Can you believe that Christmas is only 6 days away? I have a lot of baking to do this weekend, and I’m quite excited about it. I love Christmas baking. Bring on the cookies! There are so many amazing recipes that I want to try, it is really hard to narrow it down to just a few. But each year I know that sugar cookies will be on the baking list in one form or another.
I’m a big fan of sugar cookies around Christmas. I don’t know why, but there is just something about them that reminds me of Christmas and being at home with my family. And there are so many great varieties – spritz cookies, cut-out cookies, sables (like the ones I made the other day). This recipe is for a classic chewy sugar cookie – the kind that you would might find at your favorite local bakery as a kid. Or if you’re from St. Louis, the kind that you would get at Schnucks market while your mom was grocery shopping. They are soft and chewy and just amazing. Plus you can decorate them with colored sugar, making them so pretty and festive!
There is a secret ingredient in here. I’ll give you a hint – I used it in these chocolate chip cookies….it is cream cheese! It makes these cookies so rich. A combo of butter and oil keeps them nice and chewy. The geniuses at America’s Test Kitchen come up with the most amazing recipes – I never would have thought to use butter, oil, AND cream cheese in a cookie. But I’m glad I tried it, because these taste amazing, and have literally the perfect texture.
Every year I make cut out sugar cookies decorated with icing, usually with my mom and sisters if I’m in St. Louis for Christmas. I have been doing it for years and they are always so cute and so tasty. But man are they a lot of work! Make the dough, chill the dough, roll out the dough, cut out the cookies, bake the cookies, chill the cookies, make the icing, ice the cookies, clean it alllll up. Phew. I’m tired just typing that all out! So I’m taking the year off from those cookies. They’ll be back next year for the blog! But this year, I’m happy with these cute and easy sugar cookies. They taste delicious, have the perfect texture, and come together so quickly. Perfect for Christmas!
Chewy Sugar Cookies
Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen
2 1/4 cups (11 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar, plus 1/3 cup for rolling
2 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and still warm
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place 1/3 cup sugar in a shallow bowl and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In a large bowl, add 1 1/2 cups sugar and cream cheese, then pour warm butter over the mixture. Whisk to combine – it is ok if some lumps of cheese remain. Add the oil and whisk until combined. Add the egg, milk and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Add the flour mixture and stir until everything comes together.
Scoop the dough into 2 tablespoon sized portions and roll into balls. Gently roll balls in the sugar to coat and then place on prepared cookie sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Try to handle the dough as little as possible.
Using the bottom of a glass, flatten the dough until the cookies are 2 inches in diameter. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with colored sugar (or regular white sugar).
Bake the cookies for 11 – 13 minutes, until the edges are just beginning to brown. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.