Okay, the quest isn't going so hot. I tried melting the butter and adding in some cornstarch and removing all baking powder. Then I chilled the dough, rolled that shit out, and cut out some basic circles.
What was I looking for?
Well, I wanted a cookie that had sharp edges, tasted good (duh), and held up well. To get the sharp edges I removed the baking powder and melted the butter instead of creaming it. Why? Because the baking powder will change the shape of the cookies, puffing them up, and creaming the butter vs melting also affects the shape. I added the cornstarch to give the cookies a bit more a shortbread texture so they'd hold up a bit better than the average rolled sugar cookie. At least that was my thinking.
Did I achieve that?
No. Not even close.
So what went wrong?
A lot. First the cookies tasted like the Pilsbury Dough Boy™'s ass. I may have undercooked the first batch but even properly cooked they tasted like flour cookies, not sugar cookies. I don't know if it was the cornstarch or the ancient church recipe I used as a starting point but it definitely came out a bit "floury".
Secondly, the cornstarch did not do anything like what I thought it would. According to the shitty mommy baking blogs I read, the cornstarch should have added a shortbread type texture to the cookie. It didn't. It made them more chewy and less crumbly which is the exact opposite of what I was looking for. Last time I'm trusting any Internet Karen recipes. Horse-shit through and through.
On the sharp edge front though, I knocked it out of the park. The cookies held their shape really well and didn't spread at all. A nice sharp circle. √
Where to from here?
I think the next batch I'm going to remove the cornstarch and add a dash of almond extract to accent the flavor. I might play with the baking time as well but I'm going to try and change the least amount of stuff with each iteration so I can be sure of what's affecting what.