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.

MY OTHER RECIPES

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

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”

  1. I love “plain” cookies! Sometimes simple is where it’s at. On a side note, I’m doing something Snickerdoodle-related today, too! I went to BB&B yesterday. Lost control. :)

    • Can I borrow your credit card? I’d like to lose control in BB&B! And plain is where it’s at sometimes, yes! I love choc chips and well-stuffed gems but I truly adore cookie DOUGH, raw or baked :) Can’t wait to see what you’re up to!

  2. I wouldn’t fear that your pictures won’t do the cookies justice, Averie. They look SO buttery, so so so soft, so dough-y, and they look like each bite is ready to melt in your mouth. I am a firm believer in dough chilling and even the cornstarch recipe dough that I did not chill previously, I just began to and I am loving the results even more. I do the same freezing trick – if I don’t feel like baking up the batch in its entirety, I freeze the remaining balls of dough. These cookies look and sound incredible and when it comes to desserts, i’m starting to feel that less is more. I love these photos and the fact that you use a different backdrop/food placement on your cookie sheet! I have to try bread flour in my next cookie recipe!

    • I made the C.S. cookies and there was no way that I was going to bake them without chilling, even tho I remember you had said that previously you didn’t, when I bake off right away, the results aren’t as good. I waited and all was well! As a dough base goes though, I have to say, I love this dough base more than the CS dough base. I need to try this dough base w/ choc chips in it. It’s a little sweeter and more buttery and more flavorful than any other ‘plain’ dough bases I’ve tried; from CI to CS to NYT doughs. This is a serious new fave!

      You will love love love bread flour in cookies and will never go back to without! Knowing you, it will be an instant hit!

  3. I love basic cookies sometimes. These are so pretty!!!

  4. I am a fan of thick, chewy cookies so I’ve been wanting to try out a recipe using bread flour–and a bag of King Arthur is on my list for the rolls anyway! Freezing extra dough and baking as desired is a great idea….though I think I like raw cookie dough as much as baked. I received my vanilla bean sampler yesterday and am trying to decide which variety of bean to use for my next batch of extract. Have you tried the boubon or Tahitian? My current batch has Madagascar beans in it (but from Kroger). Thoughts/suggestions welcome!

  5. My mom used to make snickerdoodles all the time. I only liked them when they were soft and not thin and crisp (which they tended to be). I can almost smell them baking right now…..

  6. I LOVE snickerdooles, and the idea of combining them with a sugar cookie is oh so intriguing. I have yet to try bread flour in cookies (since I have oh, 500 other types of flour on hand, I’m trying to minimize), but with the promise of amazing cookie chew + holidays coming up, it looks like an investment I need to make.

  7. I love the idea of adding bread flour to cookie dough. You can certainly tell from your pictures that it yields very chewy and fluffy cookies-the ONLY way cookies should be. There is nothing worse than flat, crumbly, hard cookies. Blah. Can’t wait to experiment with this recipe and try different variations! :)

  8. These look so fat and chewy – perfect! I’ll have to restock my bread flour soon and try these out.

  9. Hi Averie, I am so glad to win the An Edible Mosaic Cookbook! Thank you, that is a perfect gift for me for my wedding anniversary! :)

    I do love rustic simplicity in all kinds of cooking, including cookies. Although, I don’t mind some sophistication of modern recipes and ingredients. I think those type of cookies are from my favorite list: http://www.picnicatmarina.com/2012/06/zaletti-polenta-cookies-from-veneto.html
    However, add some lemon zest and reduce the sugar amount and any cookie could be my favorite! Oh yes, and vanilla, love it! But in this case with sugar – doodle, or any sugar cookies, the amount of sugar has to be unchanged, that’s where all chewiness comes from, and that’s why they are called Sugar cookies! (at least I think so). :)

  10. Oh my gravy. I’m speechless! I’m the girl who likes her chocolate chip cookies well, without the choc chips :) the plain, brown sugary batter is more than enough for me. When I saw these, I thought “omg, they’re an oops cookie!!” but realized they were a sugar and snickerdoodle hybrid which got me MORE excited. How cool is that? They look SO insanely puffy, and I will definitely need to pick up a bag of bread flour to give ’em a try. However, I’m afraid I’ll eat all 11.

