Active Prep: 15 min. Inactive Prep: 2 hrs. 30 min.
Difficulty: Easy
Yield: 28 cookies

When the Lofthouse frosted cookies were first produced from a handed-down family recipe in a makeshift bakery in the back of a Utah garage in 1994, it’s likely the ingredients were different than they are in the mass-produced product found in markets across the country today. To maintain a long shelf-life, it is common for baked goods to be manufactured with nondairy substitutes, so butter is often replaced with hydrogenated oil and butter flavoring (otherwise known as margarine), and various vegetable gums and preservatives are added to improve the texture and stabilize the product. Rather than using ingredients such as artificial flavoring, lecithin, cellulose gum, or carrageenan in this recipe, as you will see on the label of the store product, we will use real butter, fresh eggs, and vanilla extract in our clone—perhaps just as the family who created the recipe did back in the day. The big difference is that you have to be sure to eat the cookies within a few days to get that freshly baked taste and texture. Or you may want to freeze them. Cake flour is used here rather than all-purpose flour to duplicate the tender, cakey texture of the original; and sour cream is used to add in the dairy needed without overliquefying the dough (as milk would). An added benefit of sour cream is the high acidity, which activates the leavening power of the baking soda. The dough is still going to be much thinner and tackier than typical cookie dough, so chilling it for a couple of hours before portioning it out onto a baking sheet is a must to make it easier to shape.

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 egg white
1¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ cup sour cream
¼ teaspoon salt
14 ounces (3 cups) cake flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder

16 ounces (4 cups) powdered sugar
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
¼ cup shortening
¼ cup whole milk
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon plus
⅛ teaspoon salt

20 drops food coloring (red, blue, yellow, or green) Decorative candy sprinkles

  1. Make the cookies by combining the butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed. Add the egg, egg white, and vanilla and mix until smooth. Add the sour cream and salt and mix well.
  2. In a medium bowl mix together the cake flour, baking soda, and baking powder
  3. Pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture and mix well by hand. Cover the bowl and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. 
  4. When you are ready to make the cookies, preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. 
  5. Scoop out 1-ounce portions of dough (slightly smaller than a golf ball) and roll them into balls in the palms of your hands. Fill a small cup with water and use it to moisten your fingertips as you press each dough ball onto parchment paper, nonstick aluminum foil, or a silicone baking mat. Form the dough into a circle that is about 2½ inches in diameter. Leave about half an inch of space between the cookies. 
  6. Bake the cookies for 14 to 16 minutes or until the dough has puffed up and is firm. You don’t want the cookies to brown. Cool. 
  7. While the cookies are baking, make the frosting by combining the powdered sugar, butter, shortening, milk, vanilla, salt, and food coloring (if you want colored frosting). 
  8. When the cookies have completely cooled, make a circle of frosting on top of each cookie with an icing knife or butter knife
  9. To add the sprinkles, pour a small amount onto a small plate and invert each cookie onto the sprinkles. Press down so that the sprinkles stick and the frosting is flattened to look more like the original cookies. Repeat with each cookie. Cover the cookies to keep them fresh for several days, or you can freeze them for a couple of months 

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