Classic Sugar Cookies

October 26, 2020
No long ingredient list, no fancy mix-ins -- Just straight up classic Sugar Cookies, made with a simple mix of butter, sugar, and vanilla to bring fabulous flavor to these cookie favorites.  Sweet and buttery, soft in the center, and crisp on the edges, these sugar cookies are traditional sugar cookies at their best.

Stack of Traditional Sugar Cookies Image

When it comes to cookie favorites, there's just not much simpler than a classic sugar cookie.  Because classic sugar cookies are truly just a simple mix of butter, sugar, vanilla, egg, and flour, combined with a leavener to help them rise.

There's no long list of ingredients here.  And no fancy mix-ins to bring them texture and flavor.  They truly rely just upon their simple combination of butter, sugar, and vanilla for their fabulousness.

And ooooh, when a sugar cookie's good, it's sooo good, am I right?  But sometimes? -- Sometimes sugar cookies can be a let down.  Sometimes they can be just bland little discs without much life to them at all.

Sweet and buttery, soft in the center, and crisp on the edges, these sugar cookies are traditional sugar cookies at their best.

That's because while indeed simple in their ingredients and method, the amounts of these simple ingredients matter. -- To both the finished cookies' flavor and their texture.

Not enough sugar can leave sugar cookies disappointing in flavor, while too much can make them crumbly in texture. Too much butter can lead to excessive spreading.  And not enough vanilla? - This can leave the flavor flat. 

After trying and tweaking several sugar cookie recipes over the years, this is our go-to sugar cookie recipe for the best-flavored and best-textured classic sugar cookie.  They're sweet and buttery in flavor, soft in the center, and crisp on the edges -- Just the way we love them.  We hope you love them, too!

Traditional Sugar Cookies Image

Classic Sugar Cookie Ingredients

Classic sugar cookies are truly just a simple mix of butter, sugar, vanilla, egg, and flour, combined with a leavener to help them rise.  To whip up a tasty batch, all you'll need is:

  • Unsalted butter - Since butter is so important to the sugar cookies' flavor, I recommend sticking with real butter rather than substituting margarine. Use unsalted butter so you can control the amount of salt in the recipe.

  • Granulated sugar - The key ingredient! It just wouldn't be sugar cookies without a good dose of sugar. -- And regular granulated sugar works best for both these cookies' flavor and texture.

  • Vanilla extract - A full 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract brings fabulous flavor to these traditional sugar cookies.  Since it's such an important element to the cookies' flavor, be sure to use pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla.

  • An egg - Serves as the binder for the cookie dough, and 1 is all that's needed for this recipe.

  • All-purpose flour - A ratio of 2 cups all-purpose flour to 1 cup butter lets the butter and sugar flavor shine in this version of classic sugar cookies.

  • Baking powder - The leavening agent that creates the cookies' rise.

  • Salt - A 1/2 teaspoon of salt is all that's needed to work with the baking powder for the cookies' rise, and to brighten the cookies' flavor.
Traditional Sugar Cookie Ingredients Image

How to Make Classic Sugar Cookies

Making a batch of sugar cookies is pretty straightforward, as far as cookies go.  Here are a few quick tips to help get the best result:

  • Soften the butter - You want the butter soft, but not too soft.  It should be at a point where your finger makes a small indentation when pressed into the butter.  But the butter should not be glistening from being melty, or at a point that your finger goes deeply into the stick of butter when pressed.

  • Cream for a full 3 minutes - Cream the butter and sugar together for a full 3 minutes until it's light, fluffy and pale yellow in color.  This incorporates air into the dough and helps create a soft, tender texture.

  • Do not overmix - Once the dry ingredients have been added, mix the dough only until just combined.  When rolling the dough into balls, handle the dough gently and as little as possible.  Overmixing and overhandling once the dry ingredients enter the mix can make the finished cookies tough.

  • Do not overbake - To keep the cookies' soft and tender centers, do not overbake.  If anything, err on the side of underbaking them if you prefer sugar cookies with some softness to them.

The dough will be very soft, so shaping into a "rustic" ball will do. - No need for it to be perfectly shaped.

To make a batch, start by creaming together butter and sugar.  You want to cream these for a full 3 minutes until the mixture is light, fluffy, and pale yellow in color.  Then mix in an egg and vanilla extract.

