Day 341 – National Sugar Cookies Day

Sugar cookies? In July? Wouldn’t these be a good thing to celebrate in the winter around the holidays? You know, when everyone is making sugar cookies and then decorating them to be festive? What’s the deal with making this a July thing? Can’t we think of something else to celebrate when it’s 90 degrees out? I still don’t understand how and why these holidays are created.

Don’t get me wrong, I like a good sugar cookie. In fact, I had a run in with them earlier in my quest when I made them for National Homemade Cookie Day. That was more about a wedding we were going to and about decorating them, and that I did alongside the tutelage of my sister-in-law Becky. Becky belongs to a very distinguished tribe of New Hampshire cookie artists. A cookie coven, sworn to uphold the divine secrets of the Ya-Ya Cookiehood. I suppose I am an honorary member of that tribe having learned at the foot of the master, but not really. I learned the task, but I don’t think I’ll ever make it to full-fledged status. I’m too impatient for cookie decorating and too Lenny-like, as Lola calls me – a reference to the character in Of Mice and Men who likes soft things but doesn’t know his own strength. Broken cookies would be my rabbits. I think that’s a club that would very politely and nicely tell me that this wasn’t the place for me. I was more suited for chocolate balls. Then they would send me on my way, hopefully with cookies and I would be pleased as punch. The rabbits would be happy too.

The recipe we used for those cookies was one that is battle tested and, as I can attest, delicious. One of the best parts about Becky’s cookies is that they taste good. You don’t expect that from cookies that are beautiful. You give beautiful cookies some slack thinking that all the energy went into making them pretty, but in fact, Becky’s cookies are  delicious. However, because I didn’t have any grand designs of decorating cookies today, I felt I should keep her recipe sacred. I’ll save that for what it was intended. I’d make another kind of sugar cookie. That made me ask myself one important question: what is a sugar cookie?

By definition, a sugar cookie consists of sugar, flour, butter, eggs, vanilla, and either baking powder or baking soda. It seems like a peculiar classification because most cookies have sugar in them, at least the good ones. The modern sugar cookie traces its roots back to the 1700s and Nazareth, PA where German settlers created round, crumbly, buttery cookies that came to be known as the Nazareth Sugar Cookie. It seems like the Pennsylvania settlers created most of the good food we eat today. The Nazareth Sugar Cookie is actually Pennsylvania’s official cookie thanks to some legislative magic in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The cookie is the model of all modern sugar cookies that we know of today, so that’s the standard. I wanted to make something similar, but different, so I looked up recipes on Averie Cooks.com and I found one for Softbatch Funfetti Sugar Cookies.  This would work. This would give me the sugar cookie taste but in soft batch style and with added flavors inside thanks to the sprinkles. I was familiar with Averie’s cookies too and they are always the best.

I actually made the batter on Saturday. Averie is a stickler for chilling your dough, so to make it right, you make it early and let it sit in the fridge. This seemed especially important in the summer when we were battling hot temperatures. It was an easy recipe. Probably took about 15 minutes to get it all together. I made it Saturday morning before we left for our adventures. That gave the dough time to chill overnight. Today I woke up and after I made my coffee, I decided to bake the cookies. They were all ready to go – even formed into cookie-shape – so I turned the oven on, placed the dough on cookie sheets and had fresh baked cookies ready before 9 am. That worked out well so the kitchen didn’t get too hot from the oven before the afternoon sun kicked in. The cookies looked a bit underdone, but the recipe said they would look like that. If you want them soft batch, they have to come out a little early and then they would cool and harden while they rested.

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I let them chill for a while but probably ate one for breakfast at about 10:30. The taste was spot on. Nice and soft and chewy. They were doughy too. I am still not sure if I undercooked them. She said to not cook them more than 9 minutes and I did not, but I felt like they would have done well with an extra minute or so. The center was like eating cookie dough. That’s not a terrible thing. It was a good dough. It just got too sweet for me. Lola liked them. I told her they taste like dough and she matter-of-factly replied that she likes cookie dough. And she does. She was a fan. I got a bite which had a bit of crispiness to it like a usual sugar cookie has and that made we want a fully crispy sugar cookie. You live and learn. They were tasty, I just think I wanted the traditional cookie. I should have made Becky’s recipe.

These sat on our kitchen table for most of the day which meant we snacked on them throughout the day. The lesson there is to always put your cookies out of sight. I wanted to do a little more with them and because it was hot, I decided to make some ice cream sandwiches. I took some vanilla ice cream and put a scoop between two cookies. Then I closed them up. I put them in the freezer until later. After dinner, I busted them out. It was kind of late and we were tired, so I decided to cut one and half and save the rest for another day. These were good too, although the same story for me – the cookie was too doughy. A great treat for a hot Sunday night though.

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I had high hopes for this recipe because Averie’s recipes are always so good. This one was good, it just didn’t do it for me. Maybe it was too doughy or maybe it was just because sugar cookies get too heavy in the heat of summer. Yes, this would have been a better cookie in colder weather. It was on the heavier side and warming. I didn’t need that today. Still, I celebrated. You can’t ignore celebration just because you disagree with the timing. A cookie can come at any time. The sugar cookie brings joy in any season and that is what we were saluting today. The sweet taste of celebration. Now excuse me while I go tell Lola my dream about the rabbits. Why is she standing behind me?

Next up: National Piña Colada Day 

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