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No-Fail Sugar Cookies

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No-Fail Sugar Cookies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

The weather in Hawaii is beautiful. It never gets above 90 degrees. And while 85 may be beautiful at the beach, 85 in the kitchen is not so awesome. I’ve always had trouble with any recipe that involves rolling out dough, cutting and transporting it to a pan. Disaster almost always ensues. Butter melts quickly at 85 degrees. Everything falls apart. But today I’m feeling triumphant. I finally found a sugar cookie recipe that works.

No-Fail Sugar Cookies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

This recipe comes from Canadian cake goddess, Sweetapolita. It’s pretty much the perfect sugar cookie. They’re soft but sturdy and full of flavor. They taste great all by themselves, no frosting or glaze needed, but because they hold their shape so well when baked, they’re prime for decorating. 

The key is to keep everything well chilled. This dough goes in and out of the refrigerator or freezer three times. Make the dough. Chill it. Roll the dough. Chill it. Cut the dough. Chill it in the freezer. Having your cookie dough nice and cold when it goes into the oven prevents spreading so that fancy lion you cut still looks like a lion instead of some pathetic blob when you take it out of the oven. It takes a bit of time, but the results are so worth it. They work even in a warm kitchen. I’m so relieved to finally have a reliable sugar cookie recipe that works in Hawaii.

No-Fail Sugar Cookies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Maybe I should finally learn how to decorate sugar cookies now that I have a no-fail recipe. It’s about to get awesome.

No-Fail Sugar Cookies
Yields 24
Soft, sturdy, flavorful sugar cookies that work every time, even in a warm kitchen.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
2 hr
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
2 hr
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  2. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  3. 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  4. 1 cup sugar
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  7. 1/8 teaspoon lemon extract
Instructions
  1. Sift flour and salt together into a small mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar on medium high for about five minutes. Your butter mixture will become very pale and fluffy.
  3. Add in the egg and beat until combined.
  4. Turn your mixer as low as it will go and slowly add the flour, mixing until thoroughly combined. Mix in the vanilla and lemon extracts and crank your mixer up to medium for about 10 seconds to make sure everything is well blended.
  5. Carefully dump your dough out onto a large sheet of plastic wrap and press it together into a ball. Flatten the ball into a disk, cover completely and put the dough into the fridge for at least 45 minutes.
  6. Clear a space in your kitchen to roll out your dough. I have a baking mat that I then cover with parchment. Unwrap your chilled dough and place it on the parchment, then put another sheet of parchment on top. Scour your house for two objects that are the same thickness, preferably between 1/4 and 1/2 inch. I used two cutting boards. Places them on either side of the dough about as far apart as the span of your rolling pin. These will be your guides to make sure your dough is rolled to an even thickness. With the parchment paper over the top, roll your cookie dough until it's even with your guides. Slide something stiff under your rolled out dough, and transport it back to the refrigerator to chill for another 15 minutes.
  7. Preheat your oven to 325.
  8. Remove your rolled dough from the fridge, cut the shapes you want, place the cut dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, and then put the cookie sheet in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  9. Bake your cookies for 12 to 15 minutes. They'll still be quite pale, but you want them to set enough that they won't crumble when you try to frost them.
  10. Let the cookies cool on the pan for another 10 minutes, then remove them to wire racks to cool completely before decorating. Or not. They're totally awesome eaten plain.
Notes
  1. This may seem like a crazy amount of steps. Do not skip them, especially if your kitchen is warm. Cold dough is key.
Adapted from Sweetapolita
Adapted from Sweetapolita
How to be awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/

Brie and Blackberry Grilled Cheese

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Brie & Blackberry Grilled Cheese

Guess what, kids. I wrote a guest post for the lovely Katie of Clarks Condensed, and it’s about one of my very all time favorite subjects, cheese! I made this ridiculous Brie and Blackberry Grilled Cheese, and it’s out of this world. Head over to Clarks Condensed to get the recipe!

 

 

Whole Wheat Pancakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
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No-Fail Sugar Cookies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Whole Wheat Pancakes

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Whole Wheat Pancakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

We’re still living in diet land, and it’s just about as miserable and tiresome as you might think. I get absolutely no joy out of eating healthy food. I know that works for some people, but it just doesn’t work for me. That’s just how it is. I’ve got to have something to look forward to, and salad just isn’t gonna cut it.

This weekend, instead of traditional buttermilk pancakes, I made Whole Wheat Pancakes. Okay, I know, whole wheat pancakes are not health food. Baby steps, friends. The point is, they taste awesome, and the flour is at least slightly less processed, and that counts for a tiny little bit of something.

Whole Wheat Pancakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

The first time I made these pancakes I was skeptical. I thought they might be bland or tough. Turns out, they’re neither. These pancakes are actually fluffy and tender and loaded with flavor. The buttermilk brings a lot of flavor to the game, and melted butter is always a plus. And whatever you do, don’t forget to add the salt. It’s an absolutely necessary flavor component.

Now, one could argue that anything topped with butter and syrup would taste good, but I’ve had some pretty dismal pancakes in my life, and these are completely awesome. I might even prefer them to regular pancakes, unless my dad is making them. The whole wheat flour just adds some depth that normal pancakes can’t match.

Whole Wheat Pancakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Next time a lazy breakfast rolls around, make yourself Whole Wheat Pancakes from scratch. It’s ridiculously simple and super tasty. Enjoy life. That’s what it’s there for.

Whole Wheat Pancakes
Serves 2
Whole Wheat Pancakes are fluffy, tender, flavorful, and a tiny bit healthy.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup whole wheat flour
  2. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
  6. 1 egg
  7. 1 cup buttermilk
  8. 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
Instructions
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, gently whisk together whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Make sure the dry ingredients are well combined.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, and melted butter.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and whisk gently but thoroughly for about 10 seconds. Put down the whisk and set the bowl aside. A few lumps are not the end of the world. Keep mixing and you'll have heavy, chewy pancakes. Leave the batter alone for five minutes
  4. In the meantime, preheat a medium skillet over medium heat. Test it by flicking a drop of water into the pan. If it dances over the surface, it's perfect. If it just sits there steaming, it's too cool. If it evaporates instantly, it's too hot. We want a baby bear pan.
  5. I spray my pan every so lightly with non-stick spray between each pancake. Use a 1/3 cup measure to scoop out the pancake batter into your perfectly heated pan. The batter is thick, so use the bottom of the measuring cup to gently spread and flatten the batter just a bit.
  6. Cook two to three minutes, then flip and cook another two to three minutes depending on how brown you like your pancakes.
  7. Stack them up and serve them hot with butter and syrup or you favorite toppings.
Adapted from I'm Just Here for More Food
How to be awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
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