Tag Archives: sugar cookies

Lemon Sugar Cookies

Lemon Sugar CookiesIf you’re keeping track, this is my third lemon dessert in six weeks. What can I say? I’ve got a fridge full of lemons and I know how to use them.

Sunny Lemon Upside-Down Cake
Lemon Meringue Tart
Lemon Sugar Cookies ✅✅✅ Lemon Sugar CookiesY’all these Lemon Sugar Cookies are so good and so easy! The dough comes together in a pot on the stove just like my Maple Sugar Cookies—no need to dirty a mixing bowl! There’s no chill required for this recipe either, although there are a couple of ten minute rests for the flour to soak in all that buttery lemon goodness. Still, these are easy, easy, easy.Lemon Sugar CookiesThe ingredient list here is relatively short, but has one somewhat unusual addition: confectioner’s sugar. This super-smooth mix of sugar and cornstarch keeps these cookies soft, tender and just sweet enough. If you’ve tried my all-egg yolks chocolate chip cookies, you know what a game changer this is!

As for the lemon flavor, it comes from lemons (duh). The dough is flavored with only lemon zest, and the baked cookies finished off with a quick lemon glaze. The finished products are buttery and bright and pretty dang wonderful, but you can add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract if you’d like an extra lemony punch.Lemon Sugar CookiesPro Tip: wait a little bit to eat these. The difference in flavor between the time they are glazed and thirty minutes later is shocking to say the least. Somehow that half hour allows the lemon flavor to really shine through.Lemon Sugar CookiesLemon Sugar Cookies are crisp at the edges and chewy throughout, the way so many of the best cookies are. And make no mistake, these are the best cookies—the kind that are low maintenance and deliver big time. Take the time to make a batch this weekend. You’ll see.Lemon Sugar Cookies

Lemon Sugar Cookies
makes about 1.5 dozen cookies

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest (from about 1 medium-large lemon)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Lemon Glaze:
2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
5-6 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1/2 of a medium-large lemon)

Arrange your oven racks in central positions. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two rimmed sheet pans with parchment. Set aside.

Place butter in a medium pot (4 quart) over medium-low heat. Melt, then cool 10 minutes.

Combine the sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl and use your fingertips to rub them together. Whisk the mixture into the butter, followed by the confectioner’s sugar.

Add the egg and yolk to the pot and whisk to combine. Whisk in the vanilla, followed by flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Let dough sit for 10 minutes.

Scoop dough in 1 1/2 tablespoon increments (I use a medium cookie scoop). Roll into balls and place at least 2.5 inches apart on prepared pans. Bake cookies 10-11 minutes, or until puffed and no longer raw looking. Cookies will relax as they begin to cool.

Set a cooling rack over a pieces of wax paper or parchment.

Let cookies cool for 10 minutes on the pans before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Make the glaze. In a small bowl use a fork to whisk together confectioner’s sugar, salt and 5 teaspoons fresh lemon juice. Add more lemon juice by the 1/2 teaspoon, until desired consistency is reached.

Load glaze into a small piping bag and snip off the tiniest corner. The glaze will be dry to the touch within 20 minutes and harden after a few hours.

For best lemon flavor, let glazed cookies rest for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Lemon Sugar CookiesLemon Sugar Cookies

Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Soft Sour Cream Sugar CookiesSoft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies. Try saying that five times fast. Or, you know, skip the silliness and just make ‘em.Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

These are a homemade take on the super soft, vibrantly frosted Lofthouse Cookies I loved during my college years. While you won’t find me buying them these days, I think about them more than is probably reasonable. They are like a supermarket birthday cake and some sugar cookies had a baby and I am here for it.Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Like the cookies that inspired them, these are feather-soft thanks to the sour cream and confectioner’s sugar mixed into the dough. Those ingredients in particular make these puffy sugar cookies super tender and almost cakey. I know I’ve railed against cakey cookies in the past, but I’ll make an exception for these.Soft Sour Cream Sugar CookiesSoft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

The dough comes together pretty quickly, but is on the sticky side and needs a chill before baking. I roll these cookies super thick (1/2 inch) and cut them with a 2-inch cutter. I tested with bigger cutters, but found that a smaller diameter helps the cookies to bake evenly, reducing the chances of dense centers and crisp edges. While those are usually good things in cookies, these are best when they’re soft all around. In fact, I prefer to eat them the day after they’re baked for maximum softness. So good.

