Recently I discovered (and shared on Twitter) that there were 243 cookbooks in my apartment. The number has since risen to 245. I was both proud and horrified by the number. It is a lot of books. It is especially a lot of books for a small, one-bedroom apartment. Poor Bryan. At least a hundred of them are in piles around the house, so my new years resolution is to find a storage solution for all of these books. Wish me luck.
One of the two recent additions to the collection was Piece of Cake: Home Baking Made Simple by David Muniz, David Lesniak and Rachel Allen (published in the UK as Baked in America- which is a much better title). It is a book from the two guys who own Outsider Tart bakery in London. The bakery sells American baked goods (whoopie pies, cupcakes, layer cakes, etc) to Brits, and apparently is popular. I didn’t know much about the bakery, and somehow missed the US release of the book back in the Autumn. I honestly have no idea why I bought this cookbook. Why do we buy most things? Boredom? I read a thing? I was hungry? Anyway, I added another general baking book to the dozens that I own and depleted even more of my expendable income. Bad idea, right?
Wrong! I am here to say, it is a great cookbook. I read so many of these things that I have become skilled at recognizing the real deal. It is the real deal, the recipes are great. I have baked two cakes, both of which we loved, and now these cookies. These insane rainbow-sprinkled cookies that I was afraid I would be disappointed by.
Not liking chocolate, I have eaten a lot of sugar cookies in my day. They are almost always bad—too chewy, too sweet, too eggy, too vanilla-y. I expected these to fall into one of those categories, but I was feeling self-destrucive and baked them anyway. They defied all of the categories of failure (and my expectations!) and are probably the best sugar cookie I have ever eaten. Seriously. They have a crisp edge and a soft center—soft, not chewy. Chewy would be bad. Soft, almost like a cake. Anyway, I am crazy about this recipe. And also, obviously, sprinkles! Sprinkles are just cool. I don’t care what Alice Waters says. Also, I actually believe I like the flavor of rainbow sprinkles. I don’t know if it is the Red 40 or food wax or what, but I think they taste really good. Sorry.
So anyway, this book, which I expected to be disappointed by, is on its way to becoming one of favorite baking books. Oh, life!
You’ll see from the pictures that I also made a classy (I hate that word!) version with white sprinkles. Forget it. Use rainbow. They taste better. The recipe suggests making GIANT cookies. I respectfully disagree. I like smaller cookies, because the crisp edge is my favorite part. I used a 2 oz ice cream scoop. You should do what you like! Also, the recipe can easily be halved. And if you don’t want to roll in rainbow sprinkles, you can top with sugar or glaze….but I can’t vouch for either of those options.
Sugar Saucers (from Piece of Cake: Home Baking Made Simple by David Muniz, David Lesniak and Rachel Allen)
- 4 cups (600g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups (340g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (120ml) canola oil
- 1 cup (225g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (200g) confectioners’ sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- rainbow sprinkles, for decorating
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter on medium speed for about a minute. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the oil, and then add the two sugars, the eggs, and the vanilla. Make sure to stir well after each of the additions. Slowly add the flour mixture, about a quarter at a time. Mix just until the flour disappears. The dough will be soft. Refrigerate for at least an hour before proceeding (up to 3 days).
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
Using a 2-ounce ice cream scoop (or up to a 5 oz scoop), divide the dough into balls. Roll each ball in rainbow sprinkles until thoroughly coated. Place them on baking sheets with enough room for them to spread (if you are making giant cookies you will probably only get 4 per sheet). Use your fingers to flatten each ball slightly.
Bake for 12-20 minutes, depending on the size. Bake until the edges start to turn golden. Cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.