I’m not sure I’d ever made traditional sugar cookies before this week. It’s mostly because I prefer chocolate in my cookies, but also because there are so many more exciting types of cookie to make– cookies with chunks, cookies with fillings, cookies with neat decorations– it’s hard enough to choose from those, so how could I settle for plain old sugar cookies?
I also admit that my mental picture of “sugar cookies” is probably skewed by memories of dry, overly-sweet supermarket sugar cookies, inevitably the last things to remain on dessert tables at parties and usually tossed at the end of the day. But sometimes you just have to go with the classics. And when I came across a recipe that promised I could make perfect sugar cookies without softening butter OR using a mixer, I knew I had to try it. Instead of butter these cookies use vegetable oil, which is easier to mix and also keeps the cookies nice and chewy. Additionally, it occurrs to me that these would work perfectly for ice cream sandwiches– without any butter in them to firm up in the freezer, they should stay chewy and bite-able even when cold!
I tweaked the recipe a little, adding a touch of artificial butter flavoring and a bit more salt to give it the good old-fashioned buttery profile. They came out picture-perfect– nicely round and crackly on top– and tasted fantastic as well! I will definitely add these to my recipe box– not only are they fast, easy, and delicious (and dairy-free, if that matters to you), but they’re perfect for making with kids! So what are you waiting for? Go try them!
No-Mixer Sugar Cookies (slightly adapted from Baking Bites)
Makes 18 cookies
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. butter flavoring (optional)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
3 tbs. sugar (for rolling)
1. Combine sugar, oil, egg, vanilla, and butter flavoring in a measuring cup, stirring with a fork until smooth. (I like to beat the sugar and egg together first, since the sugar helps break up the egg)
2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. Stir wet and dry ingredients together to make a soft dough.
4. Roll dough into 1 1/2″ balls and roll in the extra sugar.
5. Bake on parchment-lined baking sheets at 350 degrees F for 10-13 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Cookies are done with they are just barely colored (really, really pale, not even golden) at the bottom edges. For me this took 11 minutes. This will give you chewy cookies– if you want them crunchier, let them go the full 13 minutes until the bottom edges get lightly golden.
6. Let cool on baking sheets for about 5 minutes before removing to a rack. This is what the bottoms of the cookies will look like:
7. Store in airtight containers at room temperature. They’ll soften a tiny bit as you store them, though since the recipe only makes 18 I don’t think they’ll last long! I’m sure the recipe would double nicely, though.