Friday, February 11, 2011

Ma's Sugar Cookies

When I was growing up, my mother never baked. Ever. She was renowned for burning bake 'n serve dinner rolls. When I got old enough to follow the directions on the back of the box of cake mix, I became the cake baker in the family.

Imagine my surprise when I showed up one day and mom offered me a sugar cookie. And after I tried it, she proudly announced that she had baked it. At over 60 years of age, she made her first from-scratch cookies, and she was happy as heck that they turned out.

I wanted to scoff at her sudden baking, but I had to admit that they were pretty good.

I have no idea where she got the recipe. Apparently it was something her bingo-hall buddies were all making, and she was more than happy to share the recipe with me.

This cookie is fairly plain. It's a sugar cookie, after all. But that just means you can fancy it up with whatever you please. Plain sugar is normal, but why not use colored sugar to match the holiday or your mood. Or instead of vanilla extract, pick another flavor. These would be nice with lemon, orange, almond - or just about anything else that you like.

Ma's Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1 /2 teaspoons kosher salt
Sugar (colored or plan)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line your baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, oil, and sugars. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat until combined.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Still well to distribute the salt and baking powder, then add this mixture to the wet ingredients, Stir well to combine.

You can bake immediately, or chill the dough first, your choice.

Using a small scoop, place tablespoon-sized scoops onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving plenty of space between the cookies for them to spread. You can also use a spoon to do the scooping. Or, after the dough has chilled thoroughly, you can scoop out portions and roll them into balls with your hands.

Sprinkle sugar on top of the cookies, then flatten them with the bottom of a drinking glass, a flat measuring cup, or a spatula. Sprinkle on more sugar, if desired.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes until the cookies are just barely browned on the edges. Remove them to a rack to cool. The cookies will be very soft when they're warm, but they will harden as they cool.

This recipe can be halved for a smaller batch of cookies.