Mmmm there is nothing quite like a sugar cookie. Every so slightly crisp on the outside, perfectly chewy on the inside. With so few ingredients, how can such a relatively simple recipe end up with hard, snappy cookies? Easily, that's how. There's about a million ways your sugar cookies could end up in the land of cookie doom. But hopefully, after reading this post, you'll know what not to do to ensure your next batch of cookies turn out juuuuuust right. 

First things first. The most important rule of all is... mise. en. place. Quite literally, this means "set in place". In regards to cooking or baking, it means having every ingredient scaled (measured out in the amount you need), having all of your tools and equipment ready (like making sure you preheat the oven!) and reading through the recipe in its entirely before you being mixing anything. Mise en place saves you a boat load of trouble later on, plus it just sounds really cool. 

Most cookie recipes use what is known as "the creaming method". This means you take your fats (typically butter) and your sugars, and blend them together on medium speed until they are light and fluffy. Two things are vital to get this step right. First: your fat needs to be soft, but still able to hold its shape. I suggest you take your butter out an hour or two before you plan to bake. But, if you forget... DO NOT MICROWAVE ALL AT ONCE. Yes, I had to capitalize that. Microwaves do not melt butter evenly, and you will have some liquid butter and some that is still rock hard. If you must microwave, chop the butter into even chunks, place in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave for 10 second intervals until the butter is soft. Melting the butter will cause your cookies to spread thin and cook quickly, making them thin and crispy (which is fine if you want them this way, but not if you don't). Second: make sure you cream for long enough. One or two minutes really is not long enough. Check out the photos below to see the progression in color and texture. 

Chewy Sugar Cookies

2 3/4 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
6 oz butter (softened)
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c packed brown sugar
2 eggs (room temperature)
2 tsp vanilla extract

Method of Preparation: 
1. Scale all of the ingredients and gather all of the equipment.
2. Sift the flour and baking soda together into a medium bowl; sprinkle the salt on top. Set aside
3. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed for 5-7 minutes, or until lightened in color and fluffy in texture. 
4. Scrape down the bowl, then add the room temperature eggs, one at a time. Scrape the bowl down after each egg. 
5. Add the vanilla extract and mix till incorporated. 
6. Add the flour all at once, and pulse until just blended. Do not over-mix. 
7. Use a cookie scoop to scoop and drop cookie dough onto parchment-lined sheet pans.
8. Bake in a 350 oven for about 8-10 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. 
9. Cool on the trays for 1-2 minutes, then remove and cool on wire rack. 
After the butter and sugar are creamed, add the eggs, one at a time, and be sure to scrape the bowl down after each egg. Scraping the bowl is super important, as it ensures that all of your ingredients are evenly mixed. You don't want to be left with pockets of butter, or sugar or egg when you begin scooping out cookies.

An important thing to keep in mind is having all your ingredients be close to the same temperature. Let your eggs warm up with your butter, and they will be so much happier than if you try to mix them in right out of the fridge. 

DO NOT SKIP SIFTING THE FLOUR AND BAKING SODA. Yes, this needed capital letters too. Sifting makes sure that you do not end up with little balls of baking soda in your cookies (these are a horrible surprise). It also gets rid of any flour lumps (another nasty surprise), and allows the flour to absorb moisture more quickly so you don't over-mix the dough. 

Finally, invest in some cookie scoops (like ice cream scoops only smaller), some sturdy cookie pans, and if you really want to take your baking to the top, some Slipats (check them out on Amazon). Cookie scoops make sure all of your cookies are the same size... and really, they look fantastic when they are. Sturdy cookie pans allow your cookies to bake evenly, especially when you use Silpats too. I could go on and on about Silpats, and in fact, I may just do a whole post devoted to them! 

Well there you have it! Try out the cookie recipe and let me know how it goes! 

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