Best Ever Sugar Cookies

Valentine’s Day is the quintessential sugar cookie holiday. It’s the day that I equate with sugar cookies. As long as I can remember, every Valentine’s Day I would wake up to a beautiful, pink sugar cookie with white icing piped around the outside and my name written in the middle. This was no fancy bakery-style cookie. This was a home-made, made-with-love cookie by my mom. My childhood Valentine mornings were more about cookies than any Valentine card I received. That cookie, flavored with almond, topped with a whole lot of buttercream and oh-so-sweet will always be my top Valentine memory.

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That childhood Valentine memory has stuck with me so much that even though we are not a “cookies for breakfast” family, I give my kids a homemade Valentine sugar cookie on Valentine’s morning…and they look forward to it all year long. Isn’t it funny how traditions are like that? To think that one simple cookie could evoke so many memories for generations. I love that about food and family and how little simple things repeated every year can mean so much.

Over the years I’ve played around with my mom’s amazing sugar cookie recipe. I love her recipe, but it calls for a lot of Crisco and truthfully, I’m not the biggest fan of baking with shortening and don’t usually keep it in my pantry. Butter on the other hand…I keep many pounds of butter on hand. This best ever sugar cookie recipe has all the nostalgia of Mom’s but with 100% butter. This is the one that my kids will be eating for years to come…and maybe my grandkids too (you know, unless they also decide to change it up 🙂 ).

Thin and Crispy or Thick and Chewy

Which is your favorite? A thin and crispy cookie or a thick and chewy cookie? Whatever way you answer, you are going to love this cookie. My personal preference is thick and chewy. I love a cookie that is ¼ inch or more in thickness and slathered with some buttercream. This cookie fits the bill for a chewy sugar cookie. BUT, if you love a thin and crispy cookie, the recipe works just as well. My kids always seem to roll the dough out paper thin and the cookies come out crispy on the outside with just a little give in the center. They almost have me converted to thin and crispy. Basically, no matter how you roll these, you can get your preference. If you want them crispy, roll them thinner. If you want them chewy, roll them thick.

Tips for Baking with Kids

One of the reasons I love this best ever sugar cookie dough is because it is so simple to make with kids. I have four kids, so I almost always double the recipe. My kids all enjoy cutting out shapes and making their own set of sugar cookies. I find it easiest to portion a section of dough for each child. I set them up with a piece of parchment paper, a little bit of flour and a rolling pin to roll out their own dough while I make my own cookies. This way, I don’t care whatever shapes they cut or how thick or thin their cookies are. They get full autonomy over their cookies and I get to make mine exactly how I like them (especially if I’m planning to gift some to friends and neighbors)

No Chilling Required and Rolling the Dough

A lot of sugar cookie recipes require you to chill the dough. One of the things I love about these best ever sugar cookies is that no chilling is required. If you need to chill the dough for planning purposes, you can, but there is no need. You can go straight from mixing up the dough to having beautiful cookies cooling in just a few minutes. I like to use a pastry mat to roll out my sugar cookie dough. Lightly flour the bottom of your pastry mat (or countertop works too). Set the ball of dough on top of the lightly floured surface. Sprinkle a little more flour on top of the dough or on the rolling pin and gently roll the dough until it is your desired thickness. Cut out your shapes. You may need to use a spatula to lift the cookie dough onto the baking sheet. If you notice your dough sticking a lot, add a little bit more flour. The scraps of the dough can be re-rolled a few times to use up as much dough as possible.

Almond Extract in Cookie Dough

One of my favorite flavors to add to a sugar cookie is almond extract. I love a hint of almond in these cookies, but you could substitute any other favorite flavor. Some like lemon, or a blend of coconut and almond extracts is also very good. If you want to stick with vanilla extract, they will taste delicious. It’s all about your personal preference. 

