January 30, 2013

Chewy Sugar Cookies

I should really make America's Test Kitchen recipes more often because they always turn out perfectly.  When I saw the Sweet Endings episode in Season 11, I knew I had to make their chewy sugar cookies recipe, and today I finally did.

The ingredients in this recipe look pretty standard until you see cream cheese listed.  The recipe notes say "Cream cheese is an ingredient not often included in sugar cookies.  But we found it helps their one-note sweetness and round out flavors."

"Another secret weapon in these cookies is oil.  Swapping some of the butter for vegetable oil boosts chewiness considerably because "the two different types of fat create a sturdier structure that requires more force to bite through."

The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of dough to be rolled into a ball, suggesting a #40 portion scoop.  I've never heard of numbered scoops, so I checked my three Oxo scoops to see which would work best and decided on the medium scoop.
Large = 3 tablespoons = 3 1/2" cookie
Medium = 1 1/2 tablespoons = 2 3/4" cookie
Small = 2 teaspoons = 2" cookie

I made cookies earlier this week at a co-worker's house, and was reminded of how much longer it takes to portion out cookies without a handy little scoop.  I love my Oxo scoops and use them so frequently that I find myself surprised when I'm baking in a kitchen where they don't exist.

As expected these cookies are fantastic. I love soft, chewy cookies unlike my mom who prefers crisp cookies and complains that I don't cook mine long enough :) This recipe reminds me of my middle school days, hanging out at West Towne Mall in Madison eating butter cookies from The Original Cookie Company.

Chewy Sugar Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 24 minutes

Ingredients (24 cookies)
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, plus 1/3 cups sugar for rolling
  • 2 oz cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted and still warm
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, add 1 1/2 cups sugar and cream cheese. Place remaining 1/3 cup of sugar in a shallow bowl.
  • Pour warm butter over the sugar and cream cheese, then whisk to combine (some small lumps of cream cheese will remain at this stage). Next whisk in oil until incorporated. Then add egg, milk and vanilla; continue to whisk until smooth.
  • Add flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until a soft dough forms. Roll dough into 24 balls, approximately 2 tablespoons of dough each. I use a medium Oxo scoop which holds 1 1/2 tablespoons and results in a little extra cookie dough to snack on :)
  • Working in batches, roll balls in reserved sugar to coat and evenly space on baking sheet, 12 dough balls per sheet.
  • Using the bottom of a glass, flatten dough balls until 2 inches in diameter. Sprinkle tops with a little extra sugar, then discard any remaining sugar.
  • Bake each tray for 12 minutes, or until the edges are set. Let cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring cookies to a cooling rack.
Recipe Source: America's Test Kitchen - Season 11
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