A sugar cookie is a buttery, thick cookie that has the main ingredients of sugar, butter, flour, eggs, and baking powder or soda.
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They also often contain vanilla extract to get a simple yet delicious flavor. They are very rarely flavored with anything other than vanilla.
But what happens when you have all the ingredients for sugar cookies without the baking soda or powder? Don’t worry - you can still quell your craving without this component. All you need to do is add more sugar and amp up the temperature of your oven.
Today we’ll be looking into how to make sugar cookies without baking powder or soda, as well as why we think that this actually tops the traditional sugar cookie recipe that everyone follows.
We’ll also offer some tips and tricks to ensure that your cookies come out of the oven as perfect as you are imagining them in your head.
Yes, you can definitely miss this ingredient if you don’t have any to spare. The eggs within the recipe will make up for missing the baking powder or soda by acting as the leavening agent.
Your cookies will not spread out as much during the baking process as they would if there was baking powder within the recipe. Whether you like this is up to your personal preference, but we find that it helps to keep the cookies separate and not leave us with one giant sugar cookie.
Finally, removing the baking soda or powder from the recipe eliminates the possibility of that bad aftertaste that you can get from these ingredients. What you’ll be left with is a more desirable aftertaste that won’t have you reaching for your drink to get rid of.
How To Get Perfectly Baked Cookies Every Time
There are a few ways that you can make your cookies perfect every time you cook them, and most of them are concerning how the ingredients work with one another to create a magical scientific concoction within the oven.
The Butter Temperature
Butter is the most important ingredient in cookies, both in terms of consistency and flavor. Butter gives your cookies that rich taste that we all love so much with cookies. It also helps to control how much the cookies will spread in the oven.
The butter needs to be room temperature when mixing with the other ingredients to make it easier to combine. However, we put the cookies back in the refrigerator afterwards to chill the butter again so that the dough will spread on the baking sheet slower during the baking process.
This will prevent you being left with one large sugar cookie instead of twelve perfectly shaped sugar cookies.
Eggs Act as the Leavening Agent
Eggs provide water and moisture to the mixture which will evaporate during the cooking process, leaving the cookies moist without being watery.
Adding another egg white to the mixture will cause the cookies to rise more, and another egg yolk will make the cookies softer and fudgier.
White Sugar vs Brown Sugar
White sugar is preferred for sugar cookies due to it being less moist than brown sugar. Cookies made with brown sugar will be made with more moisture and therefore might fall apart when picking them up.
Some people prefer the softer texture of cookies made with brown sugar while others like the crunch of cookies made with white sugar. This is all down to personal preference.
Types of Flour
All-purpose flour is better for sugar cookies as it helps the mixture to hold its shape better. Cake flour can also be used, but it is more likely to allow the cookies to spread and join to one another. Sugar cookies made with cake flour are also more susceptible to falling apart.
Much like the debate between white and brown sugar, different people will have their own personal preference between using all-purpose flour and cake flour.
Get Your Scales Out
Too many people are guilty of this - estimating the amount of ingredients that they need for the recipe. We cannot stress enough that you need to measure your ingredients correctly to get the desired results.
Without measuring accurately, you’ll be left with cookies that are too dry due to too much flour, or too moist thanks to too much butter. Measuring is important so make sure your scales are working and ready to be used.
Baking Temperature and Times
We have noted that the baking temperature for this recipe is 350 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the same for the majority of sugar cookie recipes out there so that you don’t dry the cookies out too much.
However, different types of ovens will require different cooking times due to their insulation or how well they circulate the heat. You will know your oven much better than us, so adjust the cooking times accordingly.
If your oven is often hotter than the average and therefore cooks things quicker, check the cookies after 6 minutes. If your oven takes longer to cook things than others check after 15 minutes then add two minutes before checking again.
Let The Cookies Cool
Practicing self-control and leaving the sugar cookies until they’re properly cooled is very important. The cooling process allows the cookies to set slightly so that they don’t break when being picked up.
This will allow people to admire the shape that you’ve cut them into. Decorating is also best done when the cookies are cool so that the icing doesn’t melt and become messy on the cookies.
That being said, cookies can still be enjoyed while warm. Just make sure that they aren’t fresh out the oven when transferring them onto a serving plate.
Preventing Cookies From Spreading Too Much
There’s not much more irritating in baking when putting the baking sheet into the oven covered in 12 perfectly round cookies, only to pull out one massive cookie.
While a giant cookie doesn’t sound too bad in theory, when it’s unevenly baked and difficult to serve to guests, it’s not the best outcome.
One way to prevent the cookie dough from spreading too much is to cool it before baking. This will chill the butter and take it longer to melt in the oven. This will make the dough spread out slower. Chill the dough multiple times for the best results.
Another trick is to leave out the leavening agent of the recipe altogether. Leavening agents, such as baking powder and soda, will make the dough rise higher. Once the dough has risen, it will sink again and spread further across the baking sheet.
You will see that we have included both of these methods in our recipe later on in the article. We are trying to avoid the spread as far as possible, so these two tricks will keep your cookies looking picture perfect throughout the entire baking process.
Making Sugar Cookies Without Baking Soda or Powder
Below is a recipe to make 12 sugar cookies without baking soda or powder.
The preparation should take no more than 15 minutes while the baking process will take around 12 minutes, leaving you with a 27-minute process in total.
Sugar Cookies Without Baking Soda or Powder
- 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup butter at room temperature
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 small egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 pinch of salt
- Mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy in a large bowl.
- Add the vanilla extract and egg before beating until you reach a smooth consistency.
- Introduce the flour and pinch of salt, stirring to form a soft dough.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
- Now preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface and cut into cookie shapes with cutters.
- Place the cookies on your lined baking sheet and refrigerate again for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove the cookies from the refrigerator and bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until golden brown on the edges.
- Place on a cooling rack and wait until they’re completely cool before decorating.
How Do These Sugar Cookies Taste?
By making your sugar cookies following this recipe, you’ll find that the edges are crispy while the centers are perfectly chewy. They will stay a similar size to how you cut them, and they will slightly rise to the perfect thickness.
The taste is buttery and sugary without the unpleasant aftertaste that baking powder or soda often leaves you with. In our opinion, this is the best way you can make sugar cookies.
Don’t believe us? Try it for yourself! We bet that you’ll never look at a pot of baking powder when making sugar cookies ever again.