Every year, I bemoan the fact that I don’t like any of my sugar cookie cutout recipes. I have one drop sugar cookie I like, but as I get older it seems too sweet for me, and I’m really looking for something I can shape. Baking and decorating cookies can kill a good hour (or more) and in a house with wee ones, we’re always looking for ways to kill time. I mean–we’re always looking for educational activities. Yes–and baking cookies teaches counting, turn-taking, patience, and fine motor skills (scooping and leveling flour, pressing cookie cutters, pinching just the right amount of sprinkles). Plus the outcome is lovely. If you have a good cookie recipe.
I didn’t have one. So I decided to make one up. And after tinkering with over the last two years, I’m ready to share it with you. It stamps perfectly, holds its shape, doesn’t puff at all, and has a lovely texture and taste. I credit the white chocolate in the dough; maybe, scientifically, that’s wrong. Maybe it wouldn’t taste or bake any differently if I subbed the white chocolate/coconut oil mixture with another three tablespoons of butter and two of sugar. But I doubt it.
Either way, here’s the recipe. I know the cookie season has basically come to a close and the New Year’s diets begin soon, but keep this one in your pocket in case you need a really nice shaped cookie.
White Chocolate Sugar Cookies
4 oz white chocolate
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups all purpose flour
Preheat your oven to 350F.
Over a double boiler, melt the white chocolate with the coconut oil. Set aside to cool.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, and white chocolate until pale and fluffy (the chocolate can still be fairly warm, especially if the butter isn’t 100% soft–just make sure the bowl is cool to the touch and the mixture is smooth before moving on to the next step).
Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well combined, scraping down the bowl if necessary.
Add the salt and flour and stir until just mixed. You might have to stir a bit by hand or even turn the dough out and knead it lightly to get it to pull together into a ball.
If you have impatient children baking with you, you can roll this out immediately between two layers of plastic wrap and cut shapes. If not, chill for about a half an hour. Either way, the dough will need chilling between the first roll and the second. (Always roll out between plastic wrap. Don’t add unnecessary flour or powdered sugar to the mix. I mean, you can, but it won’t be the same, and each batch will be slightly different from the last.)
Bake cookies at 350F for about 15 minutes, depending on their size and how crisp you like them. I like to pull mine out before the edges are brown. With this recipe (and a medium to small cookie cutter) this will still produce a nice, crisp cookie with a short texture.
Frost with royal icing, plain water icing, or my favorite–more melted white chocolate (4 oz melted with 1 tbsp coconut oil, as above, though you might need to double or even triple that depending on your icing technique). Top with flaked coconut, crushed peppermint, sprinkles, sanding sugars, chopped nuts or nut brittles. You could add citrus zest to the dough, or sub maple extract for the vanilla (though maybe a little less?) or add lavender or rosemary or five spice. Just thinking about the possibilities makes me want to get baking. It’s a blank canvas, so go crazy!