    • Hayley they are the exact kind of cookie you’d want to eat if you like chipless-chocolate chip cookies! Except the dough is better than choc chip cookie dough, minus the chips. There is just something about them that I love love love!

  11. These look so chewy and delicious. And the name? Cutest EVER.

  12. These cookies look like perfection. When Hubby and I were first dating he told me sugar cookies were his favorite. After making no less than a dozen different recipes in search of the ones he likes, I finally realized he didn’t really like sugar cookies at all, but chocolate chip cookies minus the chocolate chips!! Ha!! He will absolutely flip for these!! Gorgeous!!

    • Omg doesn’t that just drive you NUTS!!! My hubs has told me over the years he’s liked things, then I make them – and he’s like meh about it. Come to find out, he really doesn’t like X, he likes Y. But he didn’t know that! And then by coincidence I’ll make Y and it gets rave reviews. But the detective work can span YEARS to figure out. Choc chip cookies minus the choc chips is kind of what this dough is like, but better – something about it is just great. I bet your hubs will actually like these ‘sugar’ cookies :)

  13. I love a pillowy vanilla cookie!

  14. I just want to squish about 7 in my face right now! Mmm pillowy solftness!

  15. Snicker doodles are becoming my all-time favorite cookies…those look dangerously good ;)

  16. These look perfect! I love the simple beautiful dishes that can often get overlooked because they aren’t filled with nutella, or bacon or biscoff. AND I SOOOO want to make ice cream sandwiches with these with brown butter ice cream.

  17. What do you do with all of these sweets that you make every day?! It seems so unhealthy!

    • Not sure if you read the part in the post where I mentioned this makes a batch size of 11 cookies. They go pretty fast when you’re feeding a family!

      And what we don’t eat, there is always school parties, office parties, co-workers, friends, etc who are more than happy to take anything extra off our hands.

  18. Why YES, I’ll take about a dozen of those… Thanks for asking!

  19. Your cookies have such adorable wrinkles! That’s a sign of a perfect cookie. Love the marriage of sugar cookies and snickerdoodles!

  20. I never knew about that tip to chill cookie dough before using it – thanks for the advice; I’ll be sure to use it in the future!

  21. These would become a very fast favorite of mine. The texture looks so perfect!

  22. There is nothing plain about a vanilla cookie! SImple, sure, but plain? NO way! My favorite recipe that I posted around this time last year was for vanilla cookies. They are always a hit when I make them.
    https://cookiesandcrafts.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/cookies-a-refined-vanilla-cookie-and-one-for-the-kid-in-your-heart/

  23. I just love the name: Sugardoodle. Awesome! Your pictures absolutely DO do these babies justice. They look soft and chewy and moist and honestly, out of this world. I am typically a texture gal when it comes to my preferred cookie, i.e., various layers of textures like chocolate chips, coconut, etc. but these could definitely tempt me any day! I have never tried bread flour in cookies but I love your results so I am thinking I must give it a try. Another great recipe, Averie! Do you ever have an off day??! ;-)

    • I am normally a texture girl but these are sort of a special exception! They do have chewiness so there is texture there – but the flavor is just so good, not having anything in them to ‘clutter’ it is really nice!

      Day off? Not so much :)

  24. Averie I think you and I need to form a vanilla lovers anonymous club, these are calling to me, loudly!

  25. I love snickerdoodles, they are one of my favorite cookies! I love that you added the vanilla to them!! I have to make them! I have so many of your recipes bookmarked to make this weekend! I can’t wait!

    • Well I feel pretty honored! And please keep me posted! I remade the bread btw with 1/4 cvital wheat gluten and about 1/4th of the wheat replaced with white bread flour, much less temperamental rising situation, just fyi

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