Chewy Sugar Cookies from The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2012

Even though Easter is over a week away, the sugar overdose is beginning already, though not by my hand. Dudette’s first words when she woke up this morning were, “Tomorrow is the school’s Easter egg hunt.”

And that’s just the first. There are bags and bags of candy sitting on my dining room table; chocolate eggs, jelly beans and other sugar bombs waiting to be stuffed into plastic eggs. On Saturday our neighborhood’s kids will gather together and spend five minutes finding the eggs it will take us thirty minutes to hide.

So, I’m wondering why I made sugar cookies. It’s all because of that first word.

Chewy.

Chewy cookies make me happy. Hard cookies; not so much. Our friends at America’s Test Kitchen claim that these cookies will be crisp around the edges and chewy in the center.

The Process
I have never made cookies this way before and was sure that I’d have a failure on my hands. Whisking together the dry ingredients was routine and made sense. Whisking melted butter into sugar and cream cheese; not so much. But, I did it. And it looked weird.

Adding vegetable oil to the butter mixture loosened it up a bit more, but it still wasn’t what I expected at all. Then came the egg, vanilla and a splash of milk. It was getting closer to what I knew.

Once I added the dry ingredients and mixed everything together, I recognized the sugar dough, though it was very soft. Hubby, A connoisseur of cookie dough declared it to be excellent (he accepts the health risks involved in eating raw dough, though I think he’s nuts).

Dough was rolled into balls, then into sugar, flattened and sprinkled with more sugar before baking for 12 minutes. When I took the pans out, I was thrilled to see the cracks and crinkles. I was happy.

The Verdict
Chewy. The cookies are wonderfully chewy in the center even though they’re fully cooked. The edges, as promised, have a little crunch to them. Of course, in order to give you a good review, we had to try the cookies right out of the oven as well as after they cooled down. It’s a tough job.

Personally, I liked the flavor once the cookies had cooled. The tiny bit of tang the cream cheese gave showed up better and was really, really nice. These could very well be the best sugar cookies I’ve ever eaten.

What I’d Do Different Next Time
I think I’d splash the cookies with buttermilk instead of just plain milk to up the tang of the cookie and cut the sweetness just a bit more.

Chewy Sugar Cookiesprint this recipe
from The Best Of America’s Test Kitchen 2012

2 1/4 cups (11 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar, plus 1/3 cup for rolling
2 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and hot
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk four, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Place 1 1/2 cups sugar and cream cheese in a large bowl. Place remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a shallow dish or pie plate and set aside. Pour butter over sugar and cream cheese and whisk to combine (some small lumps of cream cheese will remain but will smooth out later). Whisk in oil until incorporated. Add egg, milk and vanilla; continue to whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture and mix with rubber spatula until soft, homogeneous dough forms.

Divide dough into 24 equal pieces, about 2 tablespoons each (or use #40 portion scoop). Using hands, roll dough into balls. Working in batches, roll balls in reserved sugar to coat and evenly space on prepared baking sheets, 12 dough balls per sheet. Using bottom of a drinking glass, flatten dough balls until 2 inches in diameter. Sprinkle tops evenly with 4 teaspoons sugar remaining in the shallow dish (2 teaspoons per tray).

Bake, 1 tray at a time, until edges are set and just beginning to brown, 11-13 minutes, rotating tray after 7 minutes. Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes. Using metal spatula, transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature before serving.

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