Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies

sugar cookieIt took me a long time to find my sugar cookie groove. The whole chilling/rolling/cutting factor was too intimidating. I’m generally one giant Pinterest fail when it comes to anything complicated in the kitchen (Or anything crafty. I’m terrible at crafts.) so avoiding sugar cookies made sense. But this recipe? I can handle it. Mostly because, these cookies don’t require all the fancy rolling and cutting. Instead, you simply shape the dough into balls, then squash them with the end of a glass to make them nice and round. No cookie cutters required.

 

Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
3 cups sugar
3 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
4 Tbsp. milk
5 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, and milk. Mix well. Mix together dry ingredients, then add to the butter/sugar mix slowly. Chill dough for one hour. 

To make round cookies: Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on cookie sheet. Use the end of a glass and gently press on each ball, until flat. (If you don’t plan to frost your cookies, you can roll the balls in sugar to add a little more sweetness… If I’m not frosting, I  like to use sugar crystal sprinkles, added to the flattened cookies just before baking.)

Bake at 400 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes. (I never bake longer than 6 minutes. I like my cookies soft… the full 8 minutes tends to make them crispier.)

Frosting? I wish I had a concrete recipe I could give you… I generally start with a stick of butter, then add powdered sugar (around 3 cups) until I get a consistency I’m happy with. I’ll add vanilla (2-3 tsp.) and a little milk or cream (2-3 Tbsp. or more, if needed) to keeps things moist. Food coloring to make things pretty and I generally call it good.

*A note: These are not like Pinterest Perfect sugar cookies with fancy pants designs iced on. They’re more like Lofthouse cookies… super soft and sometimes crumbly. (And just as good.)

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Hershey’s Chewy Cookies

hersheys(Here is where you can imagine an amazing photo of a chocolate cookie. I can’t find one that looks right online, and since I’m not really a photographer, and we already ate all our cookies from Sunday, I don’t have one of my own. So, you know, pretend. I CAN give you a photo of the Cocoa Powder we used to make the cookies. Lame. I know. But every post needs an image. I read that somewhere once. So HERE YA GO.)

I made these cookies for our Sunday dinner last weekend. Yes, we had cookies for dinner. It’s what we do on Sundays. I whipped up some fresh cream to go with these – homemade Oreos? Oh, holy heaven were they ever good. I wasn’t surprised though. Cause this recipe? It’s been around as long as I have. I remember these cookies from my childhood when my mother would make them and I would sneak in and steal a bite of cookie dough every time she turned her back.

My mother, because she is just that fabulous, has also turned these cookies into homemade ice cream sandwiches. I know! I want a cookie now too.
What’s great about these cookies though is you don’t actually have to have whipped cream or ice cream sandwiched between them for them to be any good. They are delicious all on their own. If you like chocolate, and you like cookies, then these are for you.
Hershey’s Chewy Cookies
 
1 1/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
3/4 cups cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
 
(The recipe lists nuts as optional here… I opt no, but if you’re a nutty cookie lover, you might want to throw some in. Walnuts, probably?)
 
Cream together butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix your dry ingredients together, then add to the creamed mixture a little at a time until well mixed. Roll into one inch balls and roll in sugar. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 9 minutes. (I would say a little less than nine minutes, unless you like your cookies a little crispy.  It’s easy to over bake these because they are dark in color and you can’t see them browning on the bottom as a gauge of their done-ness. I like my cookies chewy and soft, so I generally yank them out of the oven a little early.)
 
You know today is the day to make these… Make cookies. Eat chocolate. Be happy.
The end.

Chocolate Chip Cookies, by Me

chocolate chip cookiesI’ve tried a lot of different cookie recipes over the years. We have cookies for dinner every Sunday night; big lunch right after church, cookies for dinner. Over the years, we’ve definitely found our favorite recipes. Glazed Lemon Cookies, Molasses Sugar Cookies, Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies, Chewy Oatmeal Cookies. (Don’t worry. I’m slowly transferring recipes from my previous blog. I’ll get them all up soon!) But without a doubt, the cookie we eat more than any other is the classic Chocolate Chip Cookie. Which is why I’ve been working for so many years to find a recipe that embodies everything I want my chocolate chip cookie to be. I’ve found several that have come very, very close, but they weren’t quite there. So I got creative and morphed several of my favorite recipes into one perfectly wonderful recipe.

What I love the most about this recipe is you can tweak it in different ways to change up your flavor. Leave out one ingredient, add another. (I mean, not any ingredient. Don’t leave out the baking soda. Or the butter.) I’ll give you some examples of how I change it up after I share the recipe. Because life is better with cookies. Amen, and amen.

Chocolate Chip Cookies 

  • 1 cup butter, softened 
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp Nutella
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped (almost powdered) Walnuts
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Cream butter (softened, not melted! Room temperature is fine, or microwave on 30% power for 15 second intervals until it feels nicely squishy, but NOT melted) and sugar in a large bowl until well combined. Add brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and pudding mix, blending after each addition. Add the peanut butter and Nutella. Lick off the spoon after each addition. You’re the one in the kitchen. You deserve it.

Mix together your dry ingredients–flour, baking soda and salt–and add to the dough. Add walnuts and chocolate chips. Then taste it and die a little.

Bake in a 375 degree, preheated oven for 8-9 minutes. For all that is good and chewy, don’t over bake your cookies. If you like them crispy, please do over bake your cookies, but if you want wonderfully soft and chewy cookies that are soft and chewy even when they’ve completely cooled and sat on the counter for an hour? It all comes down to baking time. Watch your cookies closely when they are nearly done. A finished cookie will just barely show hints of brown around the bottom edge. The tops might still look a little wobbly, but that’s okay. Leave them sitting on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before you transfer them over to a cooling rack. They should firm up enough for you to transfer them over without breaking. If that doesn’t happen, bake your next batch a hair longer.

If you have a silpat baking mat, use it. If you don’t, ask for one for your birthday. Silpats make good cookies. The end.

Okay, not really the end. The almost powdered walnuts lend these cookies an intense flavor, without the huge chunks of nuts that scare my kids away. They tell me they don’t like nuts in their cookies, but they eat these cookies anyway. (Kinda like how I put grated squash and zucchini in my spaghetti sauce. They have no idea how many vegetables they are actually eating.) If you don’t like Walnuts, leave em out. They’re still great cookies. In fact, you can leave out the peanut butter, or the Nutella, or both, and it’s still a good cookie. You can swap the brown sugar for white sugar, add cranberries, coconut and white chocolate chips, and you’ve got a different, but still wonderful cookie. You can add Reese’s Pieces, and crushed peanuts. So many options.

In it’s original form, with the peanut butter, Nutella, and Walnuts, this cookie  is rich and bold and nutty and it makes me happy. I hope it makes you happy too!