If you come around these parts much at all, you know how much I adore cut-out sugar cookies, and how much I enjoy decorating them with royal icing. I sure do, but I can also really appreciate the goodness of a straight up classic sugar cookie. They should be golden, somewhere between puffy and chewy, and definitely on the large side. When I flipped across the recipe title “Sugar Saucers” in The Pastry Queen cookbook I thought, perfect! But then I read the recipe and I was totally turned off. This recipe uses part butter (yay!) and part vegetable oil (ick) for the fat. I can handle veggie oil in some cake batters but it just seemed wrong to me in a cookie, so I skipped them. I put the idea aside for awhile and eventually I thought, what the heck, I’ll give them a shot. I must say I was very pleasantly surprised with the end result and I’m not sure I have enjoyed a plain sugar cookie this much before. The texture was perfect – a delicate sugar-sprinkled crust on the outside that gives way to a soft, chewy interior. Of course now I’m very curious to try the same recipe with butter in place of the oil just for the sake of comparison, and I’ll be sure to update with my results when I do.
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup granulated sugar, plus extra for sugaring the tops
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Zest of half a lemon
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Whisk together to blend and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the vegetable oil and beat on medium-high speed until incorporated. Mix in the granulated sugar and confectioners’ sugar until well blended, about 1 minute more. Beat in the egg until incorporated. Blend in the vanilla and lemon zest. With the mixer on low speed blend in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour or freeze for 15 minutes before proceeding.
Using a dough scoop (I used a large scoop), drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies at least 2 inches apart. Press the dough down evenly to flatten slightly and sprinkle with additional granulated sugar. Bake about 12-14 minutes for large cookies (8-10 minutes for smaller cookies), until the edges are golden. Let cool on the baking sheets about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with any remaining dough. Store in an airtight container.