Incorporate flour, baking powder, and a little touch of salt, mixing until the dry ingredients are just combined.

Once the dough is mixed, scoop 1 & 1/2 to 2 tablespoons for each cookie.  Roll each scoop gently and quickly with your hands to form a ball.  The dough will be very soft, so shaping into a "rustic" ball will do. -- No need for it to be perfectly shaped.

Scoop of Sugar Cookie Dough Image

Roll the dough balls in sugar and then place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Space them about 2 inches apart to allow for spreading as the cookies bake.

Rolling Sugar Cookie Dough Ball in Granulated Sugar Image

Dip the bottom of a flat-bottomed drinking glass in sugar. Use the bottom of the glass to lightly press down on the balls of dough to flatten them just a bit.

Pressing Sugar Cookie Dough Ball with Drinking Glass Image

You want to flatten the dough balls to 1/2-inch thickness, and about 1 & 3/4-inch diameter.  Don't completely squash the dough and flatten them too much. -- Just a little bit. 

How to Make Traditional Sugar Cookies Image

Once flattened, pop the cookies in the oven and bake them up for 10 to 11 minutes, until the edges are a very pale golden color. The centers should still look soft and pale white.

To keep the cookies' soft and tender centers, do not overbake.  If anything, err on the side of underbaking them if you prefer sugar cookies with some softness to them.

Traditional Sugar Cookies on Baking Sheet Image

And then you're good to go with enjoying the sugar cookie deliciousness!

Sweet and buttery, soft in the center, and crisp on the edges, these sugar cookies are indeed classic sugar cookies at their best.  They're just the way we love them, and we sure hope you love them too.

Traditional Sugar Cookies on Cooling Rack Image
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sugar cookie recipe, classic sugar cookies, traditional sugar cookies, how to make sugar cookies
Cookies & Bars
American
Yield: about 24 cookies
Author: Tracey | The Kitchen is My Playground
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Classic Sugar Cookies

Classic Sugar Cookies

No long ingredient list, no fancy mix-ins -- Just straight up classic Sugar Cookies, made with a simple mix of butter, sugar, and vanilla to bring fabulous flavor to these cookie favorites. Sweet and buttery, soft in the center, and crisp on the edges, these sugar cookies are traditional sugar cookies at their best.
Prep time: 20 MinCook time: 11 MinTotal time: 31 Min

Ingredients

Cookie Dough:
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
Sugar for Rolling:
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. With an electric mixer at medium speed, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy and pale yellow in color, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, as needed.
  2. Add egg and vanilla extract. Beat until well combined.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture, and beat at low speed until just combined.
  4. Place the 1/4 cup sugar for rolling in a small bowl. Scoop 1 & 1/2 to 2 tablespoons dough for each cookie, and gently and quickly roll dough into a ball with your hands. Roll balls in sugar and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Space dough balls about 2 inches apart to allow for spreading as the cookies bake.
  5. Dip the bottom of a flat-bottomed drinking glass in sugar. Use the bottom of the glass to lightly press down on the balls of dough, flattening them to 1/2-inch thickness, and about 1 & 3/4-inch diameter. (Do not flatten them too much.) Dip the bottom of the glass in sugar after every two or three cookies.
  6. Bake at 375℉ for 10 to 11 minutes, until edges are a very pale golden color. The centers should still look soft and pale white.
  7. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer with spatula to a cooling rack to cool completely.
TRACEY'S NOTES:
  1. Sugar, butter, and vanilla combine to deliver up sugar cookies' fabulous flavor. -- Since it's so important to the flavor, be sure to use pure vanilla extract for these cookies, not imitation vanilla.
  2. To keep the cookies' soft and tender centers, do not overbake.  If anything, err on the side of underbaking them if you prefer sugar cookies with some softness to them.
Created using The Recipes Generator
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Classic Sugar Cookies ~ Sweet & buttery, soft in the center, and crisp on the edges, these are classic Sugar Cookies at their best! No long ingredient list, no fancy mix-ins -- just straight up traditional Sugar Cookies, made with a simple mix of butter, sugar, and vanilla to bring fabulous flavor.  #sugarcookies #classicsugarcookies #sugarcookierecipe  www.thekitchenismyplayground.com


This post is linked with Weekend PotluckMeal Plan Monday.

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