Baking with or without Convection

I am a big believer in baking cookies using the convection setting on your oven if possible (read more about that in this cookie recipe here). However, I have baked these cookies for years using a regular bake. Just recently I tried them out on convection and the main difference is that convection bake saves you a couple minutes of bake time if you want a thick, chewy sugar cookie. If you are going for a crispier cookie, using convection would be the way to go to get a crispy edge. You may want to add a minute or two onto the bake time for a crispier cookie. If you choose to use convection, bake at 325 for about 8 minutes or bake on regular heat at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Buttercream Frosting

Sugar cookies taste delicious with any type of icing. I love how pretty royal icing looks, but buttercream always will be my favorite way to top sugar cookies. Growing up, my mom always used Crisco in her buttercream. I loved it as a kid, but now I prefer to use 100% real butter. If you want good piping/hardening consistency you can substitute half Crisco for part of the butter in the buttercream. It is important to whip the butter for a few minutes before adding in the sugar. This helps to lighten the color of the buttercream and give the desired light and fluffy consistency. I like adding heavy cream to the frosting for the extra creamy flavor. You can substitute milk if in a pinch, but it won’t be as creamy. If you are planning to color the buttercream with food coloring, it is best to use a gel color so the buttercream doesn’t change consistency, though drop colors will work in a pinch. The key to good buttercream: whip it, whip it, whip it.

Freezing Best Ever Sugar Cookies

One of my biggest tips for home bakers is: use your freezer. Sometimes I don’t have time to make sugar cookies from start to finish. I often will make the sugar cookie base, freeze the bases and then frost them later. Sometimes I will make and frost the sugar cookies and then freeze the whole cookie. I can pull the frosted cookies out the morning I want to gift them, let them come to room temperature and then give them away. This is a huge time saver for a busy mom and it makes the “project” of sugar cookies less overwhelming. Break the process down into a couple of days. The sugar cookie bases themselves freeze easier than a whole assembled cookie. Stack them, cover in plastic wrap or tin foil or place them in an airtight container to freeze. When you are ready to frost them, pull the cookie bases out of the freezer and frost. No need to let the cookies come to room temperature. They are actually easier to frost frozen and will come to room temperature quickly and taste delicious. If you want to store cookies that have been frosted, lay them out on a cookie sheet after frosting/piping. Freeze in a single layer. Once hardened, add a few more cookies on top of them and freeze. Cover with saran wrap and tin foil to store.

So what are you waiting for? Make a big batch of these amazing best ever sugar cookies and give a few to your Valentine, family, teachers or friends. We make the cookies ahead of time and enjoy frosting them closer to Valentines Day. Who knows, maybe you will even luck out with a cookie for breakfast this year!

Best Ever Sugar Cookies

These best ever sugar cookies are tender, chewy (or crispy…your choice), melt in your mouth and smothered in light, whippy buttercream. No chilling required!
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course cookies, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 40 3 inch cookies

Ingredients
  

Best Ever Sugar Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter 3 sticks or 24 Tablespoons, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract optional, but we LOVE it
  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar see recipe notes
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract see recipe notes
  • 2-4 Tablespoons heavy cream see recipe notes

Instructions
 

Best Ever Sugar Cookies

  • To the bowl of stand mixer, mix the butter until light and fluffy. Add the granulated sugar and cream together.
  • Add the eggs an egg at a time and mix. Continue mixing until fully incorporated.
  • Add the vanilla extract and almond extract. Mix together.
  • To a medium-sized bowl, add the dry ingredients: all purpose flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and cream of tartar. Whisk together with a fork.
  • Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until completely combined. Don't be too zealous with the mixing, but make sure you have a cohesive mass of dough.
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees regular bake or 325 degrees convection. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper (my favorite cookie sheet here, affiliate link)
  • Lightly flour a countertop or pastry mat.
  • Turn the dough out onto the counter and split into a few pieces.
  • Working with a piece at a time, roll the dough to about 1/4 of an inch thick, flouring a little as needed, though be careful to not over-flour the dough. If you want a crispier cookie, roll the dough a little thinner to 1/8 of an inch.
  • Using a cookie cutter (affiliate link), cut shapes out of the dough. Try to place your shapes as close together as possible to use up as much dough without needing to re-roll. Place cut cookie dough on a cookie sheet with a little space in between each cookie.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes (or 325 convection for 8 minutes). For a crispier cookie, bake an extra minute or two. Let cookies cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan to cool.
  • Continue this process, re-rolling scraps together once or twice until all your cookie dough is used up.
  • Let cookies cool completely before frosting or freezing.
  • To Freeze: Stack cooled cookies. Place cookies in an airtight container and freeze. Pull out when ready to frost, and frost from frozen.

