In case you were concerned that I had dropped my ‘bake at least once a week’ unintentional resolution, you need not fear. We did bake something sweet this weekend. In fact, we baked the best sugar cookies ever.
For years I’ve craved The Original Cookie Company’s sugar butter cookies of my childhood (it’s a pretty standard mall cookie shop). They just aren’t as good as they used to be (or as I’ve framed them in my mind). So, I’ve often looked for a recipe that would give me a chewy sugar cookie that had not only sugar flavor but a rich buttery accent. And for years I’ve been out of luck.
I came across this recipe in a recent Cook’s Illustrated. Though they usually have great recipes, I had my doubts about this one. We’d already tried one of their sugar cookies and while they were tasty, they were decidedly not chewy. In fact they were *gasp* crispy. But, needing a dessert to bring to a family who just had a baby and wanting something that Chris could eat, too (no chocolate for Lent), led me to take the plunge.
And what a sweet, sweet plunge it was. Not only was the texture dead on, but the taste. Oh the taste. They were everything I’ve hyped up sugar butter cookies to be and more. Not to mention they were easy and just about everything (except the cream cheese?) you probably have in your panty! Even better, they didn’t make me cream the butter and sugar so we didn’t need the electric mixer. I’m always a fan of one less (giant) dish to wash!
So this, ladies and gentlemen, is definitely a make again. And again. And again. The only problem is you should really find someone to share them with because it makes 24. We had no problem polishing off a dozen, but two dozen would have been a stretch. They were good a few days later because we stored them with a piece of bread, but you’re best off eating them at their freshest. Next time we might experiment with freezing them before baking so we can have them any time. Yum.
Recipe via Cook’s Illustrated, November 2010 and makes 2 dozen really tasty cookies.
Though not a requirement, we do suggest using the weight measures whenever possible since they tend to be more accurate. Though I have no doubt that even if they were slightly off they’d still be delightful.
- 2 1/4 cups (11 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar, plus 1/3 cup for rolling
- 2 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and still warm
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with rack in the middle. Line baking sheets with parchment (use oil spray to get the parchment to stick to the sheet instead of curling back up!).
- Whisk together the first four dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt).
- Place cream cheese and 1 1/2 cups of the sugar in a large bowl and the remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small bowl/dish.
- Pour warm butter over cream cheese and sugar and whisk to combine. Whisk in oil until incorporated. The add the rest of the wet ingredients (egg, milk and vanilla) and whisk until smooth.
- Add the flour and, switching to a rubber spatula, mix until well combined and it comes together into a dough.
- Take about two tablespoons and gently roll into a ball with hands. Roll gently in the sugar and place on the baking sheet. Each sheet will get 12 cookies. (CI says to be careful not to overwork the dough in this stage or they’re turn out flat. Ours turned out flat and I loved them anyway.)
- Using the bottom of a glass, flatten cookies until they are about 2 inches in diameter. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the remaining sugar over each sheet of cookies (4 teaspoons total).
- Bake one tray at a time for 11-13 minutes, turning the pan after 7 minutes. The edges should be just set and beginning to brown.
- Cool on pan for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack. The recipe says to wait until they cool to room temperature, which doesn’t take long. Of course, you probably won’t take even that long to ignore that rule if you’re anything like me.