Soft and Chewy Sugar-Doodle Vanilla Cookies

Although these cookies are simple and unassuming, they’re a new favorite.

Sometimes the simplest things really are the best.

Soft and Chewy Sugar-Doodle Vanilla Cookies - Part soft sugar cookie, part chewy snickerdoodle, with tons of rich vanilla flavor!

They’re a chewy hybrid of a sugar cookie and a snickerdoodle. They have the buttery flavor of  sugar cookies without any of the dryness. Too often sugar cookies are dry, bland, and horribly crumbly. We all know those dried out poor excuses for cookies that are typically found on holiday platters and that disintegrate into a million crumbs all over your lap as you’re trying to eat neatly from a paper plate at someone’s holiday party and not get crumbs all over their carpet and couch. These are not those and they also don’t need to be rolled out or frosted or doctored up with sprinkles in order to be palatable, like many sugar cookies do.

They’re soft and pliable, with the chewy texture of a snickerdoodle, minus the cream or tartar or cinnamon-sugar coating, and I decided to call them a Sugar-Doodle.

Soft and Chewy Sugar-Doodle Vanilla Cookies - Part soft sugar cookie, part chewy snickerdoodle, with tons of rich vanilla flavor!

MY OTHER RECIPES

When I made the New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies, although those cookies didn’t end my quest for the perfect end-all-be-all chocolate chip cookie, the recipe opened my eyes to the chewy, texture-filled, jaw-workout powers of using bread flour in cookie dough. That recipe calls for both bread flour and cake flour, and although I believe cake flour is better being suited for cake-making and I’ll likely never use it in cookies again, bread flour can hop over from bread-making and into my cookies all it wants. Bread flour has a higher protein content than all-purpose flour, usually by one to two percentage points, and the extra protein means extra gluten, translating into baked goods that have excellent structure and increased chewiness.

I made these cookies using about a half-and-half ratio of bread and all-purpose flour, and although I haven’t tested the recipe solely using all-purpose flour, the cookies will turn out, but just won’t be as chewy. I am not one to recommend seventeen dollar strands of saffron, nor advocate that it’s the organic way or the highway, and when it comes to recommending ingredients, I don’t flippantly say things matter unless I really think they do. For five bucks for a bag of bread flour it’s a good one to have around. Plus, you can make bread with it.

Soft and Chewy Sugar-Doodle Vanilla Cookies - Part soft sugar cookie, part chewy snickerdoodle, with tons of rich vanilla flavor!

The cookie dough is classic, old-school cookie dough like my mom and grandma made. Cream together butter, sugars, an egg, splash of cream, vanilla, add the flour, baking soda and that’s it. Then, chill the dough for at least three hours because in order to create cookies that don’t turn into flat pancakes while baking, you need to start with well-chilled dough. I baked a trial batch of three cookies with dough that had only been chilled thirty minutes and although they weren’t paper thin, they were definitely flatter than those shown.

I typically keep a bowl of cookie dough in the refrigerator for up to five days after I initially make it. As desired, I bake off a couple cookies for that just-baked perfection that can’t be beat. If I happen to not use the dough within five days, I from balls and toss them into a ziplock, and then freeze it. As needed, I can dole out the frozen balls and bake as many cookies we want. Frozen dough doesn’t even have to be pre-thawed prior to baking. Simply take it out of the freezer while the oven is preheating, and if necessary, extend the baking time by an extra minute or two.

Be sure not to overbake these cookies if you want soft and chewy results. About nine minutes in my oven is perfect based on the size of dough used and that I prefer very soft, tender, and moist cookies. Even at about nine minutes, they look quite under-done on the tops, which are set but just barely. In general, if you wait to pull cookies from the oven until the tops are well-set, by the time they cool, they harden up too much. Plus, the bottoms will become too browned for my liking. Cookies can fool you into thinking they’re not done but somehow they always seem to set up dramatically as they cool. If you prefer crunchier cookies, extend the baking time to your liking.

Soft and Chewy Sugar-Doodle Vanilla Cookies - Part soft sugar cookie, part chewy snickerdoodle, with tons of rich vanilla flavor!

Normally I prefer cookies that are made with a higher ratio of brown to granulated sugar because brown sugar keeps cookies softer, moister, and helps impart greater chewiness and a richer flavor, but in this recipe, the equal ratios worked out perfectly.

I infused plenty of vanilla flavor into these golden discs without needing to scrape out fourteen dollars worth of vanilla bean seeds from a Tahitian vanilla bean. Instead, I used a liberal dousing of homemade vanilla extract, but a heavy-handed stream of storebought will work if you haven’t started your own vanilla-making distillery yet. The resulting cookies are well-scented with vanilla, but balanced so that the buttery sweet dough shines.

