These babies are light. . . until you eat eight of them.
They’re sort of irresistible when they come out of the oven.
They’re fun to watch too – they go from thick little disks of cold dough to considerably larger puffy circles while they’re in the oven, to flat, crispy-edged cookies with chewy middles once they cool.
You can’t tell they’re “light”.
They’re a stellar excuse to practice utilizing self-control. Or a great way to discover how little you really have when it comes to warm, buttery sugar cookies. Or a great way to torture yourself if you gave up sweets for Lent.
They pretty much make it pointless to ever buy the pre-packaged refrigerated dough again.
The dough mixes up quickly, with ingredients that are most likely in your house already.
Then just roll them in wax paper and store them in the fridge or freezer, and then slice and bake them on a whim.
These are perfect to make and keep around for after school treats or movie nights.
I made them in spring-y colors for dessert after Easter dinner – not that we won’t already be sick from unlimited loads of candy all day long, but holiday meals always require at least a symbolic dessert.
And I’ll only make one tray – one cookie per person, then save the rest to enjoy over the next month – because that’s how blessed long you can store them in the freezer.
Light Icebox Sugar Cookies
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup stick margarine or butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg white
food coloring (optional)
sprinkles or sugar for dipping* (optional)
cooking spray (you don’t need this if you use parchment paper on your cookie sheet)
Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Beat margarine or butter at medium speed of a mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended. Add vanilla and egg white, and beat well. Add flour mixture, and stir until well-blended. Add a couple drops of food coloring if desired, and mix only just till color is evenly distributed. Turn dough out onto wax paper, and shape into a 6-inch log. (I shaped mine much longer and thinner – because theoretically, you are supposed to be able to cut the log into 24 pieces). Wrap log in wax paper, and freeze for 3 hours or until very firm.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut log into 24 (1/4″) slices.
If you opt for sprinkles or sugar on top, press each round into sprinkles (or sugar) and place cookies 1 inch apart, sprinkle side up, on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray (or lined with parchment paper). Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool on wire racks. Yield: 2 dozen (serving size: 1 cookie).
Nutrition info per cookie (without sprinkles or sugar topping):
Calories 59; Fat 2 g; Protein 0.7g; Carb 9.6g; Fiber 0.1g; Chol 0 mg; Iron 0.2 mg; Sodium 50 mg; Calc 2mg
Source: Very slightly adapted from The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook, 2000
* I usually dip these in regular white granulated sugar, only because I think they look prettier that way. I have also used nonpareils and “jimmies” (the longer, softer sprinkles). The nonpareils add a super crunchy feature to the cookie which may or may not be desirable depending on your preference. The sprinkles pictured above are jimmies – and worked very well for both decoration and texture.