Quick tip: in case you want to take your sugar cookie game to the next level, you could absolutely make these in the shape of a football, heart, Christmas tree or other simple shape. Keep in mind that this dough spreads and puffs a bit, so you won’t want to do anything terribly intricate. But also…go wild.Soft Sour Cream Sugar CookiesSoft Sour Cream Sugar CookiesSoft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies are good unadorned, but a thick smear of vanilla buttercream and smattering of sprinkles take them over the top! I went with a pink marbled motif, dying half my frosting and then spreading both colors together, but feel free to use whatever color(s) of frosting or variety of sprinkles you like here. Get festive with it for holidays, big games, birthdays or any day!Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies
makes about 3 dozen medium cookies

Cookie Dough:
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar, packed
1 large egg
1/2 cup sour cream (not fridge-cold)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For Decorating:
Vanilla Buttercream (recipe below)
food coloring, if desired
sprinkles of choice

Special Equipment:
a 2-inch round cookie cutter
offset icing spatula

Make the cookie dough. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, confectioner’s sugars, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in sugar, followed by egg, sour cream and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in 2 installments, beating until combined. Dough will be a bit sticky.

Divide dough into halves and wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.

Place oven racks in central positions. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper. Set aside.

Generously flour a surface and rolling pin. Unwrap one half of the dough. Roll the dough to 1/2-inch thickness, lifting and turning the dough frequently so that it doesn’t stick to your surface. Use a 2-inch round cutter to cut cookies. Cut directly down. Do not twist.

Place cookies 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Bake 9-10 minutes, rotating top-to-bottom and back-to-front at the 5 minute mark. Cookies are done when puffed and no-longer raw-looking. They should be mostly pale, but there may be some golden coloring at the bottom edges. Let cookies cool on the pans for 8-10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Let sheet pans come to room temperature before proceeding with the next batch.

Repeat rolling, cutting and baking with remaining half of dough. Re-roll scraps as desired, refrigerating if anything gets too sticky.

After cookies have cooled completely, use an offset icing spatula to frost each one with about 1 tablespoon of Vanilla Buttercream (I used 1/2 tablespoon each pink and plain white buttercreams). Garnish with sprinkles immediately after frosting. Buttercream will crust after an hour or so. You may serve the cookies immediately after frosting, but they are softest the next day.

After they’ve crusted, leftovers may be layered with wax or parchment paper and kept in an airtight container. They will keep at room temperature for a couple of days or I’m the refrigerator for up to a week.

Vanilla Buttercream

makes enough for 3 dozen cookies (with a little leftover)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3-5 tablespoons heavy cream
food coloring, if desired

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in confectioner’s sugar in three installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Beat in salt and vanilla. Add in heavy cream until desired consistency is reached.

To dye half of the buttercream, remove half to a smaller bowl. Add a drop of gel food coloring (or a few drops of liquid) and use your electric mixer to beat until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.

Use buttercream to frost Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies.

Soft Sour Cream Sugar CookiesSoft Sour Cream Sugar CookiesSoft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Maple Sugar Cookies

Maple Sugar CookiesY’all, please believe me when I tell you these are *the* best and easiest Maple Sugar Cookies out there. They are so, so good. Throughout the pandemic, I’ve agonized over how best to distribute my blogging leftovers, but these? I kept them all to myself. I didn’t even give one to my roommate.Maple Sugar CookiesSo, what makes these Maple Sugar Cookies the best? Well, to start with, they’re chewy sugar cookies with big maple flavor–you can’t go wrong with that combo! In addition to maple syrup in both the dough and the glaze, these cookies are filled with a bunch of other very delicious things like nutty brown butter, light brown sugar, vanilla, and a pinch of nutmeg that really makes the flavors sing. Basically, there’s no way these were ever going to be anything but great.

