Saturday, January 28, 2012

Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

These frosted sugar cookies are reminiscent of the soft Loft House cookies you buy at the grocery store.  They're a guilty little pleasure that you can't help but snack on (all day long, if you're me).

I love that these cookies are thick and soft! They remind me of gourmet bakery cookies. They're also fabulous because you don't have to roll them out! Big time saver. Dough balls are pressed flat with the bottom of a cup and then baked. Really simple. I cut a few hearts out of some of the pressed dough, just for fun. These would be great for Valentine's Day or to give to neighbors and friends. The frosting is on the sweet side, but still really tasty and like I mentioned above, very similar to the Loft House cookies (but much better, of course). 
These are great, simple cookies you can whip up anytime. Bake some today, you (and your loved ones) will be glad you did!

I halved the recipe below since I was making them for only three of us. My half recipe measurements are in pink.

Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies
        Inspired By:
 about 2 dozen large cookies

For the cookies:
4½ cups all-purpose flour ( 2 1/4 cups)
4½ tsp. baking powder (2 1/4 teaspoons)
¾ tsp. salt (rounded 1/4 teaspoon)
1½ cups (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature (1 1/2 Sticks)
1½ cups sugar (3/4 cup)
3 large eggs (1 whole egg, plus 1 yolk)
5 tsp. vanilla extract (3 teaspoons)

For the frosting:
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
(2 1/2 cups)
1/3 cup (5 1/3 tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted (3 Tablespoons)
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (2 teaspoons)
7-8 tbsp. milk (plus more, as needed) (3-4 Tablespoons)
Food coloring (optional)
Sprinkles (optional)

To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt, and whisk together to blend.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until soft and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed.  Blend in the vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients mixing just until incorporated and evenly mixed.  Cover and chill the dough for 1 hour.*

When you are ready to bake the cookies, scoop a scant quarter cup of dough and roll into a ball.  Flatten the ball slightly and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the cookies at least 2-3 inches apart.  Bake about 10-12 minutes or just until set.  (Do not overbake!  The edges should be no more than very lightly browned if at all.)  Let cool on the baking sheet for several minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To frost the cookies, place the confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl.  Add the melted butter, vanilla, and milk to the bowl and whisk until smooth.  Whisk in additional milk as necessary, 1 teaspoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.  Tint with food coloring if desired.  Use an offset spatula or spoon to frost the cooled cookies.  (If the frosting begins to thicken as you decorate, just continue to whisk in small amounts of milk to keep it workable.)  Top with sprinkles if desired.  Store in an airtight container.

* My dough was thick, so I skipped chilling it and just baked them. They baked up nice and fluffy and didn't spread.

** These don't stack well. The frosting sets up, but it gets a little smashed when stacked.

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