Buttercream Frosting

  • To the bowl of a stand mixer, or to a bowl with a handheld mixer, add the room temperature butter. Whip together with the whisk attachment or beaters. Whip for a few minutes until the butter is light and airy looking.
  • Add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract and almond extract if desired. Whip together.
  • Add heavy cream as you are whipping the frosting, beginning with 2 Tablespoons and increasing up to 4 Tablespoons depending on how you prefer the consistency of the frosting. Add food coloring if desired.
  • Continue whipping until light, creamy and whiter in color (the buttercream loses its yellow, buttery color and turns more white the longer you whip it for).
  • Frost cooled cookies or frozen cookies with buttercream. Pipe around edges if desired. Enjoy!

Notes

Cream of Tartar: This can be left out of the recipe, but I like the flavor it lends to the cookie. If you don’t have it on hand, leave it out.
Buttercream: This buttercream recipe makes enough to lightly frost a two layer cake or lightly frost all of your sugar cookies. If you want to pipe extra decorations or borders, you will want to make 1.5 times the recipe or double it.
Almond Extract: I love the added flavor almond extract gives to the buttercream and the cookies. It’s one of the “secret” ingredients that take these cookies to “best-ever” status. If you don’t like the flavor, you can leave it out.
Heavy Cream: Heavy cream gives the buttercream its creamy and luscious texture. If you don’t have it on hand you can substitute milk. Be careful not to pour too much milk because it will thin the frosting quicker than heavy cream.
 
Keyword Sugar Cookie, Valentine’s Day

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Chocolate Caramel Pecan Christmas Cookies

In our house, it is not Christmas until we have made our traditional Christmas cookies. My family has been making them ever since I can remember (and long before that). These Chocolate Caramel Pecan Christmas cookies are the ultimate holiday cookie. Buttery shortbread-style crust with a luscious caramel, chocolate and pecan topping. What isn’t there to love about these? The festive star-shape makes them a Christmas cookie you will want to make on repeat at your house every year. 

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Chocolate Caramel Pecan Christmas Cookies: The History

When my mom was little, she would make Christmas cookies with my grandma. I don’t know if she just liked these cookies the best or if they won out over all the cookies my grandma made but for whatever reason (and good reason in my opinion) this was THE cookie. Originally many cookie cutters were used to cut out the dough for these cookies but the star-shape always turned out the best. From then on, my family made hundreds of these cookies every Christmas. Truth be told, I didn’t even know people made many different kinds of cookies. This chocolate caramel pecan cookie is the one cookie you will want this Christmas too!

Buttery Shortbread-Style Cookie Dough

This dough is a dream to work with. It rolls out beautifully (just add a tiny touch of flour to the rolling pin if needed) and is so easy for little fingers to cut and help shape. I always make a little extra dough (double the recipe) and pull out my cookie cutter collection so they can make whatever shapes they want. We bake them up and the kids love eating them plain or decorated. While they are occupied, I go to town rolling the dough and cutting the star-shaped ones to give away to friends and neighbors. I’ve found rolling the dough to about ¼ inch thickness and using a 3-3.5 inch star-shaped cookie cutter (affiliate link) works best for these cookies. This recipe will give you 24 beautiful star cookies.

Baking Time

The cookie bases bake for about 10-12 minutes depending if you use convection or regular on your oven. I’ve waxed poetic about convection ovens before, so you know my preference but I’ve made them for years before having a convection oven and in many different countries with different ovens and they always turn out amazing. Be careful on the time as you bake these because these cookies are really divine if you don’t over bake them. They will puff up just a little bit but keep their star-shape. If you let them go too long or have rolled them out too thin, the edges will start to brown just a bit and you will know they went a little too long in the oven. Still delicious, but much better without the browned edges.

Caramel, Chocolate and Pecans

The toppings are what really set this cookie apart. Caramels are melted down (I use the microwave but you could also do this on the stove if you watch very carefully) with butter and evaporated milk and then stirred with sifted powdered sugar and chopped pecans to give the most amazing caramel topping. The pecans help the caramel to set up to a little ball on top of the cookie which makes the perfect base for the thick chocolate topping. I love the richness the semi-sweet chocolate chips bring to this cookie and any extra topping we have from these cookies we save to eat on ice cream or…by the spoonful. It is so good. A whole pecan tops the cookie for a finished look.

