Friday, October 25, 2013

In Paradise (Bakery)

Dear Baking World,

This post is going to start off sad. My parents put our thirteen-year-old maltese dog down on Tuesday. His name was Frankie and he was a devil but he also was such a sweetheart. I am really going to miss him, but I know that he's up somewhere romping through his favorite patch of grass. That's why this post references Paradise, but there's another reason too.

Paradise bakery is one of my favorite places in the world. Call it nostalgia or call it mountain air, but there's a Paradise Bakery in Colorado where we ski in the winter. We go every day after a hard day of skiing and chomp down on freshly baked cookies. Their sugar cookies are something spectacular. They're big, thick, soft and fluffy. The outside is deliciously crunchy and the inside is warm and soft. It's the best thing ever and indescribable unless you've had one.

According to the blogs I found this recipe on, this is the actual cookie recipe and of course I needed to verify this wild claim. Since we haven't made it out to Colorado for a few years, I need my Paradise fix. So I whipped up these cookies (made a bigger mess than my usual big mess). Because shortening can be relatively flavorless, I substituted a tiny amount of shortening for butter. The shortening, cake flour and powdered sugar are what give it the fluff, so I didn't want to lose that but I wanted a little butter flavor.

 They were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. Even as a sugar cookie by themselves they were delicious.

So give this recipe a whirl. Sugar cookies are one of those things that comes in all breeds and colors and sizes and textures and there isn't one "perfect" sugar cookie (see perfect vanilla cupcake fiasco.) I think a good sugar cookie is a good sugar cookie, and what breed of sugar cookie I want depends on what mood I'm in. I'm not sure how to classify these. They're not chewy, but they're soft. They're not crunchy, but they have a pleasant crunch when you bite them.

P.S. I have an admission to make. I may or may not have added too much extra flour. However, they turned out great but the dough was a bit dry. I refrigerated them overnight. They still tasted delicious, but follow the recipe everyone! (That's why they look really cracked, even though the cookies should be cracked a little bit.)

Paradise Sugar Cookies

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1 3/4 cups shortening
1/4 cup butter
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1 large egg
4 1/3 cups cake flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Sugar for decorating

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together sugars, shortening and butter. Mix on low for 30 seconds then scrape sides of bowl with a spatula. Increase speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes.

Slowly add the vanilla and beaten egg.

In a separate bowl, combine the cake flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Slowly add to the wet ingredients. Mix on slow until just blended. Do not over mix. Scoop into the ball size that you desire, then press with palm. Bake for 10-14 minutes or until the edges are just turning golden brown. 

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