I created this sugar cookie recipe for a Food52 recipe contest in 2010. (Spoiler alert: It won!) One of the things I like best about this sugar cookie is that it’s not tooth-achingly sweet. It’s got a nice proportion of crunch-to-chew. And it’s so sparkly from the turbinado sugar! The inspiration behind this cookie came from The New York Times’ chocolate chip cookie recipe, printed on March 1, 2000, one of the best chewy cookies I’ve ever tasted.
These days I’ve been adding a pinch of nutmeg to my sugar cookies because Stella Parks once said it enhances their butteriness. I also like to bake them all different sizes, most recently: one HUGE cookie as big as my face! I've so enjoyed reading the comments section on this recipe page. Everyone's ideas are great, additions like: lemon zest, coconut extract and shredded coconut, more flour so you can roll-and-cut, and jam for thumbprints. Thank you all for making this sugar cookie recipe yours. —mrslarkin
Test Kitchen Notes
What makes a perfect sugar cookie? More than 150 rave reviews and nearly 3,000 saves is what. All of you agreed that this was it: Voted "Your Best Chewy Sugar Cookie," this recipe has been a Food52 favorite since 2010, not least because they're so easy to make. There's no rolling nor cutting involved—just scooping and baking. And for such a short ingredient list, their flavor is incomparable.
Mrslarkin’s classic sugar cookies make use of three sugars: granulated, light brown, and turbinado. The granulated gives the cookie a foundation of sweetness, the light brown adds caramel notes, and the turbinado is in there for a little snap. These sugar cookies are crisp and buttery on the edges and chewy through the center. Perfect for dunking and ice cream sandwiches, we think, and for the holidays.
Note: If baking them on a dark, nonstick baking sheet, reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees (this is a good general rule for all baking). —A&M
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two large sheet pans with parchment paper.
Cream butter and sugars for 1 minute. Scrape sides of bowl. Continue beating for another minute. Scrape bowl again.
Add vanilla. Beat for 1 minute. Scrape sides of bowl.
Add egg. Beat for 1 minute. Scrape sides of bowl.
Add flour, salt, and baking soda. Beat 1 minute. Scrape sides of bowl and beat for another minute.
Place coarse sugar in small, shallow bowl. Using a small cookie/ice cream scoop (mine is 1 1/2 inches in diameter), scoop balls of dough and drop a few at a time in the coarse sugar and gently roll around. Place balls of dough on parchment, leaving about 1 1/2 inches of space around each. My pans fit 12 cookies very comfortably.
Do not press the balls down. This will ensure a chewy middle.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, turning and reversing pans midway through baking. Resist the urge to bake your cookies longer, or they won’t be chewy. The tops don’t get much color, but the bottoms will be nicely golden.
Place pans on cooling racks. When cool, store cookies in air-tight containers.