Sift. Sift. Sift that Powdered Sugar

One note about sifting. Please, please, please sift your powdered sugar. One year when I was a college student, I was making these Christmas cookies (yes, I made these every year…even while I was in the midst of college finals, they are that nostalgic for me). I decided to forgo the sifting and it was a BIG MISTAKE. I had chunks of powdered sugar all throughout my caramel sauce. Even though I did everything I could to get those chunks combined, they just wouldn’t combine well. My caramel still tasted okay but it didn’t look very good with little white chunks throughout what should have been a smooth caramel. So learn from my mistake and get yourself a sifter if you don’t have one. 

Gluten-Free Option

If you need to make these cookies gluten-free, good news. They are absolutely amazing gluten-free. My sister eats gluten-free and makes them every year with Cup4Cup flour (affiliate link). It is really hard to tell the difference between the gluten-free version and the regular version. Just sub the flour in the cookies for the Cup 4 Cup flour and they should turn out amazing.

A Cookie Job For Everyone

I make over 200 of these cookies every year for Christmas. This is our family tradition. We spend a few days doing the entire process. One day baking the cookies. One day making the toppings. One day assembling everything. When we finally get to the assembly portion, everyone has a job to do. My kids have now graduated to being able to help put on the caramel and chocolate toppings. The youngest in our crew is usually relegated to “pecan sorting” and putting nuts on top of the cookies. I love that these cookies have a job for everyone. We have such fun every year blasting Christmas carols, making cookies and sneaking a cookie or two.

Caroling and Cookies

The cookie bases freeze well (actually the whole cookie does) and it makes it easy for us to make plates of cookies to deliver to friends and neighbors. We love caroling, bringing along our Christmas card and a plate of these cookies. It’s a tradition that began when I was a kid and has continued on with my family and the families of my siblings. And after all the deliveries…we get to enjoy eating our star-shaped cookies. The funny part is that if you ask each of us, we all have a different way to eat the cookie. Some of us eat off all the star points first leaving the gooey middle. Others pull off the pecan and eat off all the topping first. I love having these fun traditions to look back on every year 

I love all cookies. Chocolate chip, candy jar, gluten-free oat cookies, but these chocolate caramel pecan Christmas cookies are a standout favorite. Full of nostalgia, lots of butter, chocolate and caramel, they are the ultimate holiday dessert. Whether you are looking for cookies to give, cookies to eat or cookies to leave out for Santa, these chocolate caramel pecan cookies are the perfect indulgent holiday cookie. I wish I could bring you a plate! From my family to yours…Merry Christmas!

Chocolate Caramel Pecan Christmas Cookies

Chocolate Caramel Pecan Christmas cookies are the ultimate holiday cookie. A star-shaped buttery crust with a luscious caramel, chocolate and pecan topping. They will be on repeat at your house every Christmas.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24 cookies

Ingredients
  

Cookie Base

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons evaporated milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all purpose flour

Caramel Topping

  • 8 oz caramel candy Kraft caramels are the ones we traditionally use
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar sifted
  • 1 cup pecans finely chopped

Chocolate Topping

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar sifted

24 whole pecans

    Instructions
     

    Cookie Base

    • Using a stand mixer or a handheld mixer and large bowl, cream together the softened butter and powdered sugar until thick and creamy.
    • Add vanilla extract, evaporated milk and salt. Mix well until completely incorporated and creamy.
    • Add the flour and mix gently until combined. Be careful not to over-mix the dough, but you do want it to be fully incorporated.
    • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees convection or 325 regular and place parchment paper on two large baking sheets.
    • Separate the dough into two portions and roll the first ball of dough out on a lightly floured surface until about 1/4 inch thick.
    • Use a star-shaped cookie cutter about 3-3.5 inches to cut out the stars from the dough. Transfer the cutouts to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
    • Bake for 10 minutes convection or 12 minutes regular until just baked. Watch the cookies so they don't brown. The bottoms of the cookies should still be light.
    • Cool the cookies completely. At this point you can move forward with topping the cookies or freeze them to top later.

