Soft Sugar Cookies {Lofthouse Style}

I don’t typically purchase items from grocery store bakeries, mostly because I prefer to bake my own and because their baked goods can be overly expensive. You probably already know where I’m headed and that is, that there ARE a FEW items from in -store bakeries that I really like and haven’t been able to duplicate (yet) in my home bakery kitchen. One such item that I’m sure many of you are familiar with are the large, soft almost cake-like iced & sprinkled sugar cookies; the cookies that practically everyone is addicted too loves. Yup, add my name to that list, along with the rest of my household. They are sold under various brand names such as Lofthouse, and many store bakeries sell their own brand. I don’t buy these cookies ($$), my mother-in-law does when she finds them on sale and suffice it to say she buys more than one box for our family of 6. I have been blessed in the mother-in-law department.

The good news is with so many people obsessed with these cookies, people are always posting recipes claiming that they have found “the one”.  Sorry to disappoint, this is NOT one of those posts. I surmise that the cookies will be difficult to replicate because I’ve read several “ingredient labels” and those store cookies contain chemicals & other ingredients that I just don’t bake with. However, these cookies are good – very close to the store versions. I did change it up a bit by making a few versions:

The  “funfetti” cookies were, FUN!! Especially with the pretty colors throughout the dough. Biting into one is like hosting your own party inside of your mouth 🙂

AND

I also made two batches, one using butter and one using “margarine”**. Now, before you gag or whatever, margarine was one of the ingredients I found on a local grocery store’s cookie label. (…and “no” judging me for using margarine from those of you that have either eaten the store bought cookies, any processed foods ever, or grew up in the 70s.) I did a little secret taste-testing with my human guinea pigs family members and the cookies made with margarine were the cookie that most of my family members preferred. I’ll stick with the butter version, but I included the option to use margarine based on the favorable results those cookies received. The margarine cookies turned out a little whiter & a little softer, more like the store’s version – go figure.

Soft Sugar Cookies – makes 18 large cookies (2 dozen smaller)

Ingredients ~
3 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter (or margarine)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla

optional: 2 Tbl nonpareils or  1/2 cup mini-chocolate chips

Directions ~

Pre-heat the oven to 400. Mix the dry ingredients together and set aside. Combine the butter & the sugar in a bowl until creamy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Slowly add the dry ingredients until mixed together (a sticky dough will form – see funfetti picture above). Optional: Add nonpareils or mini-chocolate chips. Cover or wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for an hour. After the dough has chilled, scoop out golf ball sized amounts, rolling into balls and flattening them into thick circles with your hands. Bake for 8-10 minutes, DO NOT allow to brown. The “key” to keeping the soft, doughy consistency of these cookies is to take them out of the oven, just as they set. **The cookies made with butter, browned on the bottom – the “margarine” cookies stayed white. Cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes and when the cookies can be handled transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

When the cookies are completely cool, they are ready to be frosted.

Ingredients:
1/3 cup butter, softened to almost melted (or margarine)
1 Tbsp vanilla (for white frosting, use clear vanilla extract)
3 Tbsp milk
5-6 cups powdered sugar (thicken to desired consistency)
gel coloring
sprinkles, nonpareils or mini-chocolate chips

Directions:
Use a fork to combing the butter, vanilla, and milk. By hand or with an electric mixer, slowly add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until the frosting reaches your desired consistency. If it gets too thick, add more milk in very small amounts, about 1 tsp at a time. The gel colors will dilute the frosting so I suggest coloring the frosting before adding more milk. Be sure to add the sprinkles quickly, working a few cookies at a time, before the frosting starts to dry & forms a crust preventing the sprinkles from sticking to the cookies.

*The frosting I used was more of a “glaze” consistency.

**Facts about margarine: Margarine is made from vegetable oils, so it contains no cholesterol. Compared to butter – Margarine is also higher in “good” fats — polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. Not all margarines are the same, typically the “spreads” are better than the “bars”.  When selecting a spread, check the Nutrition Facts panel. Pay attention to the grams of saturated fat & trans fat; it’s better for your health to purchase products that have the lowest combined amount. Also, look for products with a low percent Daily Value for cholesterol. – I feel much better now that I’ve explained that.

 

Sources:

Basic sugar cookie & frosting recipe slightly adapted from Hostess {with the Mostsess}®

The funfetti and mini-chocolate chip – my ideas (it’s a creative sugar thing, I can’t help myself).

Margarine facts from The Mayo Clinic


 

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