“Every cookie is a sugar cookie. A cookie without sugar is a cracker.”
Even though I totally disagree with this statement, Gary Gulman is my absolute favorite comedian. Find his, “Hierarchy of cookies bit.” It’s gold.
I’m a vanilla guy, so for me, this chewy sugar cookie is perfect. Serious Eats nailed it, like they do with everything other recipe they share. I used their toasted sugar recipe too just to add a deeper flavor to these already rich cookie. Also, I’m loving McCormicks Small batch Vanilla. It has some bourbon undertones without the actual bourbon. That’s cool. I guess.
4 cups sugar.
Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 300°F. Pour sugar into a 9- by 13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Toast until the sugar turns ivory, about 1 hour. Stir well and continue roasting, now stirring once every 30 minutes, until darkened to light or sandy beige, 2 to 4 hours more depending on personal preference. Beyond that, the sugar will begin to liquefy.
If you notice any liquid caramel around the edges, pour dry sugar into a stainless steel bowl. (The sticky caramel will remain stuck to the baking dish.) The sugar will be screaming-hot coming out of the oven, in excess of 212°F, so take care not to touch it. Set aside and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. If needed, grind the lumpy caramel in a food processor until powdery and fine. Transfer to an airtight container; store and use cup for cup or ounce for ounce in any recipe in place of plain sugar.
* 8 ounces unsalted butter (2 sticks; 225g); firm but pliable, about 60°F (16°C)
* 10 ounces sugar (1 1/2 cups; 280g)
* 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (10g)
* 1 1/4 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt (5g) (For table salt, use half as much by volume or use the same weight)
* Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
* 1 large egg, cold
* 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (15mL)
* 11 1/4 ounces all purpose flour (2 1/4 cups; 320g)
* Assorted sanding sugars, nonpareils, and sprinkles, or plain granulated sugar blended with vanilla seeds, luster dust, or powdered food coloring for finishing
Adjust oven rack to middle position, preheat to 350°F (170°C), and line 2 aluminum half sheet pans with parchment paper (not wax paper!).
Combine butter, sugar, baking powder, kosher salt, nutmeg, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low to moisten, increase to medium and beat until fluffy, pale ivory, and soft, about 5 minutes. Add egg and continue beating until smooth, about 2 minutes more, pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Resume mixing on low, sprinkle in flour, and continue mixing until a thick dough is formed.
Divide into twenty six 1-ounce portions with a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop. Roll each ball of dough between your hands until smooth and round. If desired, tumble in a dish with sanding sugar, nonpareils, sprinkles, granulated, or vanilla sugar until coated on all sides. Arrange cookies on prepared half sheet pan, leaving 2 1/2 inches of space in between cookies. Do not flatten; cookies will spread on their own.
Bake until puffed and pale gold around the edges, but still steamy in the middle, about 15 minutes. Cool directly on sheet pan until firm, about 10 minutes. Enjoy warm, or allow to cool completely, then store in an airtight container for up to 2 days at room temperature.