Sugar Cookies

Since I have 4 essays due this week, along with something like 13 chapters and 6 articles of assigned reading, I decided today would be a good time to bake cookies. (It’s nursing school logic. Just accept it.)

A couple of weeks ago I realized that I had become addicted to Lofthouse cookies. I was having cravings for them, and looking for excuses to go to Fred Meyer so I could snag a package. The things cost like $4 for 10 cookies, though, which is just ‘way too expensive to be snarfing them down at the rate I wanted to. So like any good addict, I set out to see if I could make my own.

A few minutes of searching yielded about a dozen recipes purported to taste like the object of my desires. Since then, every time the craving hits, I’ve been heading into the kitchen and whipping up a new batch. (Recipes mentioned here are reproduced at the end of this post.)

The first recipe I tried was Roxymom’s Sugar Cookies. They didn’t really taste like Lofthouse, but I didn’t care, because I actually liked them better. The recipe calls for cream, but I didn’t have any when I made the first batch, so I used whole milk instead. I’ve since tried them using cream, and I really couldn’t tell the difference.

The second recipe I tried was supposedly the original Lofthouse recipe, which had been given to someone by the granddaughter of the woman who started the company. They actually did taste a lot like Lofthouse cookies, but after the Roxymom recipe they were just too bland and tasteless to capture my attention. With frosting they probably would have been fine, but why go to all that trouble (not to mention the extra calories!) when the others were so much better without frosting?

Today I tried a third recipe, Melt in Your Mouth Sugar Cookies. Jeff says this one is the best so far, and I think I agree, although it’s a close call. I didn’t use olive oil because all I had was extra virgin, which has a pretty strong flavor, and I didn’t want cookies that tasted like olive oil.

Everyone has their own secrets for how to make the best cookies, so I’ll give you mine. When the recipe says “cream butter and sugar together” I use the gradeschool definition of “cream,” as in, “my big brother’s gonna cream you!” I turn the mixer on high and let it go for a good 5 minutes or so, until that stuff is really creamed. And I’m too lazy to wait around for the butter to soften, so I just slice it up cold and let the mixer deal with it. So there you go.

Here are the three recipes mentioned, in order of how well we like them:

Melt In Your Mouth Sugar Cookies

½ cup butter
½ cup olive oil (I used vegetable oil)
½ cup sugar
½ cup powdered sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Cream butter, oil and sugars. Add egg and vanilla. Sift together dry ingredients and add them slowly to the creamed mixture. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. The original recipe said to flatten with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar, but they flatten pretty well on their own, if you want to skip that step. Bake for 10 minutes.

Roxymom’s Sugar Cookies

¾ cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup heavy cream (whole milk works fine)
2 ¾ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt

Cream butter and sugar, then add remaining liquid ingredients. Gradually sprinkle in soda and salt with the mixer running, then mix in the flour.

The recipe I found said to roll out the dough and cut cookies, but I found it too sticky to roll. Maybe if you let it sit in the fridge for a while it will stiffen up, but I just dropped it by spoonfuls onto the cookie sheet, and it worked fine that way.

Bake at 350ºF for approximately 10 minutes.

Original Lofthouse Cookie Recipe

2 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups cream (I only had a cup, so I used half whole milk)
2/3 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups shortening
Vanilla to taste
Enough flour to form a soft ball (I used about 3 ½ cups)

There were no specific instructions given, so I made up my own: Cream butter and sugar, then add remaining liquid ingredients. Gradually sprinkle in soda and salt with the mixer running, then mix in the flour.

I dropped these on cookie sheets too, but found they needed to be flattened a bit as they didn’t flatten much on their own. Bake at 350º for about 10 minutes.

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