Crave-Worthy Sugar Cookies
These cookies are truly crave-worthy: buttery and rich in flavor, with a crisp and sparkly exterior and tender-chewy interior. I discovered the recipe years ago on the King Arthur Flour website, and it’s been my go-to for sugar cookies ever since.
So, what makes these cookies so special? First, they’re made with cream cheese in addition to butter, which makes them tender without the need for vegetable shortening and also adds flavor. Second, they’re made with a touch of almond extract, which lightly perfumes the cookies with the delicate scent of almond.
Begin by whisking the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts.
And then the egg.
Then mix in the dry ingredients until the dough forms a cohesive mass. It will be a little sticky.
Pinch off tablespoons of dough and roll in the sugar. Try not to over-roll the balls or make them too smooth; leaving them a little rough gives the cookies a crackled, sparkly appearance.
Place the balls on a cookie sheet, then press them flat with a flat-bottomed glass.
Bake for about ten minutes, until lightly golden on the bottom but still very pale on top.
Cool the cookies for a few minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Crave-Worthy Sugar Cookies
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off with back edge of knife
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup cream cheese
- 1-1/4 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup more for rolling cookies
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 large egg
- Set racks in middle of oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy, a few minutes. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat in the egg. Scrape down the bowl again, then add the flour mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough comes together into a cohesive mass. It will be a little sticky.
- Place the remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a shallow bowl. Moisten your hands so the dough doesn't stick to them. Pinch off the dough by tablespoonfuls, shape into rough balls (see note below), roll in the sugar to coat, and place 2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Using a flat-bottomed glass, flatten the cookies to 1/4-inch thick. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back midway through to ensure even cooking. The cookies will turn golden on the bottom but remain pale on top. Cool on the pan for a few minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. (Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel to keep the dough moist between batches.)
- Note: Try not to over-roll the cookie dough into smooth balls. Keeping the surface a little rough gives the cookies a crackled, sparkly appearance.