Ahh, sugar cookies. While one of my favorite types of cookies, I almost never eat them. While I think it’s hard to mess up a chocolate chip cookie, I think it’s difficult to make a good sugar cookie. It seems like every time I try a sugar cookie it is either bland, or lives up to the name a little too well and is overwhelmingly sweet. Or, in the case of most of the fancy sugar cookies decorated with royal icing, both. They also tend to end up really, really hard due to all the granulated sugar. So I set out to make a sugar cookie that could hold its own against it’s chocolate chip studded brethren. (Spoiler alert: I succeeded!).
These cookies turned out awesome. They are crunchy around the edges, but still chewy. They have this wonderful flavor of butter and sugar that is balanced out by just a hint of salt. You don’t really notice the salt, but the combination of flavors will keep you reaching for another. They are weirdly addictive. Part of the draw of these cookies is the perfectly browned bottoms where all that butter and sugar combine for a slightly more complex flavor and a crunch that just melts in your mouth. So good.
You might also notice I added sprinkles to my cookies, because (1) I love sprinkles and (2) the dough was so perfectly light I just couldn’t resist. They are completely optional, but look how cute! (You should totally add sprinkles.) I only had a quarter cup on hand, so that’s what I added, but you could probably get away with up to a half cup without overwhelming your cookies.
For this dough, I decided to double down on what I think makes my chocolate chip cookies so good. Creaming the butter and sugar for a good long while (using room temperature butter is key!), and using high quality flavorings. I used a really good vanilla extract, and then I also added in the teeeensiest amount of almond extract. Almond extract adds such a wonderful flavor to baked goods, but it is incredibly easy to over do it. I put about two extra drops (seriously, two!) in a chocolate cake once and the almond extract was all I could taste. I suggest pouring the almond extract into the measuring spoon away from the mixing bowl, that way if you spill a little you don’t end up with almond cookies. And if, like me, you don’t have an ⅛ tsp. measuring spoon, it’s safer to be a little under than a little over.
Something else to note about these cookies is they spread A LOT. I made mine pretty big, and even trying to be extra generous with the space between cookies a couple of mine ran together. Also, I know they look all flat and cracked on the cookie sheet, but they do not look like that in the oven! So don’t wait until they look done to take them out!
This recipe makes a pretty good amount of cookies, about 30 large ones. Since I did not want to eat 10 cookies in two days like I did with the chocolate chip cookies, I only made one sheet of these. I rolled the rest of the dough into balls and froze it. That way, if I decide I want a cookie I can make a single cookie and not have to worry about eating 3 more. #healthy? But seriously, these are so good and so easy to make. So if you wanna make a whole batch now and then make another whole batch next time you want some cookies, no judgment.
2 sticks (16 tbsp.) butter (room temperature!)
1¾ c. granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla
⅛ tsp. almond extract
2 c. flour
2½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
¼-½ c. sprinkles (optional)
Makes about 25-30 large cookies (as pictured)
- Add the (room temperature!) butter and sugar to the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until the butter and sugar are light and fluffy. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and mix on medium speed. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl.
- In a separate bowl (or just in the mixing cup with the flour in it if you’re lazy like me), stir together the flour, salt, and baking powder. This doesn’t need to be too thoroughly mixed, as the mixer will take care of that.
- With the mixer on low, slowly pour the flour mixture into the mixing bowl. Add the sprinkles, if using.
- Increase speed to medium until the dough is fully mixed.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment (or spray with non-stick spray ). Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and put the dough in the fridge to chill while the oven is pre-heating.
- Once oven has reached 350, scoop out dough and form 2 inch balls. Place them, with plenty of space between each cookie, on the baking sheet. You do not need to flatten the cookies, they will do that on their own. They do spread a lot, so I would allow 2-3 inches between cookies.
- Bake 15 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are just starting to brown. The cookies will be light and puffy looking in the center when you look at them in the oven, but will flatten almost immediately once you take them out.
- Let cool for about 10 minutes on the cookie sheet before digging in. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely before storing.
This cookie dough can be refrigerated or frozen if you don’t need 30 large cookies all at once. If storing in the fridge, cover the dough in plastic and use within a couple days, baking as usual. If freezing, form into balls and store in a freezer safe container for up to 2 months. Do not thaw before baking, just bake a couple minutes longer (I would start watching them around 15 minutes as usual, but it will probably be another 2 minutes).