I've been hunting for a good sugar cookie recipe to use with cookie cutters for a long time! I've tried all kinds of recipes: no chill cookies, chill forever-and-a-day cookies, and several cookie recipes with more butter and powdered sugar than I would like to admit.
In the end, I decided my ultimate sugar cookies should:
- Be firm enough to decorate and travel with,
- Taste like my grandmother's sugar cookies,
- Not involve LONG CHILLING PERIODS.
It took four tries to get it right, but the recipe I ended up with is now my absolute favorite. The cookies cut well, bake well, and taste fantastic! :D
In this instructable I'm going to share my recipe for no chill sugar cookies, as well as all the tips and tricks to get the best results.
Step 1: Tools + Ingredients
- cookie cutters
- 2 half sheet baking pans (you can do it with one, it'll just take longer!)
- cooling racks
- hand mixer
- mixing bowls
- wax paper
- rolling pin
- scale (optional but SO HANDY for baking)
- oven preheated to 350 F (180 C)
- 1 cup softened unsalted butter (225 grams)
- 1 cup white sugar (200 grams)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 3 cups all purpose flour (375 grams)
- extra flour for rolling cookies
For best results, you'll want to weigh the flour in this recipe. I found measuring the right amount to be kinda tricky - kept ending up with more than I needed. :D
Step 2: Measuring the Flour
As stated on the previous step, your best bet here is to use a kitchen scale to weigh out 375 grams of all purpose flour.
If you don't have a scale, here's how to measure the flour by hand:
- Use a spoon to "fluff" the flour in whatever container it's in.
- Spoon the flour into a one cup measure. Don't pack it in, just let it fall into the cup - mound it up over the cup rim.
- Use the spoon handle to scrape across the top of the measuring cup to remove the excess flour.
- Repeat this process three times.
It's important to use a light hand while measuring - it's really easy to get too much flour instead of too little. See the second photo for more information. :)
Step 3: Creaming the Butter, Sugar and Salt
Add the softened butter, sugar and salt to a large bowl.
Using a hand mixer, mix on medium speed for one minute until everything is nicely combined.
(Be very careful to not over-whip this - it'll make your cookies spread more as they bake.)
Step 4: Adding Egg and Vanilla
Once the butter, sugar and salt are creamed together, add in the egg and vanilla. Mix until everything is combined on medium - no more than 15-30 seconds. The mix should be homogenous in color at this point.
Step 5: Mixing Wet and Dry Ingredients
Now we'll start to add in the flour! I like to add half the flour, mix it in, and then add the other half and mix again.
The resulting mix should look like the last photo - pebbly but coming together!
Step 6: Forming the Dough and Rolling It Out
This dough will be more crumbly than sticky, so I recommend using a spatula or floured hands to press it together into a ball.
Once it's formed together, cut the dough in half.
Flour your work surface (I like to use a sheet of wax paper for easy clean up!) and place one half of the dough down. Use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough out so it's between 1/4 - 1/3 of an inch.
Thicker is better with these!
Step 7: Cutting Out Shapes
Once your dough is rolled out, it's time to cut out your cookies!
Dip the cookie cutters into the flour before each cut - that way the dough won't stick to the insides of the cutters.
Cut as many cookies as you can and then peel away the excess cookie dough. Re-roll the extra dough to cut more cookies if needed.
(Full disclosure: while this is a "no chill" recipe, I do still like to put my extra dough into the fridge as I work. Your kitchen is sure to heat up quite a bit, so it's a good idea to make sure your dough stays nice and cool. The warmer it gets, the more the cookies will spread as they cook.)
Step 8: Baking the Cookies
Transfer the cookies to an ungreased baking sheet, leaving a couple of inches of space between them.
Bake in a 350 F (180 C) oven for 10-14 minutes. The baking time depends on how thick your cookies are and how soft you like them. I like them with a little crunch, so I almost always bake for 12-14 minutes.
If you're using a dark cookie sheet, you will want to reduce the cooking time a little as the cookies will brown quicker on one of those!
I bake one sheet at a time - this way I can bake cookies while readying the next batch for the oven.
(P.S. The decoration I'm using is called "pearl sugar" and can resist the high heat of the oven without melting! You can easily press the sugar into the cookies before baking, which is what I've chosen to do. :D)
Step 9: Cooling + Decorating
Once your cookies are done baking, place the sheet on a cooling rack and let it come down to room temperature.
If you're wanting to decorate your cookies, make sure they're completely cool or you'll wind up with frosting and sprinkles melting.
One they're cool, store them in an airtight container at room temperature. They'll be good for about a week, but I doubt they'll last that long. :D