In elementary school my mom was famous. Not for her good looks or ability to kiss boo boos goodbye. No, she was famous for something much more...delicious. Her sugar cookies were known throughout our school district. People begged and pleaded for the recipe, but she kept it secret. As I got older my friends and boyfriends fell in love with my moms sugar cookies. High school parties were never complete without a big platter of my moms "half dips" the term lovingly coined for the famous cookies my mom dipped half in delicious melted frosting. Her cookies are truly a science that she has perfected over the course of a lifetime. The recipe I am sharing today IS NOT her recipe, however it has some similar components and is also very delicious. Like hers, these cookies have a subtle almond flavor and come out of the oven soft as a pillow (and stay that way for days). These sugar cookies are topped with a thick and creamy frosting, perfect for licking off and have hints of lemon throughout the dough. No better or worse than moms - just different. But most importantly delicious! If you're looking for a great sugar cookie give these a try!
Soft Sugar Cookies
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon lemon zest (from about 1 lemon) chopped finely
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add vanilla extract, almond extract and lemon zest; mix. Add two cups flour, baking powder and salt. Mix. Add remaining flour and mix just until flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth and soft, being careful not to over mix.
Dust the counter with flour and roll the dough to about 1/4-inch thick, maybe even slightly thicker than that, it's your preference. Rolling the dough thick is the important step to get the soft chewy cookies, rolling the dough too thin will make them crispy and unappetizing. Cut the dough into shapes using cookie cutters or even the rim of a cup. Place the cookies on a lined or lightly greased baking sheet. Gather up the scraps and repeat the rolling process until all your dough is used up.
Bake for 7-8 minutes. The cookies won’t appear browned on top (or on bottom) when they are done baking so don’t let them over bake! I find 6 to 7 minutes is about perfect but if they are even lightly browned on bottom, I decrease the time by 30 seconds. If they are still really shiny and doughy looking leave them in the oven for an additional 30 seconds.
Cool the cookies completely on a wire rack before frosting.
Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8 oz.) block cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
If cream cheese is not softened to room temperature, put it in the microwave for 30 second intervals until it's very soft to the touch. In a large bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla. Mix until very smooth and light and no lumps remain. If you are adding color to your frosting do so now to the cream cheese mixture. In a separate bowl, beat the cream to stiff peaks. Add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture folding in with a spatula, being careful not to deflate the delicate whipped cream. Mix until well combined and smooth, adjust color if you need to by adding more food coloring and folding gently in. Spread over cooled cookies, and