Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap. ~ Barbara Jordan
We will be featuring regular posts from two beautiful, intelligent, creative young women. Even though I am partial to them because they are my daughters doesn’t mean it’s not true! The first is here today. Please show some blog love to Miss Emily.
This past fall, I started my very first year at the best culinary school in the United States. The Culinary Institute of America, located in the scenic Hudson Valley is where I now call home. I am currently enrolled in the CIA’s Baking and Pastry Arts Bachelor program. Since my classes consist of baking up delicious treats for all to enjoy, I decided to share some of the recipes with you.
The recipes I will be sharing are easy to do and require only simple ingredients and a scale. Many may ask, “Why a scale?” I will tell you: at the CIA all of our recipes are weighed out instead of being measured. The difference between the two is accuracy, which is very important when baking any product. Your products will come out the same every single time if everything is scaled correctly. One thing I was not aware of before starting at the CIA is that there are no uniform standards for measuring spoons. You can buy a set of measuring spoons from Bed Bath and Beyond and another from Home Goods, and the sizes may be completely different. This is just one example of why it is better for bakers to scale ingredients rather than measure.
With Valentine’s Day arriving in a few weeks, what better treat to share than sugar cookies? One of my personal favorites, they can be cut out in many different shapes and are very simple to make.
Here are the Ingredients you will need:
- Butter 9 oz
- Sugar 12 oz
- Eggs 2 oz
- Honey ½ oz
- Flour, Cake 10 oz
- Flour, Bread 5 oz
- Salt 3.5 gram
- Baking Soda 2 gram
- Vanilla 3 gram
The oven should be preheated to 350 degrees.
If you are new to scaling, it may be best to scale ingredients separately in labeled containers to ensure no mistakes are made.
Make sure the butter is cubed and COLD.
If you do not have access to cake and bread flour, All Purpose flour may be used. If using All Purpose Flour, the weight will be 15 oz of AP flour.
(Fun fact: AP flour is a combination of both cake and bread flour)
Always remember that in baking, sugar is considered a “wet ingredient” and should never be combined with “dry ingredients”
In a stationary mixer using the paddle attachment, add cubed butter and sugar to the bowl. Cream together on low speed until homogenous.
Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time to make sure all parts are incorporated. When the butter and sugar are creamed, the mixture should look like the image below.
Next, add your eggs in 3 to four increments, mixing after each part is added on low speed.
After all eggs are incorporated, mixture should look like this:
The next step is to combine your dry ingredients and sift them.
(cake flour, bread flour, salt, and baking soda)
After remaining dry ingredients are sifted, add to the mixture all at once.
Be careful when you begin mixing again. In the bakeshop, we “pulse” the mixer, turning it on and off quickly to make sure we don’t get a face full of flour!
When flour begins to incorporate, leave the mixer on low speed.
You should begin to see a dough forming
Lastly, add in vanilla and honey.
If adding food coloring, add only one to two drops at a time.
When finished, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
I like to shape my dough into a square for easier rolling later.
After dough is refrigerated, unwrap and place on a FLOUR DUSTED SURFACE. The flour dusting will ensure the dough does not stick.
*Before rolling the dough, beat it with your rolling pin. Yes, I mean hit your dough over and over with your pin; this will help prevent your dough from cracking when rolling it out.
Feel free to keep throwing flour ON TOP and UNDER your dough throughout the rolling process so it does not stick to your surface and rolling pin.
I like to break off pieces one at a time to roll out. I roll my dough ¼ of an inch thick, then cut with a cookie cutter.
I line my sheet pan with parchment paper and then line the cut out cookies up 4 by 6.
One last touch I like to do with my cookies before baking them, is to brush them (just enough to moisten) with a small amount of milk and sprinkle sanding sugar on them.
Bake the cookies at 350 degrees.
At the CIA, we are never given a time for any of our products. Our chefs want us to get used to always watching what we are baking.
Since these cookies are very thin, they only need to bake for 10 minutes or less. Please keep an eye on them, they are very easy to burn!
When finished, the cookies should be very light in color with only a little brown on the bottom and sides.
Let cool, and enjoy!