Chewy Sugar Sprinkles Cookies have the perfect chewiness, a bit of sweetness, and plenty of smiles – these are a hit with kids and are great for parties, Valentine’s Day; or use them as your sugar cookie recipe for Christmas cookies with red and green sprinkles.
Edited to Add: July 21, 2013 – I have a similar recipe that I prefer Softbatch Funfetti Sugar Cookies
I’ve wanted to try my hand at a soft and chewy sugar cookie recipe for awhile. Most recipes I see lately for sugar cookies tend to be Lofthouse-style copycat recipes. I do love those big bakery-style sugar cookies but didn’t feel like having to frost cookies, and those almost necessitate it. Rather than spend time frosting cookies and decorating them with sprinkles, I just baked them right in.
To make them, I referenced one of my favorite cookbooks, The New Best Recipe from Cooks Illustrated. Previously, I used their recipe for Chocolate Cookies as my jumping off place for Quintuple Chocolate Fudgy Brownie Cookies with great success, and decided to take them up on their promise of soft, thick, and chewy sugar cookies.
In doing some googling, it seems they have a newer recipe that calls for melted butter, vegetable oil, and cream cheese, but that’s not the one I used. Melting butter rather than creaming generally results in thinner, flatter cookies for me. Nor did I have any cream cheese in the house when I set out to make these, so went with their cookbook recipe, and adapted it along the way.
To make the cookies, begin by creaming the butter, sugars, and egg. There’s only one tablespoon of brown sugar in the dough and I was worried that absence of brown sugar, which tenderizes and softens cookies, would be missed. In general, I really am a Brown Sugar Cookie girl because they always turn out so soft, tender, and moist, but as white sugar cookies go, these are the chewier and softer than most.
Beat in the flour until it’s just combined and for these cookies, I used all-purpose as recommended, even though I have thing for bread flour in cookies since it makes them chewier, but I’m glad I used all-purpose.
The recipe calls for baking powder and in general, I prefer baking soda to baking power. Baking powder can create drier, cakier textures, and I can often taste the chemical leavening agents in it, but since there’s just one-half teaspoon for the whole batch, and it’s the only chemical source of leavening, I went with it.
I deviated from the recipe and threw in a heaping half-cup of sprinkles. The flatter, longer type sprinkles. Not the little balls that some people call non-pareils and that if you spill them will bounce around your kitchen floor for years and every time you think you got them all, another one appears.
Beat them in momentarily with the mixer for just a few seconds. Don’t get carried away because they could break and leech color into the dough, not that it would be a huge deal if they did.
After the dough has been properly sprinkled, it must be chilled. I chilled some overnight, and then forgot about some and left it chilling for five days before I got baking it. Both batches of cookies tasted identical.
Using a two-inch cookie scoop, form balls with the chilled dough. This equates to one-and-a-half-inch diamter balls that weight between 1.10 and 1.20-ounces. The baking geek enjoys seeing how many ways I can measure a ball of dough. After scooping out about two dozen balls (my yield was 28), roll them between the palms of your hand and form smooth globes. The sprinkles give your hands a nice exfoliation in the process.
Place eight to ten balls on a Silpat -lined baking tray and carefully and gently flatten each ball with the bottom of a drinking glass to about three-quarters of an inch high. Spraying the bottom of the glass with a bit of cooking spray, and repeating as necessary, prevents the dough from sticking to it. You can also flatten them using the palm of your hand but for the first batch or two, I did as instructed in the cookbook, and it specifically says use glass. I later tried my hand and got similar results.
It’s really, really tempting to want to squish those perfect globes down and over-flatten them but don’t do it. Stop yourself. That defeats the purpose of chilling the dough because dough going into the oven that’s too flat is going to bake into flat, thin, crispy pancakes. My cookie preference turned out to be the ones I flattened the least because they’re thicker, softer, with more tender interiors. Flatten judiciously.
I baked some cookies at 375F as the recipe suggests, but found that to be a bit too hot. I really think 350F is the perfect temperature for cookies. The 375F cookies were crisper than I prefer, and the undersides were a bit too browned. I recommend a baking time of 350F for nine minutes. The book suggests a baking time of like 16 minutes at 375F. I can’t even imagine. I’d set off the smoke detector and then some.
Remove the cookies from the oven when the edges are set and the centers have just barely set, even though they will appear underdone. All cookies firm up as they cool, but these cookies in particular firm up dramatically, and turn out crisper and more well-done than you think. Baking them anything over nine minutes is a recipe for a crispy cookie in my oven; baking for anything over ten minutes is a recipe for burnt cookies.
Because they’re sugar cookies, they’re more prone to burning than many other cookies. I start watching cookies of any sort by seven or eight minutes, or at least two minutes before the recommended end-time, so I can pull them out as needed. With cookies, forty-five seconds can make a big difference in the final result. Especially pale, light, buttery little sugar cookies.
The cookies are soft and chewy as long as you don’t overbake them. They bake up quite thick, which can be tricky with sugar cookies.
They have a nostalgic and homey quality, and something about sugar cookies reminds me of my childhood and decorating cookies with my grandma, mom, and sister.
One of the reasons I don’t usually make sugar cookies is that rolling out the dough for cut-out cookies is too fussy. This recipe gives the uniformity in size of cut-out cookies, minus the hassle. Not having to frost or decorate them from the sprinkles baked right in was the way to go.
The sprinkles add a bit of extra sweetness as well as texture and I love biting into them. They’d be a perfect Valentine’s Day cookie to make or give. That way everyone can have sprinkles between their teeth.
I love the sprinklefest.
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Chewy Sugar Sprinkles Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, packed
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ heaping cup sprinkles, optional
- To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg, vanilla, and beat at medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds.
- Add the flour, baking powder, salt and beat at low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the sprinkles and beat momentarily to incorporate (the cookies can be made without sprinkles and baked as traditional plain sugar cookies if you prefer plain cookies or prefer to decorate them after baking). Transfer dough to airtight container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and up to 5 days, before baking.
- Preheat oven to 350F, line baking sheets with a Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mats, parchment, or spray with cooking spray; set aside. Using a 2-inch cookie scoop (about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough or about 1.10 to 1.20 ounces by weight), form dough mounds and place on prepared baking sheet. Roll each mound into a smooth ball, and space balls about 2 inches apart on baking sheet (8 to 10 per tray). Use your hand to flatten the balls or for neater cookies, spray a flat-bottomed drinking glass with cooking spray and use it to flatten all balls to 3/4-inches in height, measuring about 2 inches in diameter. Re-spray with cooking spray as needed to prevent sticking. It's very tempting to over-flatten the balls, but don't because the cookies will spread like pancakes and become too flat and crispy while they bake. Err on the side of under- rather than over-flattening.
- Adapted from the The New Best Recipe cookbook
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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Do you have a favorite sugar cookie recipe? Do you like soft and chewy, thin and crispy?
Ever tried making your own Lofthouse-style cookies?