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!

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
  • 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
  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

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

  1. Tried these out last night and they turned out wonderful! Nice and chewy! I actually forgot to buy the light brown sugar (gerr) so I mixed together a little bit of molasses and sugar. It turned the cookies… lets say, a bit more brown than they were supposed to be but it added a great flavor! I rolled them in cinnamon and just made them into snickerdoodles!

    My cookies also seemed to puff up quite a bit in the oven but when they came out they flattened completely, but all the while, still very good! Thanks for the recipe, it will be going into my recipe book!

    • The fact that you added molasses to sugar rather than using commercially-made brown sugar (and yes, that’s a great makeshift solution – good thinking!) but I am thinking that the slight extra moisture your sugar may have had could have contributed to the flattening situation. Or, the dough wasn’t chilled enough, or it was lacking maybe 1 to 3 tbsp of flour. Just thinking out loud for the next batch. Glad they’ll be going into rotation!

  2. These cookies are the best things I have ever eaten. Huge hit at our Christmas dinner! Thanks so much for the bread flour idea!

  3. Pingback: Favorite Cookies

  4. Pingback: On Christmas and New Traditions | Pitter Patter of Little Feet

  5. Pingback: sugar-doodle vanilla cookies « thebarefootnester

  6. I absolutely love baking cookies but do to my family’s lack of adventures taste buds I have been limited to chocolate chip cookies for far too long. When I came across this recipe I was so excited to try it. This hybrid brought my two favorites together! Ignoring the complaints from the little peanut gallery I decided this recipe looked too good to pass up. When my family finally gave them a try they all agreed that this cookie made it to the top of the list! Looks like I will be making this one over and over and over…and over again! ! This of course is fine by me;)

    • I love these cookies, too, and so glad you were able to try them! Thanks for coming back and telling me about them! I have a cookie based on this cookie coming out on Monday – and in the meantime, there are a few other hybrids to check out if you liked these. Brown Sugar Cookies, Maraschino Cherry & White Chocolate Chip, and Cranberry & White Chocolate Chip. All under the ‘Cookie’ header on this page

      Thanks so much for the great feedback and glad you broke away from the choc chip cookies to try these!

  7. Pingback: Maraschino Cherry White Chocolate Cookies

  8. Pingback: Coconut Oil White Chocolate Cookies

  9. Pingback: Cookies…and Pizza? | Kitchen Journeys

  10. Pingback: cookies | Pearltrees

  11. I made these cookies today and they are completely AMAZING. I added white baking chips for extra vanilla flour and I love them SO much! These are definite keepers. Thank you SO much for this fantastic recipe!!

  12. These cookies aren’t bad, but they don’t have much taste. The three hour wait seemed like forever too. The dough was pretty good, though. I took quite a few finger fulls. I’ll be sticking to the chocolate recipes. That’s where it’s at. ;)

    • Thanks for trying them and it’s very hard to compare a subtle, vanilla-scented cookie with bold chocolate. It’s apples and oranges. These are a sugar cookie. Or sugar/snickerdoodle hybrid and I know they’re a little ‘plain’ for some people but I do love them. Thanks for trying the recipe. The dough chilling is just for your benefit so your cookies don’t spread as much and I recommend it with ALL cookie recipes; but if you don’t find it helpful, omit and bake immediately but your cookies will be thinner and flatter.

  13. Pingback: Sugar-Doodle Cookies. | Cakey Bakes

  14. Plan on making these tomorrow!
    Do I leave the dough out for a few minutes to soften up before I start rolling them into balls?
    Also considering adding an extra egg yolk. Do you think this will be a good move?

    • Make the recipe as written, no extra yolk – unless you also want to start tinkering with flour, baking soda, and sugar ratios, too. It will have a cascade reaction. Your call but I love the recipe as written.

      I personally like to shape my dough into balls FIRST – then refrigerate them on a plate and bake as needed. See this post for visual example

      LMK how you like them!

      • Def don’t want to mess with all those ratios, no extra yolk!

        Ahh good thinking! That totally didn’t dawn on me. Will def form the dough balls first =)

        Will update you tomorrow on how they came out!

      • They came out soft and chewy but there was a strange after taste…almost acidic….not sure where that came from =( Any thoughts?

      • Maybe your baking soda? Maybe an un-fresh egg or cream past it’s prime?

        I love them and have never had that happen. Butter, sugar, egg, cream, flour, baking soda. Nothing too crazy there that I would think would give a strange aftertaste.

