Tuesday, July 22, 2014

old-fashioned chewy sugar cookies

The perfect sugar cookie is tender, moist, and chewy . . . with just the right amount of vanilla and sweetness. 

Have you ever wished that you had a fool-proof recipe for soft, moist, and chewy old-fashioned sugar cookies?

Well, it's no surprise that Cook's Illustrated, sister to America's Test Kitchen, gives us that . . . the perfect chewy sugar cookie.

I don't know about you, but I like having an arsenal of fool proof recipes, especially for baking.

My mother-in-law bought me this beautiful book for my birthday . . . and I've already tagged upwards of 50 recipes that I want to try out.

              Of all the recipes, I chose to make the Chewy Sugar Cookie first (big smile . . . and no surprise, I guess).

For a little Summer fun, the kids and I decorated them with bright and cheerful sprinkles.

They're delicious all by their lonesome with their tender sugar crust, but we've also enjoyed them topped with frosting and served up as ice cream sandwiches . . . just to give you a few more ideas.

One of the reasons I trust Cook's Illustrated (and America's Test Kitchen) recipes is because they share with readers why their recipes work.

Here's what they have to say about their recipe for Chewy Sugar Cookies.

Why this recipe works
excerpt from The Cook's Illustrated Cookbook

Traditional recipes for sugar cookies require obsessive attention to detail. The butter must be at precisely the right temperature and it must be creamed to the proper degree of airiness. Slight variations in measures can result in cookies that spread or become brittle and hard upon cooling. We didn't want a cookie that depended on such a finicky process; we wanted an approachable recipe for great sugar cookies that anyone could make anytime. We melted the butter so our sugar cookie dough could easily be mixed together with a spoon - no more fussy creaming. Replacing a portion of the melted butter with vegetable oil ensured a chewy cookie without affecting flavor. And incorporating an unusual addition, cream cheese, into the cookie dough kept our cookies tender, while the slight tang of the cream cheese made for a rich, not-to-sweet flavor.

chewy sugar cookies
24 cookies
.     .     .     .     .     .
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 cups sugar, plus
1/3 cup sugar, for rolling
2 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and still warm
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
.     .     .     .     .     .

NOTE: The dough will be slightly softer than most. Handle as briefly, and as gently, as possible when shaping. Overworking the dough results in flatter cookies.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl. Set aside.

Place 1 1/2 cups sugar and cream cheese in large bowl. Place remaining 1/3 cups of sugar in shallow baking dish or pie plate and set aside. Pour warm butter over sugar and cream cheese and whisk to combine (some small lumps of cream cheese will remain but will smooth out later). Whisk in oil until incorporated. 

Add egg, milk, and vanilla; continue to whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture and mix with rubber spatula until soft homogeneous dough forms.

Divide dough into 24 equal pieces, about 2 tablespoons each. Using hands, roll dough into balls. 

Working in batches, roll balls in reserved sugar to coat and evenly space on prepared baking sheet, 12 dough balls per sheet. 

Using bottom of a drinking glass, flatten dough balls until 2" in diameter. Sprinkle tops evenly with 4 teaspoons of sugar remaining in shallow dish (2 teaspoons per baking sheet), discarding any remaining sugar.

Bake, one sheet at a time, until edges are set and just beginning to brown, 11 to 13 minutes, rotating sheet after 7 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheet 5 minutes. Using wide spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.

LET'S STAY in touch!


  1. Hi Suzanne, The cookies look yummy! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  2. Love, love, love your pictures. My son was standing over my shoulder as I'm reading your post and demanded that I make these for him! Thank you for sharing the recipe. Happy Belated Birthday! Your MIL is so sweet to gift the book to you.

  3. What a beautiful cookie! I wish there was a taste button on computers. Thank you for your recent visit to my blog and your kind comments.

    Enjoy your summer day!

  4. These cookies look so good and delicious and the way they are presented makes them look even more yummy...Christine

  5. Oh seriously....yum yum yum!!! They look like they would melt in the mouth! Delicious :-)

    Thanks for sharing at Marvelous Monday on Smart Party Planning :-)

  6. Your sugar cookies look so pretty with the colored sprinkles. I am pinning this recipe because everyone needs that perfect sugar cookie recipe.

  7. Those look so yummy :) One of my favs.

  8. Amazing pictures Suzanne! I think I've been searching for a Perfect Sugar Cookie recipe my entire adult life! Excited to try these.

  9. Chewy cookies are the best kind of cookies. Thanks for sharing at the Scoop Linky Party!

  10. These looks yummy and beautiful! Brillant! Pinned it! Stopping by from Ducks in a Row

    Danielle @ Blissful & Domestic
    Creating Beautiful on Less

  11. Back in my TV watching days I used to be a fan of the PBS show America's Test Kitchen. This reminded me that I need to put that cookbook on my "wish list."
    Thanks for sharing your sweet cookies with us at Project Inspire{d}! Hope to see you again on Monday night!!

  12. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Cook's Illustrated America's Test Kitchen Cookbooks! This recipe sounds so delicious! I am so glad you brought this by The Yuck Stops Here recipe link party this week. I have pinned and tweeted and I can't wait to see what you bring to the party next week! HUGS

  13. Your pictures are beautiful! Those cookies look super duper tasty. The hydrangeas are pretty too. I love getting a new cookbook and tabbing the pages with recipes I want to make!
    Stopping by from Lamberts Lately. Pinning!

  14. Suzanne these look amazing... I love sugar cookies! I'm featuring them tomorrow in my Friday Features. Thanks for linking up to Inspire Me Monday.

  15. Always the best treats and pics Suzanne!

  16. these cookies bring happy memories. They look delish too please pass the milk.Thank you for sharing your sweet blog at the Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop xo

  17. Anonymous5:26 AM

    Those cookies are very pretty, too pretty to eat maybe! Thanks for linking up to Sweet and Savoury Sunday, stop by and link up again. Have a great day!! Laura@Baking in Pyjamas

  18. These look delicious. Thank you for linking up at Tickle My Tastebuds! I am featuring you this week and would love if you'd stop back by and link up more goodies!

    Julia @ Mini Van Dreams

  19. These look delicious. I came over from The Thursday Favorite Things blog hop. So glad I did!

  20. Yum, yum, yum! Sugar cookies are my favorite! Pinned. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  21. I adore Cook's Illustrated! I'm sharing this at Migonis Home tomorrow in the Enchanting Inspiration round up! :)

  22. I love chewy sugar cookies. Your photos capture the simplicity and beauty of the cookies! Thanks for linking up to Pin Your Friday Favorite!


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