These easy soft and chewy sugar cookies are anything but plain. Perfectly crisp on the outside, chewy in the centers with the sweet flavor of vanilla throughout and a crunchy sugar topping, I dare you to eat just one.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Are you team yay or nay when it comes to this holiday? For me, I really just like using it as an excuse for a date night in, to be honest. That, and having dessert, like one or five of these chewy sugar cookies — not that I need any excuse to do that.
Friends, if you like cookies (which, if you do not we need to talk), you will LOVE these cookies. They might seem like plain sugar cookies, but that couldn’t be farther from reality. The fact is, well, can I let you in on a secret? These might just be my new favorite cookies of all time.
HOW TO MAKE CHEWY SUGAR COOKIES
Before I get into the whys of what makes these chewy sugar cookies so awesome, let’s talk about the hows — as in, how to make the best sugar cookies of your life.
There are a few factors here that make these cookies extra chewy: we refrigerate the dough for 1 hour, which will help keep the cookies from spreading too quickly in the oven. Along with that, we roll the dough into fairly large balls, which also helps them bake a little more slowly in the oven, thereby ensuring that chewy center.
There are a lot of factors at play when it comes to making the chewiest cookies possible, but I’ve found in the case of these sugar cookies that the ingredients and ratios here yield a cookie with a sweet, delicate sugar-vanilla flavor with a perfectly crisp edge and chewy center.
WHY THIS IS MY FAVORITE SUGAR COOKIE RECIPE
OK, so now that we know how to make a chewy sugar cookie, let me tell you why I really love this recipe: It’s EASY. This is always my goal when developing recipes — to find that perfect balance between a functional recipe and an easy one. I think we’ve nailed it here.
But even beyond that, I love these sugar cookies because of their texture — when you bite into the chewy center with the crunchy sugar topping, it’s pure cookie bliss. I also love that we only need to refrigerate the dough for 1 hour, as opposed to overnight or even longer in some cases. To me, I just can’t wait that long for a cookie, ya know? So the fact that we can have perfect sugar cookies with only an hour’s chill time is more than acceptable to me.
TIPS FOR BAKING THE BEST COOKIES
Before I leave you to run to the store to get everything ready to make these cookies in time for dessert tonight (though you likely already have on hand everything you need!), let me share a few tips for baking the best cookies:
1. Always use the scoop-and-sweep method when measuring your dry ingredients! We want the ingredient amounts to be as accurate as possible here so the end result is the cookie of our wildest dreams.
2. Use a cookie scoop to help shape the cookies and to scoop out the correct amount. I love to use this cookie scoop when making these cookies.
3. Don’t overbake the cookies! We bake these cookies until they’re just barely baked through, even a little underbaked in the centers, so that as they cool they finish baking but retain that glorious chew. This is also why we let the cookies cool directly on the baking sheet for a few minutes — the residual heat from the baking sheet continues to lightly bake the cookies, but they’ll also firm up a bit more so you can transfer them more easily to a cooling rack.
That’s it! Now go forth, bake the best chewy sugar cookies of your life, and treat yo self this Valentine’s Day.
P.S. Need a last-minute dinner idea for tonight? Might I suggest this Creamy Rigatoni with Sausage and Fennel, or this Saffron Risotto with Shrimp and Pistachios? Both go really well with sugar cookies, just sayin’.
- 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups granulated sugar, divided
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Sparkling sugar, for topping (optional)
- In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until well combined.
- In a separate large bowl (using an electric hand mixer) or in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter and 1½ cups sugar on medium speed 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.
- Slowly stir in dry ingredients just until a dough forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough 1 hour.
- Heat oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Add remaining ½ cup sugar to a small bowl. Scoop and roll chilled dough into balls about 1 to 1½ inches in diameter (about 1-2 tablespoons each). Roll each dough ball in sugar, then transfer to cookie sheet, spacing cookies about 2 inches apart (the dough balls might not all fit on one sheet; refrigerate whatever doesn't fit until you're ready to bake the second batch).
- Bake 9-11 minutes until cookies are just set in the centers and lightly golden on the edges. Remove cookies from oven; immediately sprinkle tops with sparkling sugar, if desired. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet, then carefully transfer with a spatula to cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.