One of the fun things about sugar cookies is decorating them. This is true when you are making them with your kids, but shouldn’t it also apply when you are making them with and for adults? This recipe starts with a sugar cookie everyone can love: it has a buttery flavor, a chewy texture, and the crunch of sparkling sugar. The fun starts when we make the ‘fairy dust.’ My kids raided the cupboards, pulling out snack foods, breakfast cereal, and of course, chocolate in any form. They loved throwing things into the coffee grinder, rolling cookie balls in sugar and fairy dust, then seeing what they tasted like on the baked cookie. It was also fun for me to explore my spice rack and pantry to try things like sea salt, lemon, tea, and coffee to see which the adults liked best too. Overall, fun was had all around. Only one question remains: what do you have in your cupboards? —monkeymom
butter (2 sticks)
light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups
lemon zest (or substitute 1 tsp vanilla extract, if you prefer)
2 1/4 cups
all purpose flour
freeze dried strawberries/cherries/blueberries (I found these, from a company called 'just tomatoes' at Whole Foods)
Melt one stick butter. Add to mixing bowl with sugars and beat.
Cut other stick of butter into small pieces. Add to butter/sugar mixture and beat until light colored, scraping sides occasionally. Add eggs and vanilla and beat again until batter is smooth.
Add flour, salt, and baking soda and mix to blend evenly.
This step is very important: Refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour.
Roll or scoop dough into walnut size balls. Coat with turbinado sugar, then with fairy dust. Do not flatten.
Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool.
Notes: When using dusts made from acidic things, like fruit or coffee, the cookies tend to spread a little more. They need an extra minute or so in the oven. Cookies with lemon zest, ground snack foods, or with just turbinado don't spread as much and come out done in 10 minutes. Try to bake cookies in groups with similar types of dust. If you desire a cookie with more crumb and less chew (a little bit cakier), then add 1/4 tsp baking powder along with the other dry ingredients..
Combine 2 Tbsp sugar with either a small handful of the freeze dried fruit, 2 Tbsp coffee beans or 1 Tbsp lemon zest in a coffee or spice grinder. Grind to fine powder. Remove to small bowl.
Some items grind well on their own and don’t need added sugar. These include cereal and chips.
For sea salt or other spices, on can mix with sugar or just evenly distribute and press some into top of ball before cooking. You should feel free to change the proportions of sugar to your chosen item.
The dusts shown in the picture are (clockwise from upper left): lemon, strawberry, coffee, green tea, sea salt, and blueberry.
My favorite distraction is to cook. Though science and cooking/baking have a lot in common, I'm finding that each allows me to enjoy very different parts of my life. Cooking connects me with my heritage, my family, friends, and community. I'm really enjoying learning from the food52 community, who expose me to different ingredients and new ways to cook.