BEST Vanilla Sugar Cookies Recipe
We all love cookies with crisp edges, thick centers, that are chewy, yet tender and above all easy to make! And yes, these sugar cookies fits perfectly into this description.
As easy as it sounds, making perfect chewy cut-out cookies from scratch can also be very intimidating. Infact, if you mix up things you are likely going to end up with cookies with issues starting from uneven baking, to too crunchy, to tough, just name it.
This is not to put you off (That’s why you are here. ‘Cos I will be sharing step by step methods to making perfect sugar cookies like a pro!); but this is to keep you on your toes 😀.
Sugar cookies are majorly made from Flour (mostly all purpose flour which serves as a binding agent for all other items and also builds the structure of the dough. Depending on the type of cookies and the ratio of flour to other items, flour makes cookies crispy, chewy, or crumbly. Cookies like this rolled out cookie dough that needs to hold their shapes during baking always comes with a high ratio of flour to other items.), Sugar (gives sweetness. Where granulated white sugar gives the crispy texture to cookies, brown sugar makes it more moist and chewy.), Fat (fat here could represent Butter, Shortening, or Margarine. They make cookies softer. I use unsalted butter instead of margarine when making my cookies. Why? Butter has a lower melting point than margarine or even shortening. So a cookie made with shortening or margarine will more likely spread than that made with butter.), Eggs (adds another distinct flavor to your cookies. They also add moisture.), Baking Powder/Baking soda (apart from these two actings as leavening agents, they also aid in the browning of your cookies. When baking powder is used alone, it gives your cookie a light and cakey texture.), and finally Salt (this balances the sweetness of the cookie. It’s a flavour enhancer).
Understanding how all these major ingredients works will help you fix a cookie recipe if need be. It will also help you improve the recipe. 😉
Are there tips to making my perfect homemade sugar cookies from scratch? Definitely YES!
Tips to Making Sugar Cookies like a PRO!
- Follow the recipe. I am an advocate of sticking to recipes. Don’t tweak it just yet. 😀. I know the temptation is there to throw in some other items like chocolate chips, coconut flakes, raisins, bla bla bla. But not yet. Just stick to the recipe.
- All items MUST be at room temperature. Remove butter from refrigerator and allow to soften a bit before using.
- Don’t overmix the dough. Don’t overwork it. If you do, you will end up with tough cookies. Teeth-pulling cookies (I am just kidding). The Best Sugar Cookies are soft and tender. Mix dry ingredients into the batter until just incorporated.
- Chill your cookie dough! First chill for 2 hours or even overnight. Then in-between kneading, rolling out, and cutting, chill cookies for 15-30 minutes. Infact, my cookies are chilled for 15 minutes before they go into the oven. Chilled cookies makes great and clean cut-outs. They are easy to work with.
- When rolling out, you can use a skewer/kebab stick as a guide like I did in the video. This allows you roll out evenly. Thinly rolled cookies becomes too fragile; and Thickly rolled cookies won’t bake evenly. For a perfect cookie, dough should be about ¼ inch thick.
- Don’t grease your Baking Tray. Instead use a parchment paper or brown paper to bake. If you grease your oven tray, you will end up with greasy cookies and cookies that are kind of toasted ‘cos of the melted butter.
- Don’t overbake. It’s usually said that once your cookies are golden brown remove from oven. But the truth is, except you want an over crispy cookie, then you can follow this rule. But if not, remove your cookies from your oven once you notice the edges are slightly beginning to get golden. As cookies cool on the rack, they are keep cooking. Hence remove them before they get too golden brown in the oven so they finish off cooking while cooling.
- Bake in a preheated oven. 150°C is okay for sugar cookies.
- Rotate your oven tray in-between baking. Sometimes, a part of your oven might be hot compared to other parts. So rotating your oven tray creates even baking. And by rotating, rotate just once. Opening your oven door often while baking your cookies will prevent them from baking well.
- Don’t overcrowd your baking tray. Give room for your cookies to bake.
- Bake in the middle tier of your oven. If your oven tray is too close to the source of heat, your cookies will brown quickly.
- Allow your cookies cool completely before storing. If they are not properly cooled, they will create steam in the jar, causing your cookies to become soggy.
- If making cookies in large quantities, allow your oven tray cool completely before placing the next batch of cookies on it.
- Cool off cookies on a rack.
- My sugar cookie dough can be refrigerated for 4 days or frozen for up to 3 months. If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using. Once cookies are baked, their shelf life is 2 weeks.
If you are interested in learning more about COOKIES AND GETTING MORE OF MY COOKIES RECIPES, then sign up for my online COOKIE COURSE by chatting with me using any of the social media links (online cookie class is ₦1,000 only). If you are in Lagos, Nigeria and needs an on-sight/physical class (class covers decorating cookies and it’s ₦7,000 only), feel free to chat me up too.
- In a bowl add in flour and salt. Mix well to combine. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl add sugar and butter. Cream till it’s fluffy and light.
- Next break in egg and allow to mix. Next add vanilla extract. Always remember to scrape the sides of your bowl so that all items are well mixed.
- Finally, add flour mixture little by little to the batter while mixer’s speed is set to low. Don’t overmix at this stage. Mix just till flour is incorporated. Or alternatively fold in
- Transfer dough to a plastic wrap or cling film. Wrap well and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
- Next get your refrigerated cookie dough, rolling pin, bamboo skewer/kebab sticks, cookie cutters, and little flour.
- Prepare your oven tray by placing a parchment paper or brown paper on it.
- Slightly dust your work surface with little flour. Place your dough on the sprinkled flour, place your bamboo skewers/kebab sticks at opposite sides of the dough.
- Roll out dough to be ¼ inch thick. Make sure you roll out evenly. Cut out different shapes with your cookie cutter. If you notice at this time your dough is getting warm or becoming too soft, refrigerate for 15-30 minutes. You can also cut out your dough into different shapes, place on baking tray, cover with cling film/plastic wrap and refrigerate till whenever you want to bake. I usually do this when I have large quantities of cookies to make for clients. I cut out the shapes, cover and refrigerate till the day I want to bake.
- Next bake in a preheated oven set to 150°C for 10-15 minutes or till cookies are slightly setting golden at the edges.
- Once baked, remove them immediately and place on a rack to cool completely then transfer to your cookie jar for eating right away, or decorating with royal icing.