting that's yummo!!
Once cookies have cooled completely, frost and add sprinkles. Allow frosting to set, then store in an air-tight container. Let cookies sit for several hours before serving to allow the flavors to develop.
                                                          Yields: about 4 1/2 dozen cookies

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