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Easy Sugar Cookies

Easy Sugar Cookies

I recently asked my oldest kid what his favorite cookie was. For whatever reason I seem to default a lot of my sweet questions to my daughter as she seems to always like dessert. I asked my oldest kid only because I rarely see him eat sweets anymore. Granted, the 34 pack of ice cream drumsticks I had stored in our freezer suddenly disappeared within days, but lets not go there. I was surprised as to what his response was. The first response was macadamia nut and white chocolate chip cookies, and the second is plain old sugar cookies. I think there were a few of us in the room when he said his favorite cookie was  macadamia nut and white chocolate chip, only because we never have those in the house, and he doesn’t really gravitate to nuts and white chocolate! Go figure. I was totally jazzed on his response.

Easy Sugar Cookie Recipe
Easy Sugar Cookie Recipe

We had our first family vacation coming up for the summer, and I decided I would make batches of cookies, including both of his favorites, and offer them out during the week for an any time of day snack.

The sugar cookies though! These sugar cookies are just too simple to make, and it is a perfect treat anytime (and I mean anytime) of the day.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, measured first then sift
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups of butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • parchment paper, optional

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees.

In the meantime, we will get to the relaxing part of creaming butter and sugar. Sounds good already!

Place the butter and 1 1/2 cups of sugar in a mixing bowl, with a mixer attachment. If you are doing this by hand, you will be mixing for a bit of time but it is achievable.  While the butter and sugar are mixing, combine in another bowl the flour, baking powder, and salt. Give that a thorough mix.

Creamed Sugar and Butter
Creamed Sugar and Butter

After a few minutes of mixing the butter and sugar (you want to make sure it is nice, creamy, and a bit fluffy), slow down the mixer and add in the eggs one at a time, and then the vanilla extract.

Mix for about 15 seconds, then slowly pour in the flour mixture and turn up the speed slightly. Stop after about a minute of mixing, and wipe down the sides of the inside of the bowl with a wooden spoon or offset spatula.

Continue to mix for about 30-60 seconds until everything is nicely incorporated.

OK, time to form some cookies.

To a small bowl, add in the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. This will be used to top the cookies.

Take a large tablespoon of the of the cookie dough, and gently form and roll into a ball with your hands.

Roll the ball in the bowl of sugar to lightly coat.

Add the ball to the baking pan lined with parchment paper, and with the bottom of a glass (flat round shape works great), gently press down on the ball of the dough. Flatten to about 1/4 inch thick. Gently, but swiftly remove the glass from the dough leaving a nice round piece of cookie dough.

Sugar Cookie Ingredients
Sugar Cookie Ingredients

Repeat with the remaining dough, or until you fill up the sheet(s). These cookies will not spread out so don’t worry about them bleeding into one another.

Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them around 8 minutes in because once the edging starts to turn that light caramel color then they are about ready.

Remove them and slide them onto a cookie rack to cool.

Repeat the process until all of the dough is cooked.

The result? Let’s just say I know why these are one of my kids favorite cookies. They are light, a bit delicate, and perfectly sweet. They are so good they you still question why they are so good after every single cookie. AND TRUST ME, that is the hard part. You know that saying… ‘Please walk away from the cookies’ (in a police officer voice). That’s how these cookies are.

Simple, and awesome. That’s how these cookies are. Enjoy!

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Filipino Tocino

Filipino Tocino

If you probably saw tocino on a menu as a breakfast side item you would probably say something like ‘what the heck is tocino?’ and quickly pass it up. Note to yourself… don’t pass up on the tocino. I was introduced to tocino many years ago, and to be honest I enjoyed it however I thought it was a bit too sweet (whether is was store bought or homemade), but it was good. Don’t get me wrong. What I learned over the years is that tocino is essentially ‘bacon of the Philippines. Sure the Philippines are known for their outstanding pork, and you can probably have a pork vacation of your dreams in any of their islands, but tocino is something very special and one that is commonly served for breakfast known as tosilog. In a nutshell tosilog consists of tocino, sunny side up eggs, and garlic rice. It’s a pretty bad ass breakfast and one that is right up my alley.

So, tocino… Do I have you interested yet?

Filipino Tocino Recipe
Filipino Tocino Recipe

Tocino is lightly cured with sugar, soy sauce, garlic, and either annato (would would be traditional) or red food coloring, stored to marinate and cure for a few days in the refrigerator, then lightly fried low and slow style in batches, and served alongside breakfast. Think of it as your American bacon deliciousness. You can also buy a package of Mama Sita’s Tocino mix if you just want to make your life easier. Granted I have not tried the mix but know many others that simply use that packet.

This is really easy to throw together and really the only labor intensive part is slicing pork shoulder into thin slices (about 1/4 inch thick or so), and waiting for it to cure for a few days. Planning is necessary but plan to make a few pounds and freeze the tocino for later use.

Let’s get started.

  • 2 lbs pork shoulder, boneless preferred, sliced into 1/4 slices
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp red food coloring
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

Start by adding everything but the pork to a large mixing bowl and stir with a whisk to break down the sugar. Set aside.

I prefer to place my pork in the freezer for about 1 hour prior to slicing. It’s a lot easier to handle and you can get some better slices when it is partially frozen. Your call, but I think it helps.

Slice the pork into 1/4 inch slices. Think of this like bacon, but it will not be as uniform in some of the slices.

Filipino Tocino Ingredients
Filipino Tocino Ingredients

Add all of the pork into the marinade, and using your hands (food safety gloves a huge plus), otherwise use some tongs, and mix everything extremely well. You want to coat both sides of the pork. Place in a sealed bag, into the refrigerator, for three days.

After three days remove the pork from the marinade, however most of the pork will have sucked up most of the marinade, place into another bowl. This is the time to freeze some as it makes a lot. If freezing, place what you need into a sealed bag, seal tightly to remove as much air, and freeze. 

Now to the cooking. Consider eating this in a traditional sense which is sunny side up eggs, garlic rice (or jasmine), and tocino. Heck if not, the tocino can go in so many different ways and I will let you think of what to do on that front.

Heat a large skillet on medium-low heat.

Add about 1 tablespoon of neutral oil. Let that come to temperature, then lay a handful of slices, flat, into the skillet. Let this begin to cook. Remember it is just pork, however you do not want it to chewy. Remember the pork shoulder still has fat on it which is a thing of beauty, hence why this slow render in the skillet, along with the brown sugar in the marinade, will caramelize the fat, and the pork. It’s a thing of beauty.

Control your temperature, raising or lowering it gently to cook the tocino until you get nice caramelization and the pork cooks through. Really only a few minutes or more on each side.

Filipino Tocino Recipe
Filipino Tocino Recipe

Please keep in mind that if you don’t want to heat up the kitchen in the morning, by all means cook this on the grill. I’ve yet to go that route, but I’m certain the grill would be top notch and add a bit of some smokiness.

Regardless, this stuff is like bacon. If you want three pieces, you may as well cook seven pieces because you are going to want more and more of it, and when paired with creamy eggs and rice, well heck it takes you away to a wonderful flavor place, only for a short period of time and that is all good in my book.