Everything You Need to Know to Make Perfect Chewy Sugar Cookie Dough

Published Categorized as Baking

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Everything You Need To Know To Make Perfect Chewy Sugar Cookie Dough

Table of Contents

Why are Cookies Chewy?

So, why do some cookies turn out chewy while others end up crispy or cakey?

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Moisture

One of the most important elements in creating chewy cookies is moisture.

When a cookie dough contains a higher proportion of moisture-rich ingredients, such as brown sugar and butter, it results in a softer, chewier texture. These ingredients help retain moisture within the cookie during the baking process, preventing it from drying out and becoming crispy.

Brown Sugar

Unlike granulated white sugar, brown sugar contains molasses, which adds moisture and a subtle caramel flavor to the cookies. The molasses in brown sugar also attracts and holds onto water molecules, ensuring that the cookies remain moist and soft even after cooling.

Butter

When creamed with sugar, butter helps incorporate air into the dough, creating a lighter texture.

However, it’s important not to overmix the dough, as this can lead to the development of too much gluten, resulting in a tougher cookie. The fat in butter also helps to keep the cookies tender and chewy.

Gluten

In chewy cookies, we want to minimize gluten formation to prevent the cookies from becoming tough. This is where the type of flour used comes into play.

Using a low-protein flour, such as cake flour or pastry flour, can help reduce gluten development and promote a more tender, chewy texture.

Sugar Ratio

Not just the type but the amount of sugar used in a cookie recipe can greatly impact its texture. The ratio of brown sugar to white sugar is also important. Using a higher proportion of brown sugar will result in a chewier cookie, while using more white sugar will yield a crispier texture.

Everything You Need To Know To Make Perfect Chewy Sugar Cookie Dough

Ingredients You’ll Need

Let’s gather all the necessary ingredients, grab your apron, and let’s get started!

Flour

Make sure to measure your flour accurately, as too much can lead to dry, crumbly cookies, while too little can result in flat, spreading cookies. For the best results, use the spoon and level method: gently spoon the flour into your measuring cup and level it off with a straight edge.

Sugar

For an extra depth of flavor, you can replace a portion of the granulated sugar with brown sugar, which will also enhance the chewiness of the cookies.

Butter

Unsalted butter is our go-to choice for chewy sugar cookies. It adds richness, flavor, and helps create a tender texture. Make sure your butter is at room temperature before creaming it with the sugar.

If you prefer a more pronounced buttery flavor, you can opt for European-style butter, which has a higher fat content.

Eggs

Eggs are the unsung heroes of cookie dough. For the best results, use room temperature eggs, as they will incorporate more easily into the dough.

Vanilla Extract:

Vanilla extract is like the secret weapon in your chewy sugar cookie recipe. It enhances the overall flavor profile and adds a warm, comforting aroma. Pure vanilla extract is always the best choice, as it provides a more authentic and intense flavor compared to imitation vanilla.

Don’t skimp on this ingredient – it makes a big difference in the final product.

Leavening Agents: The Rise and Shine

Make sure your leavening agents are fresh, as they can lose their potency over time, resulting in flat, dense cookies.

Tools and Equipment

Having the right tools can make a world of difference in your baking experience, ensuring that your cookies turn out perfectly.

  1. Mixing Bowls – You’ll need at least two bowls – one for dry ingredients and another for wet ingredients. Opt for sturdy, non-reactive bowls made from stainless steel, glass, or ceramic. These materials won’t absorb flavors or odors, ensuring that your cookie dough tastes exactly as it should.
  2. Electric Mixer – While you can certainly mix cookie dough by hand, an electric mixer will make your life a whole lot easier.
  3. Measuring Cups and Spoons – And if you want to get really fancy, a kitchen scale can help you achieve the most precise measurements.
  4. Baking Sheets – Remember to line them with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat to prevent sticking and ensure easy cleanup.
  5. Cooling Racks – Once your chewy sugar cookies come out of the oven, you’ll need a place to let them cool down.
  6. Bonus Tools – While not strictly essential, a few extra tools can give you an easier time. A cookie scoop ensures uniformly sized cookies and makes the process of transferring dough to the baking sheet a breeze. A silicone spatula is perfect for scraping down the sides of your mixing bowl and gently folding in any mix-ins like chocolate chips or sprinkles.

Now it’s time to preheat that oven and get baking!

Preparing the Dough

Let’s roll up our sleeves and get started!

