I'm rather stressed out today. Tim and I are supposed to be headed out to Oklahoma for Christmas, but our trip has been delayed because of the following:
1. Rock slide blocking I-40 in the mountains of NC
2. Snow storm clogging up our detour route through Virginia
3. Freshly broken tooth in the mouth of yours truly.
Not a happy day. But there's nothing I can do to change those things on this chilly Saturday night, so let's focus on something happy, huh? Something like baked goods!
Back in the 1990s, Corey's mother, Karen, frequently brought home these amazingly tasty sugar cookies topped with apricot icing. I think she bought them out of the back of some woman's car or something. They were obviously homemade - placed on a paper plate and wrapped with cling film, no hint of a price tag or ingredient list to be found. They were so tasty - so soft and chewy without the artificial-ness I taste in most cookies from commercial bakeries. And that icing! So unexpected and delicious.
Occasionally I think back to those amazing cookies & long to eat them again. Since Karen, rest her soul, has left us, I cannot ask her where she bought those cookies. Even if I knew it doesn't matter because I'm stuck in North Carolina now. There was only one thing to do: try to recreate the cookies at home. After tons of searching for the right cookie recipe, I found one on-line a few weeks ago that looked like it had great potential. I tweaked the recipe a bit and was quite pleased with the results. Tim took some to the office & our friend, Kevin, declared them the best sugar cookies he has ever eaten. They're easy to make, too, so if you're in the mood to get your bake on, give these a whirl.
Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar for rolling cookies
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. Using a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and very fluffy.
4. Beat in egg and vanilla extract.
5. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients.
6. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls. Dip bottom half of balls into sugar. Place balls sugared-side down on lined cookie sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart.
7. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly browned. DO NOT OVER-BAKE!
8. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.
I'm experimenting with the apricot icing. The icing I made this time is a blend of powdered sugar, apricot nectar, apricot extract, and a drop of red food coloring. I just kept adding stuff until it looked and tasted right. Don't you hate cooking directions like that? I know I do. At any rate, it was nice, but still not quite what I remembered. I think next time I'll try some apricot preserves instead. If I ever get it to a flavor I like I promise to pass it along.