A Tale of Two Cookies

Saturday I made 2 more batches of cookies, a vanilla sugar cookie made with cream cheese, which was supposed to make it easier to roll out, and a batch of gingerbread cookies. Both are new recipes I am testing.

The ginger cookies were a bit fussy to make, requiring a saucepan to heat the brown sugar, molasses and spices together, but are very good, and the dough is very easy to work with, although I was initially concerned with would be sticky. The only change I might make is to add 1/2 teaspoon of ground white pepper, or up the ginger a bit, but they are pretty good as is!

The sugar cookies I am less pleased with, partially no doubt because plain sugar cookies are my least favorite kind of cookie, but the dough was much fussier to work with, requring chilling before rolling out, then again before baking the cut cookies. And then they require more care in baking, too. For all that work and fussing, they don’t wow, they are a very plain tasting cookie –perhaps better for frosting, but we’ll see.

Gingerbread Cookies

  • 2/3 cup molasses
  • 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 T ground ginger
  • 1 T ground cinnamon
  • 1 t ground allspice
  • 1 t ground cloves
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 1 c unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 3/4 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t salt

Bring molasses, brown sugar, and spices to a boil in a 4- to 5-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, and remove from heat. Stir in baking soda (mixture will foam up), then stir in butter 3 pieces at a time, letting each addition melt before adding next, until all butter is melted. Add egg and stir until combined, then stir in 3 3/4 cups flour and salt.  Preheat oven to 325°F.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead, dusting with as much of remaining 1/4 cup flour as needed to prevent sticking, until soft and easy to handle, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Halve dough, then wrap 1 half in plastic wrap and keep at room temperature.

Roll out remaining dough into a 14-inch round (1/8 inch thick) on a lightly floured surface. Cut out cookies and transfer to baking sheets.

Bake cookies until edges are slightly darker, 10 to 12 minutes total.  Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese

  • 2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter cut into tablespoon-sized pieces, at room temperature
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 2 t cream cheese, at room temperature

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

Mix flour, sugar, and salt in mixer on low speed until combined, about 5 seconds. With mixer running on low, add butter 1 piece at a time; continue to mix until mixture looks crumbly. Add vanilla and cream cheese and mix on low until dough just begins to form large clumps.

Turn dough onto floured board; knead dough by hand; divide in half, form 2 disks, wrap each in plastic, and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Roll out dough to about 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut out cookies and transfer to baking sheets. Chill dough on cookie sheets for about 10 minutes, then bake cookies until edges are slightly darker, about 10 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

My opinion? Fussy, and too thin. I’m going back to my favorite Citrus Sugar cookies next year.

Citrus Sugar Cookies

  • 2 c flour
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt (scant)
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 1/4 t lemon zest
  • 1 1/4 t orange zest
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/4 c confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 egg

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl; set aside. Beat butter and zest in large bowl until light. Add sugars and beat until fluffy. Beat in egg. Add dry ingredients and stir until soft dough forms. Divide dough into thirds. Gather each third into ball; flatten into disks, wrap each in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Roll out one disk of dough on well-floured surface to 1/8- to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out cookies and bake on ungreased cookie sheets until cookies turn brown on edges, about 15 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.


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