    Caramel Pecan Topping

    • Combine unwrapped caramels (or kraft caramel bits), evaporated milk and unsalted butter in a microwave-safe bowl.
    • Microwave in 1 minute increments, stirring with a spoon. Alternate stirring and microwaving until the caramels are completely melted and mixed together. This can take upwards of 10 minutes.
    • Sift in the powdered sugar and stir until completely incorporated.
    • Finely chop the pecans (I pulse them a few times in the blender) and add them to the caramel topping. Mix.
    • Set the caramel aside while you make the chocolate topping. At this point you can also refrigerate the caramel for up to a week before using.

    Chocolate Topping

    • To a microwave safe bowl, add the chocolate, butter and evaporated milk. Microwave in 30 second increments. Alternate stirring and microwaving until the chocolate, butter and evaporated milk are melted and combined.
    • Stir in the vanilla extract. Sift the powdered sugar into the bowl and mix until completely combined. Set aside the chocolate topping to assemble the cookies. You can also refrigerate the topping for up to a week before using.

    Assembly

    • Lay out all the cookies on a flat counter space.
    • Place a dollop of lightly warmed caramel topping on the center of each cookie (about 1 Tablespoon).
    • Place a smaller dollop of lightly warmed chocolate topping on top of the caramel (about 1 teaspoon).
    • Add a whole pecan on top of the chocolate quickly before the chocolate hardens.
    • Let the cookies cool completely before moving to a cookie tray, sharing with friends and neighbors, freezing or setting out for Santa on Christmas Eve. Enjoy!

    Notes

    Freezing Tips: These cookies freeze very well. The fully assembled cookies can be frozen after the toppings have cooled and pulled out to thaw when needed. The process can also be split into multiple days; making the bases one day (then freeze them) and the caramel and chocolate topping a different day. 
    Sifting: It is really important to sift the powdered sugar into the caramel and chocolate. If you don’t, the caramel and chocolate will have tiny lumps of powdered sugar in them that won’t fully incorporated. They will taste okay but not look as good.
     
    Keyword caramel, chocolate chip cookie, Christmas cookies, cookies, pecan

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    Erika’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Erika is known for her chocolate chip cookies

    My sister, Erika, is known for making chocolate chip cookies. She has baked thousands of these cookies…to rave reviews every time (and she always triples the batch!). This summer I asked her to make them for me and I’ve made them myself a time or two since. If you want a chocolate chip cookie recipe that comes out perfect every time, this is the one. I have made hundreds of batches of chocolate chip cookies and many, many different recipes. Sometimes they turn out great, other times I’m left wondering why they don’t hold their shape. This recipe is basically the quintessential chocolate chip cookie recipe. Perfect shape. Perfect bake. Little bit crispy on the outside with a nice soft and gooey middle and literally you can have one in your hands and belly within 20-30 minutes. 

    Jump to Erika’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

    The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

    So many versions of the perfect chocolate chip cookie are out there. Every person is going to have their own view (or nostalgic memory) of what the perfect chocolate chip cookie is to them. This cookie is my definition of the perfect bake-at-home chocolate chipper. It takes 20-30 minutes TOPS from mixing dough to baking to eating. The chocolate chip cookie holds its shape with just a little bit of crispy edges (not too crispy), but a soft and gooey middle. They are divine eaten warm after a few minute rest, but are also amazing frozen and snacked on straight from the freezer. If this is the kind of cookie you are looking for, look no further than this recipe. 

    A Mix of Butter and Shortening

    I admit it. For years I have kind of turned my nose up at this cookie…trying to find a better one because I did not want to bake with shortening. The truth is, the shortening is the key to this cookie. The mixture of equal parts butter and shortening (butter flavor or regular shortening is fine) is what helps this cookie hold its shape while increasing the tenderness of the cookie. Baking with shortening decreases the gluten production in the baked good resulting in a tender cookie AND gives you a taller cookie which makes it chewier. Butter on the other hand tends to give a crispier cookie and a richer flavor. All that said, equal parts of shortening and butter mixed together will produce the best homemade chocolate chip cookie. Can you substitute butter for the shortening, you may wonder? You can, but your cookie will be a little more crispy and a little less tender. 

