This week's SMS was chosen by Nina of Nina's Cupcakes: sugar cookies. I really like sugar cookies but I don't make them that often because royal icing and I don't get along all that well. Sure, I could leave the cookies plain and just eat them that way but their blank canvases and all of the endless possibilities for decoration are just too much for me to resist. Unfortunately, I'm just not very talented when it comes to royal icing. I really want to be good at it - I do. But first I need to develop some patience because I'm going to need a lot more practice to develop this skill! It took me an absurdly long time to decorate six cookies and I wasn't thrilled with the way they turned out, so definitely a lot of room for improvement!
Some of the SMS bakers who made these cookies early in the week reported they were bland so I made just a few changes to add some flavor. I love almond extract so I added 1/2 teaspoon in addition to the 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract the recipe called for. Also, I added the zest of an entire lemon. I think orange zest would work well in these cookies too and I may give that a shot if I make these again. I'd purchased cupcake-shaped cookie cutters last summer and was glad to finally have an opportunity to use them here. I snuck a few heart-shaped cookies in too because I've been feeling so much birthday love the past few days :) Since the book didn't provide instructions on how long to bake these cookies I kept an eye on them and thought about 10 minutes at 350 F was perfect.
The verdict? I liked them a lot - they were sturdy yet still chewy and their flavor reminded me a lot of my go-to sugar cookie recipe, mainly because of the almond extract in both. Shane ate some of the leftover dough (ok, I did too) and we both thought it was tasty. The dough was easy to work with and the cookies didn't puff or spread much in the oven, which is always important when making cut-out sugar cookies. Overall, a definite thumbs-up to these! Thanks to Nina for hosting this week! You can find the recipe on her blog.