Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pistachio and Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

Sugar cookies might seem like ordinary cookies but when they are made with outstanding ingredients, they can shine.  What's more, they can be decorated, have things added to them, flavored in many ways, shaped to whatever creations you dream of; there's no end to manipulate sugar cookies.

The cookies I made yesterday were essentially icebox cookies because they were shaped in a log and refrigerated for several hours or overnight before being cut into rounds and baked.  This particular recipe has cream cheese in it that makes it super, super yummy!  The dough is rolled on to chopped salted pistachio which adds texture and not making this cookie a boring cookie in my opinion :)

To keep the dough logs perfectly round, put them in tall drinking glasses as they chill (I placed those glasses horizontally in the fridge).  As you cut the logs, rotate the logs to prevent one side from flattening.

Pistachio and Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

Makes about 44 cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons finely shredded orange or lemon peel

1/2 cup finely chopped lightly salted pistachio nuts

In a large bowl beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.  Add powdered sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.  Beat in egg and vanilla until combined.  Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer.  Stir in any remaining flour, and the orange/lemon peel.

Divide dough in half.  Shape each half into a 7 1/2-inch roll.  Roll dough rolls in pistachios to coat.  Wrap each roll in plastic wrap.  Chill about 1 hour or until dough is firm.  (Or freeze for up to 2 months.)

Preheat oven to 375 degree F.  Cut rolls into 1/4-to 3/8-inch slices.  Place slices 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are light brown.  Transfer to a wire rack; cool.

Source:  adapted from Better Homes & Gardens, Brownies & Bars, 2013

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