    Should I use Convection Bake?

    This question deserves its own post. I believe that if you have a convection oven, your cookies should always be baked with the convection setting. Convection ovens have a fan and exhaust system that blow hot air around the food and then take it back out through a vent. This makes food cook more evenly and quickly than normal bake. For cookies this results in the perfect browning, a little bit crispy edges with a gooey middle. You can also cook many pans of cookies at a time in a convection oven and don’t have to worry about moving pans around halfway through the bake. Moral of the story: use it for cookies!

    A Few Rules For Convection Bake

    If a recipe does not specifically call for convection bake, the rule of thumb when using the convection setting is to reduce the temperature by 25 degrees and bake for a little less time. In this recipe, these cookies bake at 350 degrees convection bake for 9 minutes. If you don’t have a convection oven, that is okay! You can still bake cookies and have them turn out amazing. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees on the standard bake setting (25 degrees higher than on convection bake) and bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes (depending on how well done you like them). They will still taste amazing.

    This is an example of cookies on left baked with convection. Cookies on the lower right are baked at the 375 degree temperature. They are a little darker, a little flatter but still delicious. The convection-baked cookies on the upper left look like perfection. If you have convection, use it!

    Let the Cookies Rest

    Another one of my cookie rules is to let the cookies set up just a bit on the pan after baking before moving them to a counter area. I usually like to give my cookies about 5 minutes resting on the pan to get them set up before moving them. The way the cookies cool helps set their shape. This in no way means you can’t snatch one up and eat a hot-off-the-pan cookie, but for the cookies you want to gift, freeze or eat a little later, give them a few minutes on the pan to set up and your cookie will be perfect. 

    How to Freeze and Thaw Cookies

    This recipe makes about 36 cookies, depending on the size of your cookie scoop (a favorite medium sized one linked, affiliate), but once the cookies are cooled, they can be frozen. I use a gallon-sized ziplock bag or a large Tupperware to freeze my extra cookies. They thaw well and I’ve even had kids (who am I kidding…I do it too from time to time) eat them slightly frozen from the freezer. You can give them a quick zap in the microwave to thaw or set them out a few hours before you need them, covered with plastic wrap, and they will be perfect. You can also freeze the cookie dough. I like to let the dough thaw before baking, but you can also bake from frozen, just add a minute or two to the bake time.

    Does this recipe mean I’m done with searching for chocolate chip cookie recipes? No it doesn’t! I will always try any chocolate chip cookie recipe and keep testing and sampling new ones. But, this recipe is one I will bookmark and keep for the days that I need a quick and perfect chocolate chip cookie. They are so good. I hope you love them too!

    Erika’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Quintessential chocolate chip cookies: Perfect shape. Perfect bake. Little bit crispy on the outside with a nice soft and gooey middle and only 20 minutes start to finish.
    Prep Time 10 mins
    Cook Time 10 mins
    Course cookies, Dessert
    Cuisine American
    Servings 36 cookies

    Ingredients
      

    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
    • 1/2 cup shortening butter flavor or regular
    • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 1/4 – 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    • 2 1/2 cups chocolate chips

    Instructions
     

    • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. If you have a convection setting on your oven, use that instead and preheat to 350 degrees with convection.
    • Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, mix together the softened unsalted butter and shortening.
    • Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar. Mix until light and fluffy, usually a couple minutes.
    • Add the eggs and vanilla extract. Mix again until light and fluffy.
    • To the center of the bowl, add the baking soda, salt and one cup of the flour. Mix gently. Continue adding flour until all the flour is incorporated and mix until just combined. Feel the dough. If it feels too greasy/sticky, add another Tablespoon or two of flour. You want the dough to feel light and fluffy but it should not be overly sticky on your fingers.
    • Add the chocolate chips and mix until just combined.
    • On a parchment-lined baking sheet, drop spoonfuls of cookie dough using a cookie scoop (affiliate link). Each parchment-lined sheet should hold 12 cookies per pan.
    • Bake for 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees OR bake for 9 minutes using the convection setting until the edges are lightly browned. Allow to cool on the pan for a few minutes to set up before transferring to the counter to cool. Enjoy!
    Keyword chocolate chip cookie

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    Simple Oatmeal Biscuit Cookies (Gluten-Free)

    Have you ever had breakfast cookies? I’m talking the fat, oatmeal-like cookies filled with apple chunks, chocolate chunks or other delicious mix-ins. These cookies remind me of those breakfast cookies from years past in the delicious oatmeal flavor, though they are a little thinner and crispier in texture. Simple oatmeal biscuit cookies are full of oat flavor, perfect on their own or great for a mix in: mini chocolate chips were a big hit. I also like subbing molasses for the maple syrup for a little kick of flavor. I’m planning to bake up a big batch of these when school starts again for a quick breakfast on the go.