Creaming the Butter and Sugar

The first step in creating a dreamy cookie dough is to cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Start by beating the room temperature butter on medium speed for a couple of minutes. Gradually add the sugar, and continue mixing until the mixture turns pale and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Mixing in the Wet Ingredients

Once your butter and sugar are beautifully creamed, it’s time to add the wet ingredients. Begin by whisking in the eggs one at a time, ensuring each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. The mixture may look slightly curdled at this point, but don’t worry – it’ll come together beautifully.

Next, stir in the vanilla extract, which will infuse your dough with a warm, comforting aroma.

Incorporating the Dry Ingredients

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. This step helps distribute the leavening agents evenly, ensuring your cookies rise to perfection. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, mixing on low speed until just combined.

Be careful not to overmix, as this can lead to tough, dense cookies.

Everything You Need To Know To Make Perfect Chewy Sugar Cookie Dough

Chilling the Dough

You might be tempted to skip the chilling step and rush straight into baking, but trust me, patience is a virtue. Chilling the dough is a game-changer.

Why Chill the Dough?

Chilling the cookie dough serves several important purposes.

First, it allows the flour to hydrate fully, which means the flour particles have time to absorb the liquid ingredients, resulting in a dough that’s easier to handle and shape. This hydration process also contributes to a more even texture in the baked cookies.

Additionally, chilling the dough solidifies the fat (butter) in the mixture. When you place cold dough into a hot oven, the butter takes longer to melt, which prevents the cookies from spreading too much. This means your cookies will hold their shape better, maintaining that chewy texture we’re aiming for.

How Long to Chill?

The ideal chilling time for chewy sugar cookie dough is at least one hour, but for best results, I recommend chilling the dough overnight.

If you’re short on time, a minimum of 30 minutes in the refrigerator will still make a difference.

Just keep in mind that the longer you chill the dough, the more pronounced the flavor and texture improvements will be.

Chilling Methods

There are a couple of ways to chill your cookie dough. The easiest method is to cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and place it directly in the refrigerator. If you’re planning to chill the dough for more than a few hours, you can also wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out or absorbing any odors from the fridge.

Another option is to scoop or shape the dough into balls before chilling. This is particularly useful if you want to have ready-to-bake cookies ready. Simply scoop the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm.

Once the dough balls are chilled, you can transfer them to a freezer bag or container and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months, baking them off whenever you want to.

Everything You Need To Know To Make Perfect Chewy Sugar Cookie Dough

Rolling and Cutting the Dough

Fan of classic rounds? Or prefer to get creative with intricate designs? Here are some things to keep in mind.

Thickness

Aim for a thickness of about 1/4 inch (6mm). This sweet spot ensures that your cookies are sturdy enough to hold their shape during baking, yet still thin enough to achieve that delightful chewy texture. If your cookies are too thick, they may end up more cakey than chewy, while overly thin cookies risk burning or becoming too crisp.

To achieve even thickness, place your dough between two sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap. This prevents the dough from sticking to your rolling pin and makes for easier cleanup. Start by gently pressing the dough with your rolling pin to flatten it slightly, then roll from the center outward, turning the dough 90 degrees after each pass to maintain an even shape.

Cutting Techniques

To cut out your sugar cookies, firmly press your chosen cookie cutter into the rolled-out dough, ensuring that it cuts through completely. If the dough sticks to the cutter, dip it in flour before each use to prevent sticking.

For the cleanest cuts, avoid twisting the cookie cutter as you press it down, as this can lead to distorted shapes. Instead, use a straight up-and-down motion, then gently wiggle the cutter to release the dough if needed. Transfer the cut-out shapes to a lined baking sheet, leaving about an inch of space between each cookie to allow for some spreading.

Get Creative

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your sugar cookie designs! Use a knife or pastry wheel to cut the dough into squares, diamonds, or triangles, or combine different cookie cutters to create unique shapes. For example, use a round cutter to make a cookie base, then add a star-shaped cut-out on top for a festive touch.

You can also use cookie stamps or embossed rolling pins to add textured designs to your cookies. Simply press the stamp or rolling pin into the dough before cutting out your shapes for an extra layer of visual interest.

Rerolling the Scraps

Once you’ve cut out your first batch of cookies, you’ll likely have some dough scraps left over. Don’t let them go to waste!

Gather the scraps into a ball, then gently re-roll the dough to the same 1/4 inch thickness. Continue cutting out shapes until you’ve used up all the dough.

Keep in mind that re-rolled dough may be slightly less tender than the first batch, as the gluten in the flour develops each time the dough is worked. To minimize this effect, handle the dough gently and avoid overworking it.

Baking the Cookies

With your cookie dough shaped and ready to go, it’s time to bring your chewy sugar cookies to life.

