So I gotta be honest with all of you: as much as I love watching all those elaborate cookie decorating videos on instagram, I simply cannot be bothered to roll out dough, cut out shapes, and decorate sugar cookies. Like… they’re sugar cookies. Who cares? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the tasty simplicity of a sugar cookie, particularly during the holidays when everything is so rich and over-the-top. Having a nice, soft vanilla cookie is a welcome change…. I just don’t want the fuss. At the same time, I don’t want to lose the festive colors either. I definitely needed a pop of color for my regular cookie collection. So how do we keep all of these?
After much searching and experimenting, I’ve come up with a recipe that I love. Instead of rolling and cutting out shapes, you simply shape them into balls, roll them in sanding sugar, bake, and done. You get the classic flavor, the perfect slightly cakey softness, the festive colors, and no nonsense. Yaaasss.
1 cup granulated sugar
3 oz (6T, ¾ stick) unsalted butter, soft
3 oz (6T) butter flavored shortening
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
¼ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp kosher salt
Colored sanding sugar for rolling
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer with paddle attachment, add butter, shortening, and sugar and beat on medium until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes
- While those are beating, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. In separate small bowl beat together the eggs and vanilla.
- Turn off the mixer, scrape down sides and bottom of bowl with a rubber spatula, add in the eggs/vanilla mixture and beat until well combined. Stop mixer, scrape sides, add in flour mixture and beat on low until just combined.
- Once combined, either cover the mixing bowl with saran wrap or transfer dough to airtight container and stash in refrigerator for 1 hour. Dough should be chilled but not hard.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°. Place oven rack one level above center. Place sanding sugar in a pie plate or bowl. one for each color of sugar you're using.
- Scoop out cookies using a 1 tablespoon size cookie scoop, roll them into smooth balls, drop into desired color sanding sugar, turn to coat completely, then place on a parchment lined cookie sheet or standard half sheet pan. I usually do 10 per sheet, arranged 3-2-3-2
- Bake for 10-11 minutes until bottoms are just barely starting to brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 2-3 min before moving to wire rack to cool completely. Store in air tight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.
- Don't forget my rule about baking cookies: if they're the consistency you want when they're hot out of the oven, they are going to be dry and overdone once they cool. If they seem underdone out of the oven, they're going to be perfect when they cool!