As for the ease factor, these are the kind of cookies you can make on a whim. There’s no softening of butter, no chill, and the batch is only 1.5 dozen, so you won’t spend an hour baking off dough balls instead of eating cookies.Maple Sugar CookiesHeck, you don’t even need a bowl for this recipe! Nope, the dough comes together in a pot on the stove. I was inspired to try this method after seeing Lauren Brennan’s hot pot sugar cookies over the summer. I tried her recipe as-is and then did what I wanted, including browning the butter, adding brown sugar, reducing the sugar overall, eliminating the extra egg yolk, adding maple syrup and adjusting the bake temperature and time. You may have noticed that this stovetop mixing method has made its way into my favorite brownie recipe too—fewer dishes for the win!Maple Sugar CookiesMaple Sugar CookiesTo make Maple Sugar Cookies, start by browning the butter. Just when the milk solids turn golden, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugars and maple syrup. Let the mix cool about ten minutes before adding an egg, two teaspoons of vanilla and the dry ingredients. Then let the dough rest for ten more minutes before scooping, rolling and baking.

Don’t be alarmed if your dough feels greasy while rolling. It probably will. You haven’t done anything wrong and, no, more flour is not the answer. Rest assured that this is just how this dough feels, but it will bake into soft, chewy cookies that are anything but greasy. I wouldn’t steer you wrong—Maple Sugar Cookies are serious business.Maple Sugar CookiesWhile these cookies are delicious enough that they don’t need adornment, you know I love a glaze. This one is just confectioner’s sugar, maple syrup and a pinch of salt. Whirl it up and drizzle it on the finished cookies. You may drizzle with a fork, or follow my lead and use a piping bag with the tiniest corner snipped off. Hello, I am a control freak.Maple Sugar CookiesThe last step in making Maple Sugar Cookies? Wait, but not for long. Just for like an hour or so. As with many baked goods, the flavors need this time to meld and settle. Will your cookies be bad if you eat them right away? Of course not—they’re cookies!—but the maple flavor won’t shine through the way it will sixty minutes later. Trust me when I tell you that, after an hour, you will be rewarded for your patience with perfect chewy, mapley cookies with hints of brown butter and brown sugar. And while the batch makes plenty to share, I won’t blame you one bit if you hoard them all to yourself. Maple Sugar Cookies

Maple Sugar Cookies
inspired by & heavily adapted from Lauren’s Latest
makes about 1.5 dozen cookies

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Maple Glaze:
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2-3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Arrange your oven racks in central positions. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two rimmed sheet pans with parchment. Set aside.

Brown the butter. Place butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Let butter melt. Butter will bubble and crackle as the water content evaporates. Swirl the pan frequently for 5-7 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. When the solids are turning brown and the butter is nutty and fragrant, remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the light brown sugar, granulated sugar and maple syrup. Let cool 10 minutes.

Add the egg to the pot and whisk to combine. Whisk in the vanilla, followed by flour, nutmeg, baking soda and salt. Let dough sit for 10 minutes.

Scoop dough in 1 1/2 tablespoon increments (I use a medium cookie scoop). Roll into balls and place at least 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Bake cookies 9-10 minutes, or until puffed and no longer raw looking. Cookies will relax as they begin to cool.

Set a cooling rack over a pieces of wax paper or parchment.

Let cookies cool for 7 minutes on the pans before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Make the glaze. In a small bowl use a fork to whisk together confectioner’s sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Add more maple by the teaspoon, until desired consistency is reached.

Drizzle glaze over the cookies. The glaze will be dry to the touch within 20 minutes and harden after a few hours.

For best maple flavor, let glazed cookies rest for at least 60 minutes before serving.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Maple Sugar CookiesMaple Sugar CookiesMaple Sugar Cookies

Coconutdoodles

CoconutdoodlesPeople tell me all the time that they don’t bake because it doesn’t allow for improvising. I’m here to tell you that assumption about baking being all about precision is a big ol’ myth. At least half of the recipes in my archives started from a place of improvisation.

