During my pregnancy, I craved sugar cookies like a mad woman. I pretty much never bought them, but any opportunity to make them, I did. When it came time to whipping up a batch of cookies for Santa, my mind immediately went to a simple sugar cookie—huge emphasis on simple.
These were really easy to make, especially with the assistance of my favorite kitchen helper.
The cookies are soft and chewy, thanks to the cream cheese and oil (I know sometimes it sounds weird to add oil to cookies but I find that cookies and muffins/cakes made with oil are always really tender and moist). You can change up what you roll or top the cookies with based on the occasion. We kept them simple with just a little bit of silver decorating sugar, but these would be great with some pastel sprinkles or decorating sugar for Easter or springtime renditions. These were a big hit with our family and Santa too (yes, I’m posting them just a wee bit late). Zachary was happy to see the cookies gone the next morning – though his prediction was wrong. The night before I asked him, “Do you think Santa will eat the cookies we leave for him?” to which he replied, “I think he’s just going to eat one of them and tell us to eat the rest.” Nice try, kid.
I’m happy to report that I have about 1/3 of a batch of these in my freezer at the moment, and these will be making a reappearance very soon.
Chewy Sugar Cookies
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated via The Nifty Foodie
2.25 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1.5 cups sugar
3 oz. cream cheese, cut into small pieces
6 Tbsp. butter, melted and warm
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 Tbsp. milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup additional sugar and/or decorating or turbinado sugar for rolling
sprinkles if desired
Preheat the oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Place the sugar and cream cheese in a large bowl; pour the warm butter over it and whisk to combine—it will be slightly lumpy. Whisk in the oil until blended, and then add the egg, milk, and vanilla, whisking until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until dough forms.
Use your hands to gently form 2 dozen balls with the dough, being sure not to over-handle the dough. Place the turbinado/decorating sugar into a shallow bowl, and roll each ball around in the sugar before placing on the lined baking sheet. Flatten each dough ball gently with the bottom of a small glass, so they are uniform in size. Sprinkle with a little additional sugar (and sprinkles, if desired) and then bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges are just set.
Cool on wire rack.