Crisp Sugar Cookies

Swim camp got in the way this week’s riding lesson, so today we are going for a Saturday make-up. Since our instructor was nice enough to reschedule the lesson, I decided to make her some sugar cookies.

sugar cookies and chocolate chip.jpg

Here’s a close-up of the crisp sugar cookies. Usually, the recipe is double what I have below, but I didn’t need that many cookies, so I halved it to make about 3 dozen.

sugar cookie closeup.jpg

Just for kicks, I used European Style regular (salted) butter. You don’t have to spring for European Style butter, but given the results, I’d do it again. As for salted vs. unsalted butter, I realize most professional bakers (and home cooks who read a lot about baking) use unsalted, but this is an old recipe and it calls for regular salted butter. If you need to use unsalted, you should probably increase the salt a bit to get the same flavor. See note below.

Crisp Sugar Cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons European style butter, room temperature – or just use regular butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon each – vanilla and fresh lemon juice
1 pinch nutmeg
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Sift together flour, soda and cream of tartar. Stir in the salt. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter, oil, and both sugars until creamy. Beat in vanilla, lemon juice and nutmeg. Beat in egg.

With a mixing spoon, stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until well mixed.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls (or a #70 scoop!) onto a baking sheet lined with parchment, a Silpat or Reynolds Release foil. Dip bottom of a flat glass in sugar and press cookies down to make circles. Bake for 12 minutes or until edges or nicely browned.

This makes about 3 dozen cookies

**Older recipes don’t usually specify “unsalted” butter, especially if the recipe is from a women’s auxiliary book or some sort of private collection. Also, many people use to use margarine, which is salted. So whatever fat was getting used probably had salt. If I come across an older recipe that calls for “butter”, I use salted or I use unsalted and add a bit of salt to the recipe. Different brands of butter have different amounts of salt, but the rule of thumb is about 3/8 teaspoon of salt for every stick of butter. I’m a bit more conservative and tend to use 1/4 teaspoon of salt per stick of unsalted butter (when I’m subbing unsalted for salted).

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  1. Janet says

    Hello! I just made a huge batch of sugar cookies from a new recipe I found online. There were OK but seemed to lack flavor so I look forward to trying your recipe the next time I make sugar cookies. They look delicious! Thanks!

  2. says

    Easy Cookie Recipe, I’ve read that unsalted butter is fresher so I buy it now. But like you, I’ve used salted and haven’t had complaints of baked goods being salty. I have, on the other hand, tasted LOTS of baked good where people used unsalted instead of salted and the baked good tasted flat. I think those were probably recipes which were originally developed with salted butter or margarine. Just speculation ;).

  3. KAnn says

    I am thinking about subbing lime juice for the lemon and adding lime zest to resemble a lime sugar cookie we sell at Wild Oats…

  4. says

    Hi KAnn,

    Lime juice will put a different spin on the cookie — definitely try it if you love lime. The citrus flavor is supposed to be subtle here. You could leave it out entirely and the cookies would be good.

    I sent some of these to work with my husband and everyone liked them. Of course now I’m going to be hooked on using European Style butter.

  5. Michelle W. says

    Hi Anna, I’m new!
    I’ve been reading your blog for months now, but just signed up today.
    I tried the Alton Brown “The Chewy” cookies last night! BEST c.c.cookies I’ve EVER baked! I’d given up on the Tollhouse recipe, they just turn out FLAT for me anymore. I bought the bread flour for these, even though I’m not sure what bread flour is—but my supermarket had it! Next I’ll try his “Flat” and “Puffy” ones!

  6. says

    Hi Michelle!

    I’m glad you’ve found a great cookie. The Alton Brown cookies is always reliable. The cookies are even better if you chill the dough overnight.

  7. Michelle W. says

    I have a question about the Alton Brown Chewy cookies? I made them a few days back and they were perfect! (as I said in my previous comment) Made another batch this weekend, and realized that the first time, I had put in baking POWDER mistakenly, rather than the soda the recipe called for. So this time, I put in soda, but….they were better BEFORE!? What does this mean? I know Alton’s recipes are very scientific but….????

  8. Paul A. says


    I know the last post was several years ago, however, I wanted to try to answer the question from Michelle. You can substitute baking powder for baking soda, but not the other way around. Both are leavening agents, except the baking powder (which contains baking soda) is mixed with cream of tarter and usually starch. A leavening agents needs something acidic to react with to make carbon dioxide which is what gives your baked goods the light fluffy texture. Baking soda would react with the Chocolate chips, while the baking powder contains its own acids in the cream of tarter. you may not have gotten the same amount of “fluffyness” from using baking powder, but I don’t think that CC Cookies should be fluffy anyway… hence they were better. Hope this helps!

  9. says

    Thanks Paul! Lots of posts are old, but I read all the comments and really appreciate new ones — especially educational ones like yours. Again, thanks for the info.

  10. says

    Soft Sugar Cookies
    This is another cookie recipe that is said to be very old Dutch.

    Ingredients :
    Sift together
    4 cups flour 2 eggs unbeaten
    1/2 tsp. salt 1 cup lard
    1 tsp. soda 21/2 cups sugar
    1 cup buttermilk
    1 tsp. Vanilla

    Direction :
    Blend the lard into the flour. Be careful to keep the mixture cold. Mix in the sugar. Add the eggs, butter… For more Click the link bellow

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