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Author Topic: American Sugar Cookies Recipe, tried and tested for the UK  (Read 11245 times)
Mrs C
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« on: December 12, 2010, 09:52:53 AM »

I'm a bit of a sugar cookie perfectionist.  I believe I've found the perfect recipe for UK flour.  I see many people like to increase the flour content, but I've chosen to decrease the butter content instead.  The original recipe called for a whooping 227g of butter which UK flour can't contain; the cookies will spread and not hold their shape.  

With the modified version below, there is no spread and intricate cookies such as snowflakes come out beautifully uniform.

A few tips to prevent the dreaded spread:

  • Roll dough straight out of mixer on to floured parchment paper and cut shapes.  Using parchment paper and flour allows you to easily remove the still sticky dough without distorting the cookie's shape.
  • Line small cookie sheet with parchment paper, place shapes on, cover with plastic wrap/tin foil and freeze for at least an hour.  Overnight works too.
  • Remove shapes to defrost whilst oven is pre-heating.  Don't over do it because you don't want them any where near room temperature.
  • DO NOT put a cold cookie sheet with the cold cookies in a oven.  You will lower the oven temperature and may cause condensation on the cookies.  It's ok to put cold cookies in the oven, but do make sure the cookie sheet is room temperature.
  • You don't have to cut shapes out and freeze.  You can simply roll the dough out flat and freeze, then cut shapes just before baking.  I find this a bit more tricky and at risk for spread because you invariably have scraps that you have to re-roll.  Re-rolling very cold dough is not easy, plus multiple re-rolls will bring the dough back to room temperature.

Good luck and happy baking!

Basic Rolled Sugar Cookies
Courtesy of Karen's Cookies

Please note cup measurements are American cups!

   * 132g 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
   * 1 cup superfine sugar, or granulated sugar, processed in blender or food processor for 30 seconds
   * ½ tsp. Salt
   * 1 large egg
   * 1 large egg yolk
   * 2 tsp. Vanilla extract
   * ½ tsp. Almond extract or emulsion, optional
   * 2 ½ cups plain flour all-purpose flour.

Cream butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes with mixer set at medium speed. Add yolk, beat well. Add whole egg, vanilla and optional almond extract and beat until well-incorporated. Add flour; beat at low speed just until flour is mixed in; do not overmix. Divide dough in halves or thirds and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least one hour and up to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Dust work surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll dough to 1/4" thick, sprinkling with additional flour as needed to prevent sticking. Cut into desired shapes and place on parchment or silicone-lined pans. Bake in preheated oven until cookies appear dry on the surface and are light golden brown on the edges, about 10 minutes (very large cookies may take up to 12 or 13 minutes). Remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks and cool completely before decorating.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2010, 07:03:13 PM by Mrs C » Logged

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Jewlz
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« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2010, 10:08:28 AM »

Thank you soooo much! I have these beautiful snowflake cookie cutters, but could never find the right recipe to use with them! What sort of temperature setting would you use for a fan oven (in Celsius). Maybe 160C?
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Mrs C
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« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2010, 10:53:01 AM »

Truth be told, Jewlz, I don't pay careful attention to the C setting.  I have an oven thermometer in both C/F.  I shoot for 375F thermometer using fan/elec.  My oven was set (I think) somewhat close to 190C.

Here are two pictures with an intricate shape (sorry for the crappy shot).  The ridges on the snowflake held consistently and even the snowman's bauble hat and carrot nose held beautifully.
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Mrs Robinson
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« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2010, 11:03:50 AM »

Your cookies are so lovely, Mrs C!  Grin

The last couple of years I've used a Bon Appetit magazine 'cooking school' recipe, and they usually come out fine.  I just have Christmas tree, star & bell cookie cutters though - don't think I would chance snowflakes - lol!

I want cookies now!  Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2010, 11:13:02 AM »

Thank you, Mrs R!  Now off to lay some meringue powder buttercream icing!
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« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2010, 11:26:38 AM »

Yay thank you Mrs C!!! Just yesterday I was looking around for a sugar cookie recipe I can use with the kids for cut out decorations. This has made my day!  Grin
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« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2010, 01:40:29 PM »

Thanks for this! I am not a cookie maker, but I am amazed at how beautiful your cookies shapes are! More photos when they are decorated please!

