Philacatessen | Sugar Shortbread Cookies for the Gym Staff — and for Us

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sugar cookies
Sugar cookies (Courtesy of Keri White)

It seems a long time ago that something as normal as arranging a gym membership was, well, normal. The world has changed in recent weeks, but maintaining a sense of community, even if it’s inside your own home, can help keep us sane and connected.

I made these cookies a couple weeks ago as a thank you for the manager of my gym after she helped me arrange a cost-effective, short-term membership for my daughter (who has yet to use it for obvious reasons, but that’s beside the point).

The cookies are simple and sweet and comforting, and the dough can be stored in the fridge or freezer and sliced off for just a few so you don’t overdo it in these stressful times. The finished cookies can also be gussied up with a schmear of jam or Nutella, or a drizzle of melted chocolate. Before baking, you can top them with a sprinkle of cinnamon or chopped nuts. Change the flavor by swapping vanilla for almond extract or lemon extract.

The options are nearly limitless and, for the foreseeable future, we’ve got plenty of time to experiment. 

Sugar Cookies

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2¼ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • Demerara or other coarse sugar for topping

In a large mixing bowl, blend the butter, sugar, flour, egg and vanilla.

Gather the dough together and dump it onto a sheet of parchment or wax paper. Form it into a long log (or two logs if one is cumbersome) and wrap it up.

Place the log in your refrigerator for 45 minutes until the dough is chilled and sort of hard.

Heat your oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment (or lightly oil a cookie sheet).

Slice off cookies into thin disks, top them with the Demerara sugar, press the sugar gently into each cookie to adhere and bake for 10 minutes until the edges are beginning to brown.

Note: Dough can be stored in the refrigerator for several days or in freezer for several months. For optimal storage and to preserve flavor, keep the log into a zip-seal bag in the fridge or freezer.

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