I love sugar cookies. LOVE them. I've made two different recipes so far, and really didn't like either of them. With my new copy Baking Illustrated in hand, I knew it was just a matter of time until I had the perfect sugar cookie in my hand. These came together fairly easy. Rolling and pressing is more time consuming than my normal cookie shaping techniques, but it was worth it! This is my first recipe from this cookbook and it did NOT disappoint!
Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies
Source: Baking Illustrated, from the Editors of Cook's Illustrated
Yield: 28 cookies for me!
~2 cups (10 ounces) AP flour (lower protein) such as Pillsbury or Gold Medal)
~1/2 tsp baking powder
~1/4 teaspoon salt
~16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool (they recommend 65F) (reserve butter wrappers for later)
~1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar, plus 1/2 cup for rolling dough
~1 tablespoon light brown sugar
~1 large egg
~1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 375º F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl, set aside.
2. Cream together the butter, 1 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the egg and vanilla; beat at medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the dry ingredients at low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl as needed.
3. Place the sugar for rolling in a shallow bowl. Fill a medium bowl halfway with cold tap water. Dip your hands in the water and shake off any excess (this will prevent the dough from sticking to your hands and ensure that the sugar sticks to the dough). Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough into a 1 1/2 inch ball between moistened palms, roll the ball in the sugar, and then place it on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, moistening your hands as necessary and spacing the balls about 2 inches apart. Butter the bottom of a drinking glass with the butter wrapper. Dip glass in the remaining sugar and flatten the balls down to about 3/4 inch thick (re-dip glass in sugar as necessary to prevent sticking).
4. Bake for 15-18 minutes until the cookies are golden brown around the edges and their centers are just set and very lightly colored, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom half-way through baking. Cool on sheets about 3 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.