Now, could I have improvised so much when I first started baking? Probably not. The key is developing a few solid base recipes and paying attention to what different ingredients do—after that, it’s trying new things, like working with what you already have and fending off your crippling fear of failure. It’s the same with improvising during “regular” cooking, or in music or in theatre or in musical theatre. You’ve got to know the rules before you can bend them. But then, bend away, and if it doesn’t work, bend another way.CoconutdoodlesThe base recipe for these Coconutdoodles has been on here once already this year. It looks different there, filled with pecans and white chocolate chips, but the recipe is almost *exactly* the same otherwise. Same with last year’s Funfetti Cookies—take out the white chocolate chips and rainbow sprinkles and you have a blank slate sugar cookie recipe.CoconutdoodlesCoconutdoodlesCoconutdoodlesCoconutdoodlesThat’s right, a blank slate. A new start. A place to improvise by adding that random half-bag of coconut you have leftover from…well, I don’t remember what, but that’s beside the point. The point (!) is to load up that dough with as much coconut as it can take, then blitz the rest into a powder with some sugar and roll your cookie dough balls in it, snickerdoodle-style. But it’s coconut, so…Coconutdoodles.CoconutdoodlesCoconutdoodles bake up super thick and puffy, and while the sugary coconut-crusted exteriors don’t really toast, they do get extra crispy. Oh, and the insides are super chewy and loaded with an obscene amount of coconut. Ob-scene. I really thought it might be too much, or that it might make the cookies crumbly, but it‘s the exact right amount and these cookies stay soft for days. I know because I ate this whole batch myself. That was weeks ago and I’m still sad that they’re gone.CoconutdoodlesBut you know what? I have this blank slate sugar cookie dough, and I’ve got another half-bag of coconut, and heaven knows I’ve got time to make cookies this weekend. I’ll save my crippling fear of failure for next weekend.Coconutdoodles

Coconutdoodles
makes about 2.5 dozen cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract (optional, but recommended)
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut

Coating:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream butter until fluffy and lighter in color. Beat in granulated sugar. Mix in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two installments, beating until combined. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in coconut. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Make the coating. Combine granulated sugar and coconut in a food processor. Pulse 10-15 times or until mixture is snowy (no big pieces of coconut). Do not over-process, as mixture can become a paste. Place coating in a shallow bowl.

Scoop chilled dough in 2 tablespoon increments, and roll into balls. Roll each dough ball in the coating mixture. Place dough balls at least two inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies 10-11 minutes, until puffy. Let cool on baking sheets for five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat process with any remaining dough, letting the baking sheets come back to room temperature between batches.

Cookies will keep extremely well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

CoconutdoodlesCoconutdoodles

Friday Favorites: Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a divisive occasion, but whether you love it or hate it, it’s a week away. I, for one, think any excuse to show people you love them is a good one, and you won’t be surprised to learn that I express love primarily through food (and videos of dogs on Instagram).

Here are some of my favorite treats from Valentine’s Days past. Look out for a new one next Wednesday!Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayRed Velvet Cheesecake Bars

I may associate red velvet with Oscar Night, but most bakers like to make it for Valentine’s Day. These bars are much simpler to make than the traditional cake, and bypass the frosting in favor of a thick layer of cheesecake.Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayStrawberry Sugar Cookie Squares

I’ll never understand why strawberries are so popular for Valentine’s Day. Who wants to eat a flavorless February strawberry?! That said, freeze-dried strawberries are good year-round, especially when pulverized and mixed into soft sugar cookie squares and buttercream. They provide both flavor and color here—these are food coloring-free!Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayChocolate-Covered Strawberry Buttercreams

Speaking of strawberry buttercream, that’s the name and filling of these homemade candies! The frosting is made and chilled before being scooped, rolled, and enrobed in dark chocolate.Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayCoconut Cluster Brownies

I have a bit of a thing for cheap drugstore chocolate, which is exactly what inspired the milk chocolate-coconut candy layered on top of these brownies. I’ll take these over a heart-shaped box any day of the week!Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayChocolate-Dipped Brown Butter Shortbread

These Chocolate-Dipped Brown Butter Shortbread hearts are one of my favorite recipes on this site. They’re simple to make and the flavors are universally loved, and while you can make them in any shape you like, I think they are particularly adorable as half-dipped hearts.Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayChocolate Cut-Out Cookies

For all the class and restraint embodied in those shortbread, these cookies go in the exact opposite direction. They’re brash and bright and snarky and I l-o-v-e love them. Oh, and while icing is great, the rich chocolate cookies underneath are the real stars of the show.Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayChocolate Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

Valentine’s falls on a Friday this year, and if you’re anything like me, making a fuss after a long workweek is not my idea of a good time, especially if it means I have to wear real clothes. Skip the fancy dinner and celebrate the morning after with a Chocolate Puff Pancake. It’s super delicious and easy to make and you don’t have to change out of your pajamas to make it.

Have you made any of these or any of my other Valentine’s Day recipes? Let me know in the comments or on social media!Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayFriday Favorites: Valentine’s Day