Now that Memorial Day has come and gone, it is now - unofficially - summertime. My Memorial Day weekend ended up being pretty laidback and filled with dinners with family (both mine and Alex’s) and staying in to watch really random movies (Girl, Interrupted and Children of Men, if you’re curious) due to the rainy weather. As I had mentioned in my previous post, we were planning on attending our first Cinespia screening of the season but because of the crappy weather, the event was unfortunately cancelled. BUT we luckily were able to exchange our tickets and will be seeing The Goonies this weekend!
Today marks my 8th cookie recipe post on The Vivid Kitchen. Among those recipes, there have been a couple variations of the beloved chocolate chip cookie, a seasonal ginger molasses cookie that I wish I could eat year-round, and my personal favorite non-chocolate cookie: salted brown sugar toffee cookies. But for today, I’m giving you one of the most traditional cookie recipes around: a version of a sugar cookie. Unlike the ones you roll out and cut into shapes around Christmas time, these are baked just like normal cookies (the dough is scooped out with a cookie scoop).
The texture on these sugar cookies is probably as close as it can get to my idea of cookie perfection. The cookie interior is very soft and chewy, while the exterior is more crisp. We get all of these ideal cookie textures from the addition of corn starch. I’ve made a handful of sugar cookies over the years, and without a doubt, I believe that it’s the corn starch that sets this recipe apart from the others.
If you can’t tell from the pictures, I made these cookies “bakery style” aka large-sized and, therefore, was only able to yield 9 cookies. I personally think these sugar cookies are better the larger they are because it makes them thicker and chewier overall, but I have made them regular-sized as well and they were a huge hit. So the choice is yours, but just make sure to adjust the baking time by a few minutes and keep on eye on them in the oven. These cookies are best when they are underbaked - you’ll only want a light golden browning on the edges - so definitely try not to overbake them.
To jazz these plain sugar cookies up a bit, a good amount of colorful sprinkles are mixed into the dough. Normally, I’m not a sprinkles girl (I would rather add flaky sea salt to finish a baked good) but sprinkles honestly just work so well with these cookies. They add a subtle crunch in every bite, and of course, add color to an otherwise pale cookie. I suggest that you buy sprinkles that will not dye or stain the batter, so steer clear of nonpareils, the little sprinkle balls. The rainbow jimmies, the sprinkles that you see in my cookies, are a little bit more expensive than nonpareils but definitely will not bleed into the cookies. And if you don’t feel like spending extra money on sprinkles or just are not a fan of them, leave ‘em out and all will be fine.
Making these cookies is super easy in that it’s a one-bowl recipe (less cleaning to do, which is always a plus), but there are a few things that need to be done to achieve sugar cookie perfection. The butter and egg need to be at room temperature when making the dough, and the finished dough needs to chill in the fridge for at least one hour. I feel like these are givens when it comes to most cookie recipes but I just wanted to clarify that these minor steps are actually vital to the finished product. As a reminder, using room temperature ingredients allows the dough to bind more easily, thus creating a more smooth and even texture, and chilling the dough yields a chewier texture and a more concentrated flavor. There’s a lot more to say about these two components of baking, but I’ll spare you and just say it’s important, so don’t skip it!
Funfetti Sugar Cookies
Yields 9 LARGE cookies, or about 20 regular-sized cookies
Recipe slightly adapted from Posie Harwood via 600 Acres
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 cup sprinkles (preferably NOT nonpareils)
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer) cream the butter and sugar together until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix again for a few more minutes.
Add all the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cornstarch and salt) to the bowl and mix until just combined. Using a spatula, fold in the sprinkles until evenly distributed. Refrigerate the dough for at least one hour. (Tip: you can scoop out the dough before or after chilling)
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a cookie or ice cream scoop (depending on how big you want the cookies to be), scoop out the dough and place them on the sheet. If you’re making large cookies, do not put more than 6 cookies on a sheet.
Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes (8-10 if making smaller cookies). The cookies will be a light golden brown on the edges and just set when they are ready - they may look underbaked, but they won’t be since these are a softer texture of cookie. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.