Soft and Chewy Sugar-Doodle Vanilla Cookies - Part soft sugar cookie, part chewy snickerdoodle, with tons of rich vanilla flavor!

Rather adding a kitchen sink medley of different kinds of chocolate, white chocolate, or butterscotch chips, I kept the ingredient list very simple. I want to get back to basics and some classic recipes and not every cookie recipe needs candy bars stuffed into it to be successful. These back-to-basics cookies stand on their own two feet incredibly well and are for those who can appreciate the cookie itself; the actual dough, rather than all the extras that seem to be found in cookies lately. Cookies made from cookie dough rather than leftover Halloween candy is nice for a change.

Sometimes I love well-stuffed cookies that can’t seem to hold one more chocolate chip, or decadent cakes with a myriad of flavor and textural elements going on, but sometimes rustic simplicity trumps all.

Soft and Chewy Sugar-Doodle Vanilla Cookies - Part soft sugar cookie, part chewy snickerdoodle, with tons of rich vanilla flavor!

My other favorite part of these cookies, in addition to their flavor and texture, is that the recipe makes just eleven cookies. You could probably squeeze a dozen out if you like round numbers, but I weighed each mound of cookie dough out to exactly 2.25-ounces each, and yielded eleven generously-sized cookies. Heidi made similar cookies using the recipe from this cookbook and she yielded just nine cookies.

I’ve wanted to make some Lofthouse-style sugar cookies, but the popular recipes I’ve seen make four to five dozen cookies and have a pesky three-egg situation, making them tricky to halve. We are a family of three. We don’t need four dozen anything and small batch sizes of six cupcakes or eleven cookies is plenty and perfect.

I fear the pictures don’t do my new favorite cookies justice. It’s hard for that which seems plain and basic to compete with monster-this and stuffed-to-the-gills-that, but if you’re looking for a lightly-sweetened, buttery cookie with vanilla tones, with chewy edges and pillowy soft centers, these good-old fashioned cookies are where it’s at.

I loved them so much that I made another batch because we tore through the first eleven in record time.

Soft and Chewy Sugar-Doodle Vanilla Cookies - Part soft sugar cookie, part chewy snickerdoodle, with tons of rich vanilla flavor!

Soft and Chewy Sugar-Doodle Vanilla Cookies - Part soft sugar cookie, part chewy snickerdoodle, with tons of rich vanilla flavor!

Soft and Chewy Sugar-Doodle Vanilla Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These cookies are a hybrid between a sugar cookie and a snickerdoodle, and are scented abundantly with vanilla. They have wonderfully chewy edges, thanks to the addition of bread flour, and soft, tender centers. The dough comes together very easily and quickly but needs to be refrigerated for at least 3 hours prior to baking so the cookies bake up thick, puffy, and chewy. The dough can be refrigerated for up to 5 days so you can bake off one or two cookies at a time, if preferred. This is a small-batch recipe and makes just one-dozen, perfect for times when more is not always better.
Serves: 1 dozen generous-sized cookies
Ingredients
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons cream or milk
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup bread flour (all-purpose flour may be substituted and used exclusively; bread flour yields chewier cookies and is recommended)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
Instructions
  1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on low speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sugars and beat on medium-high speed until creamed and well combined, 2 to 3 minutes. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the egg, cream, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flours, baking soda, salt, and mix until just combined, about 1 minute. Transfer dough to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, up to 5 days. Notes regarding the flour - solely using all-purpose flour will work, the cookies will not be as chewy or rise as well because bread flour creates chewier results and gives greater rise. Also, I live in a dry climate and only need 1¾ cups flour total but if you are in more humidity or your dough is very moist or loose, adding up to ¼ cup of additional flour, for 2 cups total, is possible. The more flour, the more the cookies will stay domed and puffed while baking.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat, parchment, or spray with cooking spray. Using a 2-ounce cookie scoop, form heaping mounds weighing 2¼-ounces each (weighed on a scale, which is approximately a scant ¼-cup measure) and place them on the baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until pale golden and edges have just set, even if slightly undercooked in the center, as cookies will firm up as they cool (The cookies shown in the photos were baked for 9 minutes and have chewy edges with soft pillowy centers. For crunchier cookies, extend baking time by 1 to 3 minutes). Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.
  3. Inspired by White Chocolate Snickerdoodles and the Saffron-Vanilla Snickerdoodles in The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee: Growing, Roasting, and Drinking, with Recipes

