Chewy vanilla sugar cookies
Updated: Dec 23, 2022
If you follow me on Instagram, you know I've been taking a month long baking and recipe development class led by Christina Tosi, founder of Milk Bar! The first section of class is cookies (next up is pie, and then cake), and we started out by making a Milk Bar classic, and then shifted to creating our own delicious cookie recipe with mix ins.
The goal was to create one cookie recipe, but in the process of prototyping my doughs, I found three that I couldn't leave behind including one that I've already shared (these Cinnamon Graham Cracker Cookies). The cookie I made for my "final cookie project" is one that I'll share soon and has delicious mix ins that add so much great texture to the cookie, BUT when I tested this vanilla sugar cookie dough on its own before adding any mix ins, I knew I needed to share it first!
I am not typically a fan of sugar cookies, because I feel it's hard to find a recipe that is perfectly sweet and buttery while still being chewy and crisp on the edges. This recipe gets at all of that in the best way. It has a warm and buttery flavor, and it is sweet without being overly so.
One thing that Christina Tosi swears by is her ten minute creaming process. TEN minutes. I didn't understand it until I tried it, but it really does make a difference in the end structure and texture of your cookie. This is the reason that a stand mixer is called for in this recipe, but don't be spooked by it. The cookie dough itself takes less than 20 minutes to come together, even less once you've done it once before, and the end result is a taste you won't soon forget. I won't be adopting this method for all of my cookie recipes (don't worry!) but for these recipes inspired directly from class, it only felt right to follow in her footsteps.
One last thing: when my niece was in town, I made these cookies and we frosted and decorated them! It was such a fun activity and they tasted incredible. If you're interested in decorating these cookies, check out my Chocolate frosted sugar cookie recipe.
Batch of 10 cookies:
1 stick (half cup) unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Batch of 20 cookies:
2 sticks (one cup) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cooking time: 30-45 minutes (plus time to chill overnight, or for a minimum of 6-8 hours)
Place your butter and granulated sugar into your stand mixer with the paddle attachment secured. Note: if your butter is not at room temperature already, you can either place it first into the microwave for 5-10 seconds, or mix your stand mixer at a low speed for 30-60 seconds until your butter is softened.
Bring your stand mixer slowly from a low to high speed and allow it to combine the butter and sugar for 3 minutes. While this is mixing, grab your egg and vanilla extract (select the right amount based on how many cookies you're making).
Pause your stand mixer, and if needed, scrape down the sides of your butter and sugar mixture as well as your paddle attachment to ensure that no pockets of butter and sugar go unmixed. Then, pour in your egg and vanilla extract to your butter and sugar. Slowly bring your stand mixer back to a high speed and allow it to combine your mixture for 4 minutes.
Slowly reduce the speed again, scrape down the sides of your mixture and paddle attachment. Bring your mixer back up to a high speed once again, this time for 3-4 minutes. You'll notice already that your mixture is quite light and fluffy, but allow it to continue mixing so that everything is fully combined, and this will also bring some additional air into your butter mixture.
While you're on your last 3-4 minutes of mixing, combine your dry ingredients, flour, baking soda and powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Use a spoon or whisk to combine your ingredients.
When you are done with your final 3-4 minutes, slowly reduce your stand mixer speed and bring it to a pause. Scrape down your sides again as well as your paddle attachment.
Pour in your combined dry ingredients, and start your mixer at a slow speed. Bring it up to a medium speed, mixing until just incorporated. If needed, you can pause, scrape down, and mix again or finish combining with a spatula, but be sure not to over mix at this stage.
You can transfer your dough directly into plastic wrap, a bowl with plastic wrap pressed onto the dough, a container (anything airtight) and place into the fridge to chill. This is best to be done for at least 12 hours, but ensure it chills for a minimum of 6-8 hours (this will ensure that your cookie doesn't spread too much in the oven and help to ensure a chewy center).
Once your dough has chilled, if you're ready to make cookies now you can preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Remove your dough from the fridge and use a large cookie scoop (or large spoon) to portion out your dough (it should make 10 or 20 cookies depending on what size you chose) and space them out onto a lined cookie sheet, I used parchment paper. Use the palm of your hand to press down the dough only slightly. If your dough feels warm or too soft, place it back into the fridge to cool for another 15-20 minutes. When you're ready, bake for 12-14 minutes. Allow to cool and enjoy!
If you want to save some of your dough, you can place your scooped cookie dough onto a baking sheet and place into the freezer for 12-24 hours. Then, transfer your frozen dough to a plastic bag or airtight container and store in the freezer. To bake from frozen, set your oven to 325 and bake for 15-18 minutes.
Carb and serving info:
Servings: 10 or 20 cookies
Carbs per serving: 27.2
Carbs for full recipe: 272.1 (10 cookies), 544.2 (20 cookies)
Note: Carb information is calculated based on the specific ingredients I used to cook with to help guide my own insulin to carb ratio when dosing before I eat my home cooked recipes.