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Updated March 5, 2022
This 2022 year I am working to help make the recipes I shared in 2021 better and easier for you. Recipe development is definitely a constant work in progress, and feedback helps to fine tune those details and methods to help make a recipe easier, tastier and much more enjoyable overall. I’ve created so many different variations of a vanilla sugar cookie, and there are many variations available in the internet. It all comes down to a bakers preference on time and flavor.
The original recipe container cake flour which I kept in my pantry since I also bake cakes fairly often. So it came as a shock to me when most cookie bakers did not have this in their own pantry. It didn’t dawn on me at the time that it probably wouldn’t be a staple in their pantry. Lesson learned for sure! So I went back to the drawing board on this recipe and worked to develop a recipe that would be easier to create with ingredients already in your pantry. I also found that I like this version much better than the original so that’s a good start!
As with the original, this recipe does contain just a bit of spread. In my book, spread is good. A cookie that does not have any spread I feel would be just a bit too dry, so you want to find a cookie that has some moisture in it to help create a soft texture. But don’t worry – the spread is minimal and I promise as long as you follow the ingredients by weight (not volume), your cookie will hold its shape well.
It’s important to mention that point again – my recipes are focused on measuring by weight, not volume. A kitchen scale is one of my most indispensable kitchen tools and I use it daily. A recipe can quickly go south if you are not measuring the ingredients, so I HIGHLY recommend purchasing one. They can be very affordable as well! You can find on Amazon for as low as $10.
Key Notes to remember:
- Make sure the eggs and butter are room temperature. This helps tremendously by allowing the ingredients to cohere much easier. Cold ingredients don’t like to play well, but room temperature ingredients do. Don’t skip this. If you are in a rush to soften your butter, DO NOT place in the microwave. Instead, grab a microwave safe bowl that is deep, heat until very warm and then cover your butter with the bowl. Repeat a few times until the butter is softened enough. You can do the same for getting eggs to room temperature.
- Don’t skip the corn starch. I know it may seem like an odd ingredient to add into a cookie recipe, but I assure you that corn starch is important. It helps create a soft and tender cookie structure. So that soft bite is in part thanks to corn starch.
- Don’t skip the part where you refrigerate or freeze the cookies after rolling out. And don’t cut it short. If refrigerating, refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours but preferably overnight. If freezing, freeze for at least 30 minutes. This step is important because you need to help solidify the butter structure so that it doesn’t just melt everywhere while baking. If you try to bake immediately then your cookie is going to spread like crazy. So take the time and refrigerate.
Also, wanted to share that these cookies featured on this post were decorated with a rainbow royal icing inspired by Jungalow! I have a love for all things colorful, and I am constantly looking for inspiration for various forms of showcasing rainbows. Jungalow is my current muse and I am obsessed to say the least.
These cookies have a total of 25 different colors, all using a royal icing flood consistency. There are so many tutorials online to help you learn how to decorate with royal icing if you are new to it. Of course you don’t have to use royal icing. Candy melts, buttercream, meringue, and so much more can be used to pair your cookie with! Or, you can just eat as is because it is very delicious just on its own. 😉
Vanilla Sugar Cookies
Yields approximately 2 dozen 3” cookies
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Refrigeration Time: 2 hours
Bake Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: Approximately 3 hours
450 g (3 cups) unbleached all purpose flour
220 g (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
150 g (¾ cup) granulated sugar
1 egg, room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp corn starch
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar and vanilla on medium high for approximately 2 minutes or until fluffy and lighter in color. Add egg and mix until all combined. In a separate bowl, combine and sift flour, corn starch, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix on medium speed until dough begins to pull away from sides. Scrape down as needed to ensure it is all cohesively mixed.
Place dough between two pieces of parchment and roll out to desired thickness. I roll out to ⅜” thickness and the thickness will also determine your bake time, so watch and be flexible with the bake time. Place in refrigerator for a minimum of two hours, or up to 12 hours (overnight).
Preheat oven to 375 F, and remove dough from refrigerator. Allow dough to come to room temp a bit, about 7 to 8 minutes, and then cut out shapes. Place on baking sheet with baking mat or parchment at least 1” apart. Bake for 12 minutes, or until you begin to see the bottom edges browning and top of cookie has a matte look to it. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. Allow to cool completely before enjoying or decorating.