Related Recipes:

White Chocolate Snickerdoodle Cookies – Similar to today’s recipe however before baking the dough was rolled in a cinnamon-sugar coating and white chocolate chips are in the batter. I played with the flour type, quantity, and amount of baking soda in today’s version and really love the texture of the Sugar-Doodle Cookies because they’re much chewier, puffier, and plumper. The Snickerdoodles are thinner but have white chocolate and the cinnamon-sugar coating going for them. I can make a case for either version

Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars with Pink Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting – Snickerdoodle-Sugar Cookies, baked into bar form. Bars are faster to bake than individual cookies and no dough chilling is required, and the sweet yet tangy cream cheese frosting is the perfect complement to the bars

Puffy Vanilla and Peanut Butter Chip Cookies – These cookies are bursting with vanilla flavor, with strong notes of peanut butter, from the peanut butter chips used. They are puffy, fluffy, and became a hit on Pinterest and people write frequently saying they tried and loved these

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies {from Jacques Torres} – The cookies use a combination of bread flour and cake flour, and although the cake flour didn’t do it for me in these, using bread flour in cookie dough opened my eyes to the chewy, hearty, texture-filled results it creates in cookies

Peanut Butter Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip Cookies – One of my favorite cookies that I’ve ever made and they are consistently my most popular cookies with readers. They are old fashioned in many ways, butter, peanut butter, oatmeal, all in one, and the white chocolate chips are the feather in their cap

Do you like Sugar Cookies? Snickerdoodles? Have a favorite cookie recipe you can’t live without?

If you have favorite recipes, please link them. You’d think it would be hard to screw up butter, sugar, eggs, and flour, but there are millions of dud cookie recipes out there to prove it.

Too often sugar cookies and snickerdoodles are crumbly, dry, bland, or boring, which renders them inedible. And if they’re soft, like the popular Lofthouse-style sugar cookies, many times they’re almost too soft and devoid of any texture or chewiness. Soft is good but I don’t like mushy; chewiness is also important. Cookies can be tricky.

The winner of the An Edible Mosaic Cookbook Giveaway is Marina@Picnic at Marina

The winner of the Special K Gift Basket Giveaway is Cassie

165 comments on “Soft and Chewy Sugar-Doodle Vanilla Cookies”

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  2. I have been a fan of snickerdoodles and cookies in general all my life, hence the name of my website. I plan to try your Sugar Doodle recipe soon. I moved from Dallas to the Denver area a year ago and am wondering if I should make any high altitude modifications to the recipe. I know that cookies in general require minimal modifications for altitude, but for reference, could you tell me the approximate altitude where you live?

    • I live at sea level, San Diego. I am definitely not an expert in altitude baking based on where I live. I know the King Arthur website has a page on altitude baking tips (google it) that’s very helpful and thorough. Good luck and let me know how things go, and what if any changes you make!

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  4. I love love love a good vanilla cookie and was anxious to try this out. But even with following the recipe to the exact the first time out, the cookies were terribly flat and a bit ‘uncooked’ in the center despite baking to fairly browned edges. I do a ton of baking and thinking I may not have chilled the dough long enough the first time, I gave it second shot with boosted vanilla and a bit extra flour and about 5-6 hrs chilling. They came out of the oven with a little bit of lift but as soon as they started to cool they again went completely flat. They were more evenly baked this time with a few extra minutes of time but just didn’t have any resemblence to anything close to mildly puffy. Wasn’t looking for a lofthouse, but was hoping for a lighter cookie in the end.

    • Thanks for trying the recipe and for being so diligent and trying it twice and sorry they didn’t work out for you. The recipe is adapted from the Saffron-Vanilla Snickerdoodles from The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee Cookbook that I linked in the post. They aren’t a super puffy cookie as you can see from my photos but I’ve never had the experience with them that you did where they went flat. I use King Arthur flour which has a bit higher gluten in it than say Gold Medal or others which can give things a bit more lift. That would be my only suggestion? Sorry I can’t offer any more advice because they’ve always come out great for me.

  5. My dough is in the fridge now, but I must say the batter is pretty good. I can’t wait for the last hour to finish so I can start baking. Thanks for the recipe!

  6. My son and I tried these today. I love bread flour for cookies as well but I don’t have any right now, as I was too cheap to buy it last time I was grocery shopping. :) Even with just all purpose flour, my cookies came out looking like your picture. And I fully intended on making them as the recipe’s written but at the last minute added chocolate chips for my son. I actually made pretty big cookies, which don’t usually seem to work out well for me. The edges brown before the center is done. Yet this recipe pulled it off. My husband and 4 kids all enjoyed them. The only change I will make next time is adding more salt. That really makes a difference to me. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Glad the big cookies came out okay (I know what you mean about edges brown before the center is done) but glad this recipe beat the odds for you. And salt, such a personal thing, so yes just add as much as you prefer. Sounds like you had a happy family!

