How to Make Sugar Cookies from Scratch
When you know how to make sugar cookies from scratch, you're baking up a piece of food history. Though some of the first cookie-like cakes originated in Persia as early as the 7th century A.D., true sugar cookies (or biscuits, depending on where you live) are thought to be an American original. Specifically, from Nazareth, Pennsylvania, where a large majority of the settlers were German Protestants. That's why, in the early days, the sweet treats were sometimes called "Nazareth Sugar Cookies."

You can buy a mix or pre-made dough, but learning how to make sugar cookies from scratch will give you unrivaled buttery flavor and texture. In this recipe, the cookies bake for a longer time than usual, but at a lower oven temperature, resulting in a perfect chewy-tender cookie.

Transcript
Hi, I'm Miranda with Recipe.com and, today, I'm gonna show you how to make Tender Sugar Cookies. Now, these butter cookies cook longer and at a lower temperature than most cookies, keeping them nice and tender and delicious. Another secret to keeping them nice and tender is to make sure that they don't brown, so I have all of our ingredients laid out here. What do you say we get started with tender sugar cookies. So we have one cup of unsalted butter, softened; 1-1/4 cups of sugar, just granulated sugar, divided so one cup here and then a quarter cup over here; one teaspoon of baking powder; a quarter teaspoon of salt; one egg; one teaspoon of vanilla; and 2-1/4 cups of all-purpose flour. So, to start, I have a large mixing bowl here and I have a hand mixer so could also use a standing mixer, but you're definitely gonna want something to give your arm some assistance. So we're gonna begin just by creaming the butter, so we've softened it a little bit to make our job a bit easier, but we are just going to beat it on low for about 30 seconds. Until it's just nice and creamy and smooth. Great. Now, as I go with this, you'll notice that every now and again, I'm just gonna stop and scrape the sides. That's just really important when you're mixing, you wanna make sure that everything gets nice and involved in what we have going on here. Okay. So I'm going to add in my one cup of sugar, reserving that quarter cup for later. Just add this in, keep on mixing, just slowly introducing it until it's totally combined with the butter, stopping to give the sides just a little scrape. Smelling good, and looks more delicious smelling, and looking like this little white fluffy cloud of sugar and butter, and delicious. Okay. Keep on going. All right. Now it's time to add in my egg and vanilla...and let that get all nice and combined. Mixed in. I'm gonna give the sides one more scrape before beginning to incorporate the butter, and I'm gonna do that slowly. We're just gonna mix in as much as we can and just slowly introduce the dry to the wet. Whenever you're introducing dry ingredients to wet, you wanna go kind of as slow as you can so it has time to absorb. So, on low. Just gonna start with a little bit, and just continue to mix in until I've mixed in as much as I can with this hand blender. Okay, so everything is nice and combined. Look how great this looks. This is nice and sticky. I'm gonna be able to handle this just fine. If you find, however, that for whatever reason, yours is a little crumbly or you're not able to handle it, we're just gonna shape it into little like 1-inch balls. If you can't do that, then just cover your dough and refrigerate it from anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes until it's a little bit easier to handle, but we have some great dough here so we're gonna get started. We are just gonna form these into just little like 1-inch balls like this, and then and the last nice step will be to roll them in the sugar, so I'm gonna continue to demonstrate so that quarter cup of sugar that we had, you can just sort of like spread this out in our workspace and we're just going to roll this, just nicely get a little dusting of the sugar, and then place it on an ungreased cookie sheet, place them about 2 inches apart, and then when I'm done, I'm gonna pop them in the oven at 300 degrees for about 15 minutes, until the tops get a little bit crackled and the edges, you can definitely tell it's cooked but do not let them get brown. Again, that's the key to the super tender sugar cookie, so when I'm all done here, I'm gonna pop them in the oven for about 15 minutes, keeping an eye on them, making sure the tops are cracking but the edges are not getting browned. All right, our sugar cookies cooked for 15 minutes. Look how great they look. So, I've transferred them to a wire rack 'cause you do wanna let them fully cool on this wire rack. We don't want them to keep cooking on a baking sheet. Here they are. You can notice what I was talking about. See how the tops have kind of crackled and so have the sides but they're not brown, they're perfect and tender and delicious. Now, these little guys will keep for about 3 days if you store them in an airtight container. Recommend storing them, you know, using layers of waxed paper, or you can freeze them for up to 3 months. Just of course be sure to thaw them before enjoying them, so look how tender and perfect this is. Okay, I'm gonna have to take a bite, but there you have it. Now you know how to make Tender Sugar Cookies.
What You'll Need
  • 1   cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4  cups sugar
  • 1   teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4  teaspoon salt
  • 1   egg
  • 1   teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4  cups all-purpose flour


Step By Step
1
Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add 1 cup of the sugar, the baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. If necessary, cover and chill dough in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes or until dough is easy to handle.
2
Preheat oven to 300F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in preheated about 15 minutes or until tops are slightly crackled and sides are set (do not let edges brown). Transfer cookies to wire racks and let cool. Makes about 60 cookies.


Make Ahead Tip
  • For a colorful platter of cookies, roll the dough balls in different colored sugars instead of the white granulated sugar.
Storage
  • Place cookies in layers separated by pieces of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw cookies, if frozen, before serving.
While sugar cookies are always a holiday favorite, don't write them off as a once-a-year treat. Mark your calendar for National Sugar Cookie Day on July 9th, and add a little sweetness to your summer.
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