Saturday, February 13, 2021

Smashed Sugar Cookies


Journal entry No. 736.

February 11, 2021. We're still on lockdown - I've lost count which one it is. I forget what it's like to dine in a restaurant with friends. I miss smelling fresh produce properly at the store. I miss wandering aimlessly around HomeSense mentally filling my home with trinkets I don't need. Yet, on the flip side, I have enjoyed this downtime. I've gotten more quality family time in and I've been taking advantage to have a good sort out around the house. K and I had found several boxes we forgot about never unpacked from our move back in 2016. Among the contents of one box was the folder of recipes Mom had given to me from Grandma's recipe box I had spent months and months frantically looking for. When I happened upon it, I was quite tearful. I had come to terms with the fact I had tossed it out by mistake. Funny enough, it was in that moment I remembered I had put it in there as it was the last of the boxes we were packing and I knew I would not forget they were in there because it housed those precious memories from her. 

Yeah. I forgot. I also found my missing measuring tape, but that's neither here nor there.

Along with the handwritten gems my Grandma penned were several other home printer printed recipes. This cookie recipe was of them. I had printed it off a website or possibly a blog (and in a very large font I might add) in 2014. There was no name, no author, just the recipe and a grainy black and white photo that accompanied it. Sadly, I'm famous for ripping or tearing out recipes from magazines as well as printing them off, but never doing anything with them aside from putting them in an ever-growing majestic Lisa Frank folder. 

Until now. Whoever created this recipe, thank you, because they're delicious. I renamed them Smashed Sugar Cookies because of the process that makes them look perfectly imperfect.

Let's make imperfect happen. 


SMASHED SUGAR COOKIES
slightly adapted from the original recipe

5½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Cream of Tartar*
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
3/4 cup neutral oil, like canola oil
1¼ cups granulated sugar 
¾ cup confectioners' sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Coarse sugar, optional**

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

½ cup butter, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, softened 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt
Food colouring 

*Some folks do not care for the tinny, metallic flavour Cream of Tartar can yield. You can substitute it using 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder instead.

** Coarse sugar is ONLY needed if you do not wish to frost cookies.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. 

In a separate mixing bowl, cream together the butter, oil, and both sugars using an electric mixer for two minutes. Add in the eggs and vanilla extract. Beat for three minutes until all ingredients are homogenized. 

Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix only until incorporated. Using 1/4 cup scoop with a retractable mechanism (yes, these are meant to be big cookies), scoop out the cookie dough and place them on the prepared cookie sheet. Using the bottom of a flat glass, lightly dip it in flour first and press down into the center of the cookie until the edges crack. You want to see these imperfections. You can also sprinkle coarse sugar on top at this time if you don't wish to frost them when they are cooled. 

Bake for 10 minutes. These cookies will not get golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for a couple of minutes before transferring onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

In the meantime, you can prepare the frosting. To do so, in a medium mixing bowl using an electric mixer, cream together the cream cheese and the butter until smooth and silky - there should be no lumps. Add in the confectioners' sugar and the vanilla extract. Beat for 30 seconds. Then you will add in the pinch of salt and food colouring (if using), and beat for another 30 seconds to combine all ingredients. Frosting will be thick, but smooth. 

Once the cookies are completely cooled, spread the prepared frosting as generously as you wish. Use an offset spatula for easiest application. Top with some sprinkles and/or embellishments. 

Cookies will keep fresh at room temperature for three days in an airtight container and one week in the refrigerator. These cookies will freeze beautifully before frosting and will keep for three months stored in airtight conditions.

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