This post should be titled “The Misanthropic Hostess Goes Abroad” as I happen to be in Hong Kong at this very moment. I should be giving you roast duck, dim sum and stories about items bought, coveted and bargained. I promise we’ll get there eventually.
Instead, let’s talk about guilty pleasures.
A couple of years ago I read a great article in Town and Country Magazine about the guilty food pleasures of some favorite chefs. I’ve tried to find the article, with no luck–but remember feeling liberated by the fact that one had a deep and nearly religious love of hot dogs while another loved Velveeta cheese so much that he kept a block in his walk-in at all times. If professionals with incredibly sophisticated palates could have a soft spot for twinkies, it made me feel just a little bit better (as a regular schmuck) about my own secret love.
Well, make that two. But they are related.
My name is The Misanthropic Hostess and I love those soft, frosted sugar cookies sold, well, everywhere. I’ve loved them for years. Especially frozen. Yes, definitely frozen.
I always thought I thought I was the only one over the age of nine who still got excited over the colored sprinkles and pink frosting. Well, I was wrong. Turns out this particular take on sprinkled sugar cookies are a national guilty pleasure.
Turns out, these cookies are associated with a certain brand called Lofthouse. And, the recipe for their soft sugar cookies is super duper secret. Of course, this not only adds to the mystique but has also spawned a host of copy-cat recipes.
I gathered as many of them as I could find and then began the process of narrowing-down and refining the ingredient list. What I’ve come up with isn’t quite the original. But it’s close and gives me an excuse to conduct further research.
The recipe is simple. Sugar, butter, flour and a healthy dose of sour cream.
Years of market research had me thinking that the commercial version rolled into logs, chilled and then cut icebox-style.
So I tried this and really, the dough was too sticky even when chilled.
Here are the cut-out versions.
In this version, I rolled the cut pieces into balls, floured the bottom of a glass and then flattened them.
Much more round.
The resulting cookie is almost like a shortcake in flavor. Not very sweet and cakey. The frosting has a shortening and confectioner’s sugar base (I know what you are thinking. People still use shortening all the time. Get over it).
The frost the cookies I recruited my live-in hand mode because I know he won’t make nearly as much fuss about royalties as the apple-holding Twighlight model did.
These cookies remind me of little girl parties, lip gloss and ponies–though I can’t really explain why. Of course, you can tint and decorate the frosting any color you would like.
As a serious researcher (well, I do play one in real life), I plan to continue my quest to perfect this recipe. What can I say, I’m committed.
This is the recipe I came across most though it doesn’t seem to belong to anyone, some adaptions made
- 1 C butter, softened
- 2 1/2 C sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1 t baking soda
- 1 t baking powder
- 1 1/2 C sour cream
- 6 C flour
Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and sour cream. Mix in dry ingredients. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 425ºF.
Roll dough into 1 ounce balls (or desired size). Place 3 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Flour the bottom of a glass or mug and flatten each dough ball. Bake for 8 minutes or until the dough bounces back when gently pushed with finger. Cookies will not be browned but watch the bottom of the cookies for browning.
- 4 C confectioners sugar
- 1/2 C shortening
- 5 TBS milk
- 1 t vanilla extract
- food coloring (optional)
Cream together sugar and shortening. Add remaining ingredients until smooth. This is a hearty frosting that is ready to use as soon as it is mixed. It will also save well in an airtight container in the fridge for at least a week.