Soft Sugar Cookies {Lofthouse-style}

Soft Sugar Cookies {Lofthouse-Style}

Years ago I had my first Lofthouse cookie. I remember the day clearly. Silly, right? To remember the day I had my first super-soft sugar cookie?

I was at one of my daughter’s summertime swim meets. Katie’s coach had brought a couple dozen of those delicious sugar cookies to share with the kids on the team and the stray mother of one of those said kids on the swim team. I don’t know who that mother could have been. Do you?

As sugar cookies go, I am generally not a fan. They have always seemed so blah, lifeless, except for the frosting and the sprinkles. What is it about frosting and sprinkles that can bring a smile, even on glum days?

Hey! I have ended each of the above paragraphs in a question. Poor writing. Or genius. Okay, maybe just distraction while I’m watching TV and writing this post. And eating some really great Lofthouse style cookies made from a terrific copy-cat recipe.

Soft Sugar Cookies {Lofthouse-Style}

The first recipe that I tried was great and I almost posted it right away. Then, the mad scientist in me decided to try one or two of the other recipes that I had found for Lofthouse-style soft sugar cookies. What, in theory, could have been a fairly quick bake-n-post recipe turned into a several day long process to find the “right” recipe.

Basically the differences between the recipes centered around which type of flour to use–cake flour or regular AP flour–and sour cream or no sour cream. The first recipe used cake flour, but did not have sour cream. The second recipe used all-purpose flour and sour cream. Just for grins and to complete my insane process of finding the best soft sugar cookie recipe, I tried the sour cream recipe using half AP flour and half cake flour.

Of course, I could have used other combinations of ingredients to experiment with the recipe, but really, I had to stop myself somewhere. I think my general level of insanity with recipe experimentation started after I became a food blogger. As I have read comments on other food blogs, and my own blog from time to time, there are invariably the “what if” questions. “What if I substitute this ingredient for that ingredient…will it work?” Those kinds of questions are scary because I don’t always have the answer.

I’m letting you know here and now, I have only tried three versions of a soft sugar recipe as previously described two paragraphs above this one. I don’t know if using all cake flour with sour cream will work well. I don’t know if the sour cream recipe will work using low fat sour cream. I don’t know anything about swapping egg whites for egg yolks. I don’t know about replacing some of the fat with applesauce (but my gut reaction is not to do it). I don’t know when the Second Coming will be, but I hope that it is sooner rather than later. 🙂

The one thing that I do know is this: After having bought a package of Lofthouse sugar cookies and tasting them to make a final comparison before I posted this recipe, I can unequivocally state that the first recipe with cake flour and no sour cream trumps Lofthouse and the sour cream recipe on flavor. Lofthouse may edge the homemade cookie out by a very narrow margin on softness, but the homemade cookie has pronounceable ingredients and brings a great sense of pride in accomplishing something wonderful in the kitchen.

Soft Sugar Cookies {Lofthouse-Style}

 

Soft Sugar Cookies

Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

Ingredients

    For the cookies:
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting work surface
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup all vegetable shortening (unflavored), at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • For the vanilla frosting:
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons half-and-half
  • food coloring, optional

Instructions

    For the cookies:
  1. Sift flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to blend. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, on medium speed, whip together butter, shortening and sugar until very pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scrapping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Add the egg and mix until combine.
  4. Add the egg white, vanilla and almond extract and mix until well combined.
  5. With the mixer running on the lowest setting, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
  6. Transfer dough to an airtight container and refrigerate 1 1/2 - 2 hours or until the dough is firm. (I refrigerated the dough overnight because that is what worked best for my schedule.)
  7. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375. Prepare cookie pans by either using a Silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.
  8. While the oven is heating, sprinkle a clean work surface with cake flour. Turn out half of the dough onto the work surface. Lightly sprinkle the surface of the dough with cake flour.
  9. Evenly roll dough out to a generous 1/4-inch thickness ( that means bigger than 1/4-inch but less than 1/2-inch ), or up to 1/2-inch for thicker cookies. ( The pictured cookies were about 1/2-inch in thickness because I ate all of the thinner ones. Yum. )
  10. Cut into desired shapes. (I used a medium heart cookie cutter and got 20 cookies).
  11. Transfer to Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets. Bake in preheated oven 8 - 11 minutes ( The cookies should be a pale color, not brown. Overcooking will cause a crispy cookie, which totally defeats the purpose of a soft cookie, right? ).
  12. Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet several minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool.
  13. Repeat the cookie process with the remainder of the cookie dough and as much of the dough scraps as you can use. The cookies that are made out of the dough scraps will still taste very good, but they may not be as soft as the cookies which were cut from the first pass.
  14. Cool completely then frost with Vanilla Frosting and add sprinkles if desired. If using sprinkles, be sure to sprinkle immediately after frosting each cookie so that the sprinkles will stick before the frosting sets.
  15. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
  16. For the vanilla frosting:
  17. Put all of the frosting ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric hand mixer, mix on low speed until ingredients are combined.
  18. Increase mixer to medium-high speed and whip until frosting is pale, smooth and fluffy.
http://tsgcookin.com/2013/02/soft-sugar-cookies/

I had a little buddy helping me with the finer points of the picture taking process. My pictures turned out substandard, but I only care a little bit. It was more fun and way more important to spend time with this guy and his older brother. Grandkids are definitely more important than a cookie photo shoot.

Soft Sugar Cookies {Lofthouse-Style}Soft Sugar Cookies {Lofthouse-Style}

Soft Sugar Cookies {Lofthouse-Style}

Soft Sugar Cookies {Lofthouse-Style}

Soft Sugar Cookies {Lofthouse-Style}

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Soft Sugar Cookies {Lofthouse-Style}

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