  7. I’m super excited to try these!! (just have to buy some bread flour haha) they sound delicious. Do you have a regular sugar cookie recipe? Thank you! (btw your caramel apple cheesecake crumble bars were a hit at the holidays this year). Love your recipes!! :)

  8. I personally prefer thinner cookies, but I love the chewiness. If I don’t refrigerate them will they still be chewy? Thank you!

    • I think they’ll still be chewy but part of the chew factor does come from having a bit of thickness. Very thin cookies usually aren’t chewy, they tend to be crispy, in my experience at least.

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  11. These were absolutely delicious, and I found myself unable to stop nibbling at the dough. However, my cookies came out to be thin and flat – turning my baking pan into one big flat layer of cookie! I chilled for almost 24 hours. After chilling was when I used a cookie scoop and placed them onto the tray. It didn’t take that long, so I wouldn’t think that the cookies heated back up that much to room temperature. Next time I will try scooping AND THEN chilling AFTER! :)

    • You want to scoop the soft dough right out of the mixing bowl onto a plate or something flat you can put in your fridge. Chill the dough balls for as long as possible, at least 3 hours, overnight is better given your situation what you described. Then, preheat the oven, then put the cold dough balls on your baking sheet and bake. Also, make sure your baking soda is perfectly fresh and I love King Arthur brand flour b/c it has a little extra gluten so things dont spread and flatten as easily. Worth the extra couple bucks. I think if you follow all those tips you’ll be set!

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  13. Hello. I love your cookie recipes, I’m slowly making my way through them because they all look so delicious, and the ones I’ve had taste delicious! I did have a question though. I have a coworker that has an egg allergy. As I often bring my cookies into work because I don’t want to eat them all myself, I would love to bring some in that she can have as well! Do you have any recommendations for the best egg replacement for this recipe?

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  17. Hmm something happened to mine. They chilled overnight but the dough was so crazy sticky and the cookies were pretty flat. I did use the 1 cup and 3/4 cup of the two flours. I am a pretty able baker so I just am not sure. They taste nice, just not thick and chewy at all. 

  18. I usually enjoy baking but I made it through the holiday season without a sweet tooth. It was wonderful (for my “figure”). But today a storm hit Southern CA and I had some time alone with my 5-year old. So I suggested to him we bake. I was thinking Snickerdoodles to go with my afternoon lemon tea but when I mentioned that, he kept a straight face and said no–chocolate chip. Ugh! I’ve always loved chocolate but the older I get, the more I feel I don’t need so much of it. So my mind wanders to you and the cookies I made with my older son a while back where I added chips at the last minute. I planned to double the recipe and roll 1/3 of the dough in cinnamon sugar while the rest got chips. Holy moly! They are so good. I’m sort of kicking myself for not evenly dividing the dough. Thanks, Averie! I got a new phone so I had to google “sugar doodles” to find you. I realize I should just subscribe to your blog. Everything you make always looks so good. Enjoy the rain! :)

    • Thanks for trying the recipe and glad it came out great for you! And thanks for all the compliments and nice words!

      I live in San Diego and yes, quite the rains we’ve had! Hope you stay dry!

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  20. Lovely, lovely dough, and nice cookies too. I didn’t have any bread flour so I used all purpose, and they look perfectly fine if not a little pale. Once the cookies cool, they seem to develop an odd aftertaste. I’m not sure whether to attribute that to the flour or the cooking spray, but I’m fairly certain that was my fault. Anyways, I’m extending the baking time of the last few in the oven to see if that effects the taste. Hopefully I’ll be able to try the cookies again when I’m in my own kitchen!

    • Thanks for trying the recipe and cookie baking can take a time or two to get ‘down pat’ with your ingredients and oven and the aftertaste sounds like cooking spray. I have had that many times in life and sorry you got it this time!

  21. Hi! I love this recipe and these cookies are so delicious they never last long in our house and are definitely a favorite! I’m having trouble though with keeping them fluffy ever since my 2nd batch (the first was perfection in all ways).
    . When I take them out of the oven they look perfect but then consistently flatten as they cool and I just can’t figure out why. Wondering if you have any ideas? They still taste great and no one has thought twice about the shape except me, ha!

    Thanks!

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