Thursday, May 24, 2012

Designed to Sell (Turbinado Sugar Cookies)

It's been a busy couple of weeks, lately. Between work, weddings, holidays, and our community's annual yard sale, we've been pulled in all directions. Our neighbors have always made mild fun of us for not participating in said yard sale. I just don't like to have extra things lying around the house in the first place, so there's never been anything to sell. This year, Aaron was keen on the idea of a bake sale to promote the blog, so into the kitchen we went.

The real challenge is not to keep them all for yourself

I have fond childhood memories of walking into town with my mom to buy sugar cookies, half dipped in dark chocolate, from the local bakery and feed the crumbs to seagulls by the ocean in the nearby park. Since maturing my palate, the dark chocolate becomes those cookies' saving grace, as I've come to look down on the simple sugar cookie as somewhat insipid. Characterized by either bland sweetness or an overbearing assault of almond or lemon extract, your standard sugar cookie has never been my favorite.

Second Thoughts?
That being said, there was something about the recipe on the back of my turbinado sugar bag that just kept tempting me with the idea every time I was baking something else. They just looked so warm and wholesome: golden tan, toasty, and sparkling with crystal sugar. It can also be a surprisingly good idea to use a brand's recommended recipes. Since they're designed to help sell product, these are typically the results of a battery of test kitchens, nationwide contests, or a popular professional chef. They're usually trying to put their best foot forward.

Sparkly, shimmery, sophisticated sugar
I've previously mentioned how I generally consider turbinado sugar and whole grain flour to be superior choices for the flavor and character they bring, and these are no exception. Soft, crumbly, and distinctive, these cookies are rich with an earthy, grainy toothsomeness. What starts with the light crunch of crisp, sandy sugar quickly melts in your mouth, becoming a swirl of sweet, buttery richness underpinned by the delicate molasses complexity of the turbinado sugar. Bet you can't eat just one.

Case in point
Whole wheat turbinado sugar cookies
Adapted from Wholesome Sweeteners

More vanilla, more salt, more cookies. How could one go wrong?

2 c turbinado sugar + 1/2 c for rolling
2 c butter, softened
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 tbs pure vanilla extract
4 c whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp sea salt

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line two cookie sheets with silpats.

The first step
Cream the sugar and butter together in large bowl (the sugar will remain crystalline and not dissolve). Beat together eggs and vanilla in a small bowl, then incorporate into the sugar mixture.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.

I shake my flour around in an airtight container, first, to loosen it up, adding air and volume
Use an electric mixer at the lowest speed to blend ingredients until just combined.

Scoop out rounded tablespoons and roll into spheres. Roll in additional turbinado sugar to coat.

We welcome you to munchkin land
Bake 11 minutes. Cool on pans 7 minutes. Remove to rack and cool completely.

Or at least completely-ish
Makes about three dozen cookies. Cheers!

PS. Thanks to all who stopped by the GourmetGents bake sale - it was wonderful speaking with so many of you about all things epicurean.

No comments: