Not everybody does Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving. Around our house the tradition is to serve a Beehive Cake. One reason we do this is because Pumpkin Pie has never been one of my moms' favorites and my relatives won't even touch my homemade Mincemeat Pie... even though there is no meat in it. They just don't like the way it sounds. When we were living in LA full time, I always made Mincemeat Pie and Pumpkin Maple Pie for Thanksgiving. We usually had anywhere from 20 to 30 people at the house and none of them turned up their noses at Mincemeat.
In Northern California my family has always served Beehive Cake for Christmas and Thanksgiving. It's a cake that seems indigenous only to this area (really) and there never seem to be any leftovers.
Which brings me to the subject of sugar cookies.
Since Thanksgiving is usually a family holiday at our house, we love to invite friends and neighbors over the day after for whatever treats might be left over. Sometimes they bring things too, and it turns into a day-after Foodie Swap Meet. The question I'm always faced with is what's for dessert???? This year I know what I'm serving. Sugar Cookies!
How did I come to bake these?? Well, a few weeks back I was invited by the Culinary School at Baltimore International College, to try out one of their recipes in my own kitchen and write about how it worked out. Since the holidays were upon us, I decided that what I needed more than anything would be some cookies. And since I'm not a huge cookie baker (Indian cuisine does not really feature cookies) I decided what better recipe to try out this time of year than one for Sugar Cookies.
Cookies have never been a happy memory in my house. Growing up, my mom always made butter cookies which could also double for skeet shooting targets. Seeing how these turned out most likely warped me, because nothing makes me more nervous than cookie baking. I'm cool with cakes, and pies are fine, but just don't wave that cookie sheet in my face. I'll freak out.
Not that I'm a total cookie virgin. There are basically two types of cookie that I make. Oatmeal raisin and biscotti. Beyond that, it's a total crap shoot as to how they'll turn out. This I thought, would be the perfect test for their recipe. If my cookie-challenged skills could turn out decent sugar cookies, I'd feel safe passing the recipe along. So BCI sent me a stipend to cover my cookie making costs and the experiment began.
I printed out the cookie recipe. Hey wait a minute, some of this stuff is written in ounces. How many ounces is a cup of flour??? I asked Lord Google and in a minute had my translation and I was good to go. I was on the unbuttered chute to cookie town:
I assembled my ingredients.
1 stick of butter cut into little pieces
Now for the delicate part. I added in:
2 and 1/2 cups of cake flour
1/2 tsp of baking powder
I sprinkled a little cake flour out and rolled a nice glob of dough into a log.
I put the dough logs into the fridge to firm up and chill out. This recipe left me with about 4 small cookie sized logs of dough.
After about 3 hours I preheated the oven to 350 degrees.
I took the dough logs out of the fridge and started slicing them.
This recipe gave me about 40 sugar cookies. Thanks to the Baltimore International Culinary College for giving me this opportunity to work out my "cookie issues".