Preheat

For most chewy sugar cookie recipes, you’ll want to set your oven to 350°F (175°C). Let it preheat for at least 15-20 minutes to ensure it reaches the desired temperature.

While your oven is heating up, line your baking trays with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Space Things Out

When arranging your cookie dough on the baking tray, be sure to leave enough space between each piece. During baking, your cookies will spread and expand, and if they’re too close together, they’ll meld into one giant cookie monster. Aim for about 2 inches (5cm) of space between each cookie.

If you’re baking multiple trays at once, rotate them halfway through the baking time to ensure even browning. Ovens often have hot spots, so rotating your trays helps counteract any uneven heat distribution.

Timing

Now, here’s the million-dollar question: how long should you bake your chewy sugar cookies? As a general rule, chewy sugar cookies take about 10-12 minutes to bake.

However, the best way to judge doneness is by keeping a close eye on your cookies during the last few minutes of baking. You’re looking for a light golden-brown edge and a center that’s set but still soft. The cookies will continue to firm up as they cool, so don’t be tempted to overbake them, or you’ll lose that coveted chewiness.

Underbaking

If you’re aiming for a supremely soft and chewy texture, consider underbaking your cookies slightly. Pull them from the oven when the centers still look a bit underdone, but the edges are set and lightly browned. As the cookies cool on the baking tray, the residual heat will continue to cook the centers, giving you that perfect balance of crisp edges and a delightfully chewy middle.

Everything You Need To Know To Make Perfect Chewy Sugar Cookie Dough

Extra Tips for Chewiness

Take your cookies from delicious to mind-blowingly irresistible. Did you know we can enhance that chewy texture? Check out these tips.

Egg Yolks

One secret weapon in the quest for chewiness is using egg yolks instead of whole eggs in your cookie dough. Egg yolks contain more fat and less water compared to egg whites, which contributes to a richer, chewier texture. The fat in the yolks helps to keep the cookies moist and tender, while the reduced water content prevents them from becoming too cakey.

To substitute egg yolks for whole eggs, use two egg yolks for each whole egg called for in your recipe. Keep in mind that this substitution may slightly affect the color of your cookies, giving them a more golden hue.

Undermixing

When it comes to mixing your cookie dough, less is often more. Mix your dough just until the ingredients are combined and no streaks of flour remain.

One technique to prevent overmixing is to fold in the dry ingredients by hand using a spatula or wooden spoon, rather than relying on your electric mixer. This gentle folding motion helps to incorporate the ingredients without overworking the dough.

Brown Sugar

As we mentioned earlier, brown sugar is a key player in creating chewy cookies. The molasses in brown sugar attracts and holds onto moisture, keeping your cookies soft and chewy for days. To amp up the chewiness, try increasing the proportion of brown sugar to white sugar in your recipe.

For an extra flavor boost, reach for dark brown sugar, which contains even more molasses than light brown sugar. The deep, caramel notes of dark brown sugar pair beautifully with the rich, buttery flavor of sugar cookies.

Cornstarch

Another surprising ingredient that can contribute to chewiness is cornstarch. When added to cookie dough in small amounts, cornstarch helps to soften the proteins in the flour, creating a more tender, chewy texture.

To incorporate cornstarch into your recipe, try replacing 1-2 tablespoons of the flour with an equal amount of cornstarch. This subtle change can make a noticeable difference in the final texture of your cookies.

Chocolate Chip Chewiness

If you’re a fan of chocolate chip cookies, here’s a bonus hack for you: try using a combination of chocolate chips and chopped chocolate in your dough. The irregular pieces of chopped chocolate create melty pockets and a more rustic texture, while the chips provide that classic chocolatey goodness.

For extra chewiness, opt for high-quality chocolate with a higher cocoa butter content, such as couverture or baking chocolate. The added fat from the cocoa butter will contribute to a more luscious, chewy texture.

Resting

Finally, don’t underestimate the power of resting your cookie dough. As mentioned in the chilling section, allowing your dough to rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour (or even overnight) gives the flour time to hydrate fully and the flavors to meld together. This resting period also helps to prevent your cookies from spreading too much during baking, ensuring a chewier, more concentrated texture.

If you have the patience, try portioning out your cookie dough, then chilling the individual dough balls for several hours or overnight before baking. This extended rest will result in cookies with crisp edges, a chewy center, and an unparalleled depth of flavor.

Cooling and Storing

You’ve put in all the hard work of making the perfect batch of chewy sugar cookies, and now it’s time to ensure they stay just as delightful for days to come.

