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  • Leigh

The Perfect Cookie: How I Botched It

A lot of cookbooks, websites, and TV cooks/chefs are eager to tell you how to make the perfect cookie. Well, I tried the "perfect cookie." It didn't work for me, even though I actually followed the directions--which, admittedly, is not always the case. The "perfect cookie" I tried was a sugar cookie from America's Test Kitchen. I opted for sugar cookies in response to my son's request not to "make any cookies that are weird or that have nuts or raisins in them." Guess he didn't like the trail mix cookies. He previously said he was off chocolate to see if it was irritating his stomach. Okay. So, nothing chocolate, either. Sugar cookies it was. The recipe I have for "perfect" sugar cookies said they were chewy with a nice, crackly surface. That sounded good. The problem was that when I attempted the recipe, it turned out dough that was way too soft--impossible to roll into little balls that could be coated with sugar. I refrigerated the dough, plopped the dough on the cookie sheets rather than rolling out little balls, and baked the dough (sprinkling the tops with sugar). The resulting cookies looked okay and were chewy. Nonetheless, they were sort of flat tasting, in my view. Apparently my baking efforts were far from "perfect." So I decided to tinker with the recipe to make something that works for me. I'm not sure the cookies I produced are "perfect," but they're pretty good for sugar cookies. They're chewy, flavored lightly with orange zest and almonds, and roll easily. They have nice crinkly tops and no raisins or nuts. The cookies also go quite well with a glass of lemonade. See what you think.

Not Your Perfect Sugar Cookie

Not Your Perfect Sugar Cookie -- Makes 24-26

2 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour

1/2 cup of almond flour

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1 3/4 cups of sugar, divided

2 ounces of cream cheese, softened

6 tablespoons of butter softened

1/3 cup of canola oil

1 large egg

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1 teaspoon of almond extract

2 teaspoons of grated orange zest

1 tablespoon of orange juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, almond flour, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, place the butter and cream cheese and stir in 1 1/2 cups of the sugar gradually. Stir in the oil until blended (gently, or it will skoosh out). Add the egg, vanilla, almond extract, orange zest, and orange juice and stir until incorporated. Gradually stir the flour mixture into the wet mixture until you have a smooth dough. Roll pieces of the dough into walnut-sized balls and then roll them in the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Place the balls a couple of inches apart on the baking sheets (don't put more than nine cookies on a sheet--they'll spread). Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes or until they're just barely browning on the edges. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for a few minutes before removing them to cool completely.

Orange-Almond Sugar Cookies

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