  15. Don’t snickerdoodles have cinnamon in them?

  16. Hello! I made these and they came out very soft and tasty! :) The only problem I had was that they had a weird aftertaste and I’m pretty sure it was the baking soda. I don’t know if I have put too much of it or if it’s because I’ve had that baking soda in the cupboard for more than a year. Although, I have used that baking soda before and never had that problems. Or I wonder if maybe I should have baked the cookies for a bit longer?

    • Not sure but a year sounds like…awhile. I normally replace every 3-6 mos. For a dollar or so, it’s well worth it. You could always bake longer and see, too. Or it could have been your sprinkles maybe? Glad they came out soft for you!

      • Yeah I will definetely replace it then! I think they were slightly underbaked as well, I will try to bake them for longer. Thanks for your suggestions! :)

  17. Because I’m currently OBSESSED with your chewy Snickers cookie dough, I was wondering if you’ve tried this recipe with just all-purpose flour, with cornstarch added? Do you think it’ll work?

    • I haven’t tried it but it would probably work just fine – although the texture will be a little bit different (less chewy, more softbatch-style). I would use 2 tsp cornstarch and at least 1 3/4 cup AP flour. Possibly up to about 2 c of AP flour.

      Usually I need a smidge more AP than bread flour, ounce for ounce, in a recipe.

      If you try it, LMK!

  18. Pingback: Vanilla Rollo Cookies | Exploits of a Dorm Room Baker

  19. This will be the only sugar/hybrid cookie recipe I will make for the rest of my life! I have tried many recipes (from sugar cookies to all kinds of snicker doodles) and all of them turned out blah (I’ve been searching for years and too many baking fails to count), this recipe is by far the best. These taste very similar to Mrs. Field’s butter nibblers but much more yummier.

    Just tried the recipe yesterday in the morning before running errands so was perfect to pop in the fridge and come back and bake. End up not baking till today but they turned out delicious!!! They baked beautifully and also quickly. Also took your advice and added a but more ap flour just in case and a bit more vanilla–vanilla bean paste (the good stuff). Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!

    • So glad you love them and they’re one of my fave cookies. Simple ingredients but combined in such a way that just works. Glad you love them as much as I do! I, too, have tried umpteen blah, dry, bland, flat-baking, boring snickerdoodle, sugar cookies, etc and finally found these to be the answer to all those issues. Vanilla bean paste would be excellent in these (great thinking) and glad the bit more AP flour did the trick, too!

  20. the best ever cookies i have ever made! didn’t put batter in fridge, but they were very delicious when warm!

  21. Pingback: Cooking and Baking Inspiration | Chocolate Free Me

  22. Hi I tried these cookies and although they tasted wonderful, they spread like crazy and required a longer cooking time. I chilled the dough and followed all directions except I used all purpose flour and may have actually added a little less than I intended. Still, it would have only been about a 1/4 cup difference in flour. Could this have been the cause?

    • Yes all signs point to not enough flour: spread like crazy and required longer baking time. Even 1/4 cup in baking, in a recipe of this size, that’s monumental. Re-make with the correct amounts and you will be in much better shape! Because that said, they are prone to a bit of spreading regardless, so being sure to use the proper amount of flour is essential to combat that.

  23. Pingback: Holiday Sugar Cookies | Culinary Adventures in the Kitchen

  24. Averie, the cookie dough was amazing i could not stop eating it! The cookies were good too. Only problem is i didn’t add enough flour so they were flat. But still good! :)

    • Glad you loved the dough :) And yes these cookies can be a little prone to spreading so next time bulk it up with slightly more flour if you think your dough is a little too loose and you’ll be set! :)

  25. Hello!

    I’m new to baking and I have to say my dear, finding your site is tantamount to a kid being let loose in the playground! So many “colorful rides” to choose from, so spoilt for choice, but I’m going straight for your choc chip and chunk cookies first, and then trying this out for my significant half because he loves all things vanilla, and not too chocolatey.

    My only issue though is that I reside in Singapore, and the climate is pretty humid here. Warm weathers all year round. Question is, are there any noteworthy tweaks I should be administering to your recipes? eg: baking time/ lowering/ increasing temp? I’m interested in the science of baking, and like i feel that once I know all the “how’s and why’s” I will be able to avoid disappointing results in the end.

    I mean, your cookies!! I would be so sad if I toiled for these babies and not get to tasting it. You make vanilla cookies look like every PMS-ing lady’s best friend.

    Your fan all the way from across the globe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.