Its cupcakes or cakes for me, more room for error!!! Enjoy your sugar cookie making ladies & gents!!!
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« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2010, 01:48:36 PM »

Thanks for this! I am not a cookie maker, but I am amazed at how beautiful your cookies shapes are! More photos when they are decorated please!

Yes, more pics please! Could you share an easy white icing recipe for the snowflake cookies? Last year I just dusted them with icing sugar since I'm not a really skilled decorator, but thought I might be a bit more daring this year (and the icing sugar was so messy!  Tongue) I have a Tala piping bag and nozzles, so I could try just piping some out on the top, or maybe just make a glacé icing and smooth it over the top... hmmm. Any suggestions from such a skilled cookie maker would be appreciated!  Wink
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« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2010, 02:14:30 PM »

Mmmm.....  I love sugar cookies.  But I didn't bring my cutters with me, they're back home with my daughter and grandson who will be using them today.   Smiley

As for butter content, I frequently reduce it when making cookies.  Less butter/margarine in chocolate chip cookies keeps them from spreading too flat.  But I still add extra flour over here, it just works best for me.

I wish UKY had smell-a-vision Mrs. C because I'll bet those cookies smell heavenly.
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« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2010, 02:19:07 PM »

Courtesy of Karen's Cookies, but modified by Kay and further modifications by me to suit UK ingredients.

Again, any cup/spoon measures are American.

Meringue Powder Buttercream Icing

    * 1/2 cup 1/3 cup water
    * 5 individual packages of Dr Oketer egg white powder, about 30g 3 T. meringue powder
    * 4 tbsp ½ cup shortening (really recommend Crisco!)
    * 1kg 4 ½ cups powdered sugar (1 lb. 3 oz. If you have a scale)
    * 1 tsp. vanilla extract (use clear vanilla if you want a pure white icing)
    * ¼ tsp. almond extract

Place half of the powdered sugar and the meringue powder in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk together well. Turn on mixer (use whip attachment) and, while motor is running, slowly stream in the water. Mix until everything is incorporated. Turn mixer to high speed and whip until stiff peaks form. Add flavorings and mix well. Change to paddle attachment (for stand mixer) or dough hook (for Bosch). If using a hand mixer, use the same beaters you were using before. Add remaining powdered sugar and shortening and whip for 2-3 minutes more.

Note: Don't skimp on the whipping time after adding the shortening. You really need to whip it well to prevent separation later.


You will need to add more water to suit the application (flooding v detail).  I use the 5-6 second rule to flood (slide knife through surface and should flatten totally within 5-6 seconds).  And 10 seconds or more for detail.  Icing is very much trial and error to learn what is right for your application.

I use the whisk in both steps.  I also like to make the icing the day before because colours will darken and air bubbles are less likely.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2010, 05:23:44 PM by Mrs C » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2010, 03:03:01 PM »

Thank you so much for posting this!
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« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2010, 03:17:13 PM »

Is Crisco available here? I've never seen it in my area. Would Trex be a suitable alternative? It seems to work well in my pastry and other cookies that call for Crisco. Thanks for posting that! I've never seen the egg white powder, either, but I've not looked for it. Maybe I could order it through Tesco or something.  Undecided
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« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2010, 04:24:49 PM »

I have used Stork instead of Crisco.  I only have one recipe I use it for as I prefer butter, but my husband loves these cookies so I am worried if I try to change it.  HA!
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« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2010, 04:34:24 PM »

The Pioneer Woman just had a post about decorating cookies. I'm thinking about making Martha Stewart's chocolate pepper cookies instead of sugar cookies. I'm not a big sugar cookie fan. I made the chocolate ones years ago and they roll out well and look great with white piped icing.

http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/chocolate-black-pepper-cookies

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/12/decorated-christmas-cookies/

Cait, your cookies look amazing!

MTA - that recipe for the chocolate cookies is not tested for the UK needless to say!  I never got around to trying it.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2010, 04:37:01 PM by balmerhon » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2010, 05:20:00 PM »

Jewlz, egg white powder can be found at Tesco or Sainsburys.  Never had a problem finding it on the shelves in my area.

My husband buys Crisco for me in London or we get it online.  I have been tempted to try Trex and I do use it some baking, but I am quite concerned about consistency.  Crisco is really smooth, where Trex doesn't appear quite so processed.  That leads me to concerns over whether it will full incorporate into the sugar and if you don't, it will split later on.

Would be interested to hear whether it works for anyone!
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