I’m not a baker and this fact should be evident. Baking, to me, is far too precise. You can’t deviate from the recipe in the slightest way without something going awry. That’s part of the allure of cooking for me. While baking is more of a science, cooking is an art. You can throw a little of this here, add a dash of that there. Yet, you also have to know when it’s enough. Every artist faces this dilemma, of knowing when to stop and say it’s enough.
That aside, My sister Sydney and I tried our hand baking together. While I dabble in cooking, she dabbles in baking. She’s made some of the best cookies (aside from Mum’s) that I’ve ever eaten. Her monkey-butt muffins are delicious and she makes a to kill for coffee cake. We were sitting around bored when I decided to show her the cookie cutters that I bought for my birthday. They’re from the game Portal by Valve and I absolutely adore them. She has a macabre sense of humour and thought that the portal men cookie cutters looked like chalk outlines of murder victims, or better yet ninjas. I’d never seen her so thrilled by something and I suggested we go bake cookies.
That’s where it began. From there, things went downhill. Granted, it was already 10:30 at night and we didn’t think about allowing the dough to set so we could use the cookie cutters. Why would we? We have always seen mum scoop the dough out of the mixing bowl onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. How hard could this be?
We started gathering the things we needed and came across the fact that we didn’t have any butter. This was fixable and we ended up getting butter.
Our first step was to take the sugar and butter and combine them in a mixing bowl.
… and ended up over-mixing it. That’s possible, right? If so, these cookies were doomed from the start.
Pairing the fact that we over-mixed the dough and chose not to refrigerate the dough like recommended, we faced the problem that the dough was too warm to roll out and move from the pastry mat to the pan.
This meant that our Portal men were loving limbs left and right, as shown above. Did I mention, the dough was really delicious too. But we’ll get to that.
Eventually, it became apparent that this just wasn’t going to work. Sydney and I cleaned up, put our dough into two different containers and called it a night. She went to NYC the next day and I spent the day out of the house, so fast forward to the following evening when we decided to pick back up.
The cookie dough was rock solid from it’s day-and-a-half stay in the fridge and it looked delicious. Sydney, Mum and I were all guilty of paring pieces off and eating the dough raw. CAUTION: I don’t recommend doing so. Consuming food with uncooked eggs can lead to infection and illness, so don’t do it. Anyway- we rolled out the cookie dough and at this point it was incredibly apparent that we had overhandled the dough. It was crumbly but we still continued on.
Now’s a good time to mention that this recipe is supposed to yield about 2-3 dozen. It only yielded about a dozen cookies, if even. But that was our doing. The dough was absolutely delicious raw.
Maybe we should have frosted them or not baked them so long. But Sydney and I weren’t fond of out handiwork. We had more fun putting mismatching limbs on other cookies than we did eating them. They were dry, which was admittedly probably our doing.
~Not My Recipe: Portal Sugar Cookies~
Yields 2-3 Dozen (if you don’t eat the dough raw along the way like we did. Which, you shouldn’t. It’s unhealthy for you)
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Bring your ingedients to room temperature before you begin.
- sift together the flour and salt. (So that’s where we went wrong too. We didn’t sift it)
- In an electric mixer, beat the butter on high until creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce mixing speed to medium and slowly add the sugar. Be sure to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. When the mixture is light and fluffy, add the egg and vanilla and beat for about a minute.
- Stop the mixer amd add about half the mixture. Beat on low about one minute, or until most of the flour has been absorbed. Then stop the mixer again to add the remaining flour. Beat until flour is absorbed and dough starts to separate from the sides of the bowl, about 2-3 minutes.
- Dump dough out onto work surface and divide in half. Shape each half into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- After 2+ hours, remove dough from refrigerator and let stand for 5 minutes. Flour your working surface while you wait. Roll the dough out to 3/16″-1/4″ thick.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Cut your desired shapes out. If you find the dough sticking to the cutter, dip the cutter into flour before using it on the dough. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to the baking sheet. Space the cookies 1″ apart.
- Bake until cookies are golden brown around the edges, 10-15 minutes. If you’re baking multiple sheets at once, rotate them 180 degrees halfway through.
- Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks to cool for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, transfer cookies to racks to cool completely. Once cookies are cooled, decorate as desired. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
PS: Next time, I think we’ll use Mum’s chocolate chip cookie recipe instead. Those never fail.