The Importance of Cooling

Once your cookies emerge from the oven, give them some space to cool down properly. Resist the temptation to leave them on the hot baking sheet, as the residual heat can continue to cook the cookies, leading to overbaking and a loss of chewiness.

Instead, after allowing the cookies to set on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes, transfer them to a cooling rack. A cooling rack allows air to circulate around the cookies, promoting even cooling and preventing condensation from forming underneath. This airflow is key to keeping your cookies crisp on the outside and delightfully chewy on the inside.

If you don’t have a cooling rack, you can improvise by placing a sheet of parchment paper on your countertop and arranging the cookies on top. Just be sure to leave enough space between each cookie to allow for proper cooling.

Storing for Optimal Chewiness

The best way this is by storing the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. Choose a container with a tight-fitting lid, such as a plastic storage box or a cookie jar with a rubber seal. If you’re using a metal tin, place a layer of parchment paper or wax paper between each layer of cookies to prevent sticking and absorb any excess moisture.

For an extra boost of chewiness, you can place a small piece of bread in the container with your cookies. The bread will release moisture over time, helping to keep the cookies soft and chewy. Just be sure to replace the bread every couple of days to prevent it from molding.

Freezing for Long-Term Storage

If you want to enjoy your chewy sugar cookies for weeks or even months to come, freezing is your best bet. Properly frozen cookies can maintain their texture and flavor for up to three months.

To freeze your cookies, first ensure they’ve cooled completely. Then, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze until solid, about 1-2 hours. Once frozen, transfer the cookies to a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag, separating layers with parchment paper to prevent sticking.

When you’re ready to enjoy a frozen cookie, simply remove it from the freezer and let it thaw at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes. If you prefer a slightly warm cookie, you can also microwave it for 10-15 seconds or pop it in a 350°F (175°C) oven for a few minutes until heated through.

Reviving Stale Cookies

Despite your best efforts, sometimes cookies can lose their chewiness and turn a bit stale. But don’t despair – there are ways to revive them.

One simple trick is to place a stale cookie in the microwave with a mug of water beside it. Microwave the cookie and water together for about 15-20 seconds, and the steam from the water will help to rehydrate the cookie, making it soft and chewy once more.

Another option is to wrap stale cookies in a damp paper towel and place them in a sealed container overnight. The moisture from the paper towel will gradually soften the cookies, bringing back their tender texture.

So, go forth and bake, my fellow cookie enthusiasts! Share with me what tips you also might have for perfect chewy sugar cookies.

Want more chewy desserts? Try my recipe for the ultimate Chewy Brownies.

FAQs

What is the secret to chewy cookies?

The secret is using more brown sugar and underbaking slightly.

Why is my sugar cookie dough gummy?

Too much liquid or undermixing can make dough gummy.

Print

Perfect Chewy Sugar Cookie Dough

Enjoy your freshly baked, perfect chewy sugar cookies! 

  • Author: Anna

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 1/4 cups (280 grams) All-purpose Flour
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) Granulated Sugar
  • 3/4 cup (165 grams) Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1 cup (226 grams or 2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large Eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 grams) Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 grams) Salt

Instructions

  1. Beat the room temperature butter on medium speed for a couple of minutes.
    Gradually add the sugar, mixing until pale and creamy, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  2. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, ensuring each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, mixing on low speed until just combined. Be careful not to overmix to avoid tough cookies.
  4. Chill the dough for at least one hour or overnight for best results. This helps the flour to hydrate and the fat to solidify, preventing too much spreading.
  5. Roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness between two sheets of parchment paper.
  6. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes, transferring them to a lined baking sheet.
  7. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  8. Arrange cookies on the baking tray, leaving about 2 inches of space between each.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are light golden-brown and the center is set but still soft. For extra chewiness, consider slightly underbaking your cookies.
  10. Let the cookies set on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Store cooled cookies in an airtight container to maintain chewiness.

Notes

  • Egg Yolks: Use two egg yolks per whole egg for richer, chewier cookies.
  • Brown Sugar: Increase the proportion of brown sugar to white sugar to enhance chewiness and moisture retention.
  • Cornstarch: Mix in 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch with the flour to soften the proteins and enhance the chewy texture.
  • Resting: Let the portioned cookie dough rest in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight before baking for improved flavor and texture.

Keywords: chewy sugar cookies

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Published
Categorized as Baking

By Anna

Anna Brooks, the voice behind CooksDream.com, is a seasoned writer and editor with an insatiable love for food. While not a professional chef, her culinary adventures and unique insights have captivated readers for years. Anna believes in the transformative power of food, stating it "feeds the soul." Dive into her writings for a mix of inspiration, entertainment, and culinary wisdom. Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

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