Kamran Siddiqi, the talented young blogger behind The Sophisticated Gourmet, has just released his very first cookbook - Hand Made Baking is a collection of over 75 of his favourite recipes, with drool-worthy photos to accompany each. It's been a long time in the making, and worth the wait - it's at the top of my list of new cookbooks this year.
Because sparkly sugar cookies are a must during the holiday season -especially when you have kids in the kitchen- his classic recipe is perfect for sharing. They're simple to bake - you can even make your own coloured sanding sugar - and perfect for making ahead of time - pure comfort and joy.
Sparkly Sugar Cookies
Kam says: To change things up a bit, use almond extract instead of vanilla extract. Almond extract is a little more powerful than vanilla extract, so I use only 1 tsp of it. Taste the dough after adding the extract, and if you feel it needs more, mix it into the dough in 1/4-tsp increments until the flavor is to your liking. Beautifully thin, soft sugar cookies covered in a ring of colored sugar: They’re every child’s— and in my case, inner child’s—dream. There is no need for excessive fuss with these cookies. You put everything into one bowl and mix until a dough ball forms. You can also use a food processor—remember to use the pulse function, as you don’t want to overmix the cookie dough.
Excerpted from Hand Made Baking by Kamran Siddiqi Copyright ©2014 by Kamran Siddiqi. Excerpted by permission of Chronicle Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
2 1/2 cups/300 g all-purpose flour
3/4 cup/150 g granulated sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine-grain sea salt
1 cup/225 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, roughly cubed
2 Tbsp milk or heavy (whipping) cream
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup/50 g colored sanding sugar
In a large bowl using a handheld mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, and salt on low speed for about 15 seconds. Add the butter, milk, and vanilla and mix on low speed until a dough ball forms.
Roll the dough into two 9-in/23-cm logs on parchment paper or plastic wrap, twisting the ends shut. Refrigerate the logs for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days.
Position a rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Unwrap the logs, roll them in the colored sanding sugar, and cut them into 1/2-in-/12-mm-thick rounds.
Place the cookies about 2 in/5 cm apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges are lightly golden brown. Allow the cookies to cool for a couple of minutes on the pans before transferring them to a wire rack. The cookies will keep in an airtight con- tainer at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Makes about 36 cookies.
For the pictured cookies, I used vanilla bean paste—I love seeing little flecks of vanilla bean throughout the cookies. If you’re interested in going my route, simply substitute vanilla bean paste one to one for the vanilla extract called for in the recipe. You can make your own colored sanding sugar if you have food coloring on hand. Use about 1⁄3 cup/65 g cane sugar, turbinado sugar, Demerara sugar, or plain granulated sugar to make your own. Just divide the sugar into small bowls, add a drop or two of food coloring (or the tiniest dab of gel coloring) to each bowl, mix, and . . . voilà! Colored sanding sugar.