My oldest daughter has a "signature cookie" that she likes to bake, so I knew it was just a matter of time before her little sister decided she needed to find a signature cookie of her own, so she pulled out the Martha Stewart Cookie Book and started thumbing through the recipes.
Her initial selection was a chocolate gingerbread cookie, but she quickly changed her mind when she read that the cookie dough had to rest in the fridge for a couple of hours before baking (an impatient baker, just like her mom). Pick number two didn't require any refrigeration so it was quickly bumped up to the top of the list - her selection - huge 4-inch Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies from the soft and chewy chapter.
The recipe calls for both white granulated sugar and brown sugar. Also lemon zest and juice, but we decided that we'd like to try orange next time (lime would also be good). Overall they were great - the dough is a snap to put together, and it's really easy to portion using a 2-inch ice cream scoop as directed by the recipe (a #20 scoop).
I'm pretty proud of my little one. She gathered all the ingredients, read through the recipe instructions before beginning, and after I helped her with the first couple of batches, she was able to completely take over the remaining batches without any assistance from me. This was her first solo baking experience, and I can surely say she's a natural! I feel so blessed that both of my daughters will be able to bake for me if ever I decide to hang up my apron!
Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies
adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies
makes 18 4-inch cookies
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar (dark brown is fine too)
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (orange or lime would also be nice)
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (orange or lime would also be nice)
Sanding sugar for sprinkling (Turbinado or 'Sugar in the Raw' could also be used)
Preheat oven to 350F. In a med bowl, combine flour baking soda, and salt; set aside. In stand mixer bowl, cream sugars and zest with the paddle attachment (I used my favorite BeaterBlade attachment). Add butter and beat until light and fluffy (a minute or so). Add eggs, one at a time. Add juice. Reduce speed and slowly add reserved dry ingredients. Mix just until incorporated.
Using a 2-inch ice cream scoop (#20), drop dough onto silicone or parchment lined cookie sheets (6 per sheet). Be sure cookies are spaced 3 inches apart. Press dough slightly to flatten the tops, sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove immediately from cookie sheet and cool completely on wire racks. Store in airtight container.
Notes - recipe can definitely be doubled (use a 6-qt or larger mixer). For best results, bake one tray at a time. Be sure cookie sheets are completely cool before using. To maintain soft, chewy texture, store cookies in an airtight container soon after they've cooled completely.