Tag Archives: cookie

The Gentleman’s Sour Cream Sugar Cookie – Pillowy Perfection for Decorating

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Does it seem I make a disproportionate amount of sweets? I think it’s my genetic legacy; my Granny never skips dessert. And when we have family gatherings there’s always a “sampler” – multiple choices. It’s a wonder we’re not all obese.

But holidays and occasions, like Wednesdays or laundry day, warrant special treats, and that’s what I am going to deliver.

I am sure you’re familiar with those plastic containers of sweet, sweet pillowy cookies in the bakery at the market. Well, why not take that idea and improve upon it? I am also going to offer you two icing options: one that will set up and harden, and one that will be smoother and creamier. The choice is yours.

The secret here is the sour cream. It established the light textural component that give this cookie its signature bite.

I had a little kitchen helper during my test run. This is my 2 year old nephew, Tyce. Making cookies with family always makes it more fun.

So let’s get going!

What you need:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup butter flavor Crisco
  • 2 cups white sugar (vanilla sugar would be especially nice*)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 5 1/2 cups flour

Turn your oven on to 375 and allow to preheat. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, cream butter, Crisco, and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. A teaspoon of almond extract would also be nice here if you like that flavor.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Add a cup at a time to the bowl with the mixer on low. Mix ONLY until combined.

Working in batches, roll onto a floured surface, 1/4 to 1/3 inch thickness. Yes, that is on the thick side for a sugar cookie. Just trust me here.

Use your favorite cookie cutter and stamp out shapes. Now, given the consistency of this dough, intricate forms are going to really frustrate you. Stick with basics.

Put the cut dough on the parchment lined sheets, and slide them into the preheated oven.

Watch them like a hawk! You will want to pull them when they are still very pale and NOT browned. I pulled mine at only 6 minutes (using a convection oven) and they were perfect. Really, timing is crucial.

Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

And now the fun begins!

Royal icing dries hard, which is best for intricate decorating. Here’s how you make that:

What you need:

  • 3 cups 10x powdered sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • vanilla or almond extract
  • possibly a few drops of water

In a very clean electric mixer bowl, using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until they get white-ish. Sift the powdered sugar and add it to the eggs. Add your favorite flavoring component.

Beat until everything is combined. Depending on your needs, determine whether you need a drop or two of water. Remember, you are one frosting these things, so get it to the consistency that you need. Add colors, etc, and use your creativity!

Option #2 is a stiff buttercream that actually tastes better than royal icing, but doesn’t set up super hard.

What you need:

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine softened butter and sifted powdered sugar. Allow to combine, add flavorings. Eyeball the milk quantity; start with 2 tablespoons. If you want it a little looser add a third.

Frost to your heart’s content!

I hope this brings your taste buds and tummies holiday happiness.

xo,

The Gentleman Caller

Full downloadable PDF here: Sour Cream Sugar Cookie

*vanilla sugar: fill a jar with regular white sugar. Insert a vanilla bean and allow to sit for a few weeks. The sugar will take on the aroma.

The Gentleman Caller’s Linzer Cookie

img_8686

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Welcome back, you crazy carolers!

Alright, I am outing myself here. I am a cookie monster. I have been known to take a cookie to bed with me, and that’s not a euphemism. I could eat a cookie every day. During Trip of Love, given it’s proximity to Schmackary’s, NYC’s most renowned cookie purveyor, I DID eat a cookie almost every day.

My family has a long tradition of making several varieties of holiday cookie, some more notorious than others. There’s this one particular variety that are green butter cookie Christmas trees that – well, let’s just say there is a lot of green food dye in them and you might have a surprise the next morning.

While we’ve always made cookies, we didn’t do the Linzer traditionally. However, I have always thought them pretty and elegant. And perfectly seasonal. So I did a little development and here I present The Gentleman’s Linzer cookie.

What you need:

  • 2 sticks of butter – 16 tablespoons, softened OR 1 stick – 16 tablespoons of butter flavor Crisco + 6 tablespoons water**
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • strawberry (or your favorite red colored) jam (http://thegentlemancaller.net/the-gentlemans-momma-end-of-summer-strawberry-jam-video/)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

**I know I sound like a Crisco salesman, and yes, it is not good for you, but it makes a flakier cookie.

Preheat oven to 375.

In the bowl of your mixer, beat butter and sugar to cream, about 4 minutes. While creaming, sift flour and salt together. To the mixer add the egg and vanilla. Turn the mixer off. Spoon in the flour and salt mixture and stir to combine. This dough is stiff. If it’s especially dry in your house from radiant heat, or you live in Las Vegas or something, you might need a tablespoon of water. Humidity makes a difference in a stiff cookie.

Line a baking sheet with parchment. Take about a 2 cup ball of dough and roll it out on the parchment to 1/8 of an inch. Thin is your friend. Use a biscuit cutter to stamp out circles. Remove excess dough and reuse in the next batch you roll out. Use a smaller cookie cutter (or soda bottle cap or something else like that) to stamp out a relief in the middle. Reuse that dough as well. Not everyone has all these shapes and cutters. Be resourceful, you just need two shapes, one bigger than the other.

img_8672

Bake for 7 minutes. Check them. They should not get brown, only barely gold-ish. Watch them fastidiously.

Keep baking in batches. Allow them to cool.

Spread the tops (the ones with the hole in the middle) on wax paper. Put the powdered sugar in your sifter and dust the tops gently.

img_8675

Spread the jam on the bottom halves. Squish the two together.

img_8676

OPTIONS:

  • Cut the vanilla extract to 1 teaspoon. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract and use cherry jam instead of strawberry jam. Delicious.
  • To the dry ingredients, add 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon cardamom. Use orange marmalade instead of strawberry jam. Spicy.

These are very impressive on the plate and will impress people if you gift them. But good luck not eating them all yourself, says the self proclaimed cookie monster.

That’s all for now.

xoxo,

The Gentleman Caller

THE GENTLEMAN CALLER’S LINZER COOKIE