    Is it a Cookie or a Biscuit?

    Grind up oats in a blender until they form a very fine flour

    My family loves watching The Great British Baking Show together and we often notice the different terminology used between bakes in the UK verses what we are used to in the US. These cookies are definitely err on the side of a British biscuit which tends to be a little crunchier version of an American cookie, perfect with a cup of tea. Oatmeal Biscuit Cookies are an American version of an English oat biscuit…hence the name: Oatmeal Biscuit Cookie. Whatever you call them, they’re delicious and made with 100% oats…no wheat flour in sight. 

    A Few Tips

    I prefer this cookie slightly under-baked which gives a little bit softer cookie. The cookie will be a little more crumbly, which is the nature of a 100% oat cookie. It is also delicious with crispy edges and may hold together a little better. Letting the cookie cool completely before eating helps with the crumbs too. 

    Gluten-Free, 100% oat cookie

    I don’t bake gluten-free all that often, but I do enjoy cooking up some gluten-free treats for my sister whenever we get together. My sister loved these cookies so much when I made them that we even made them twice while we were together. If you are gluten-free and making these cookies, make sure you use gluten-free oats. Some oats can have trace gluten in them depending on where they were processed. The word on the street is that they make amazing cookies to sandwich between a toasted marshmallow and chocolate…bring on the summer Smores!

    Very Versatile Cookie

    These cookies are a great base for a variety of mix-ins. If you want a breakfast type cookie that would be perfect for kids on their way to school in the mornings, add in some diced, dried fruit. I think currants or cut up Craisins would be delicious. If you are looking for a sweet treat, try adding some mini chocolate chips or drizzling dark chocolate on top. I would even add a little schmear of peanut butter and jam on these as an after-school snack. These cookies would also make a perfect gluten-free pie crust to crumble instead of graham crackers or Oreos. 

    Simple Oatmeal Biscuit Cookies

    Yield: 20-24 cookies

    Time: 10-15 minute mix, 10 minute bake

    Ingredients:

    • 4 cups rolled oats (makes 3 cups oat flour, blended)
    • ½ cup brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • 12 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter
    • 3 Tablespoons almond milk (milk or water can be substituted)
    • 1 teaspoon maple syrup (you can substitute molasses or honey as well for a different flavor)
    • ½ cup mini chocolate chips, currants, diced up fruit (if desired)

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
    2. Dump oats into a blender or food processor and process until very fine. 
    3. Add oats, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Mix together in a bowl or in a food processor.
    4. Cut the butter into small cubes. Using a pastry cutter or a food processor, cut the butter into the oat flour mixture until crumbly and fine. Alternatively you could also grate the cold butter into the flour mixture like this strawberry shortcake recipe.
    5. Add the almond milk and maple syrup. Mix together until a dough forms. Add mini chocolate chips if desired.
    6. Roll about 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Continue until all the dough has been made into cookie balls. Cookies fit about 12 to a baking sheet.
    7. Lightly wet the bottom of a glass (or your hand), and press down on the top of each of the cookie balls so they are lightly flattened.
    8. Bake 10-12 minutes, rotating the pan at the 5-6 minute mark.  
    9. Let cookies cool completely before drizzling with chocolate, sandwiching with jam or topping with a toasted marshmallow and chocolate. Of course they are delicious plain too! Enjoy!

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    Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

    My sisters and I all had unconventional weddings. None of us had big fancy wedding receptions or big groups of people in attendance. Instead, we chose small ceremonies surrounded by family and a few close friends. Later we celebrated by inviting friends over for a backyard BBQ that was casual and fun for everyone. This allowed us to save some money (hubby and I traveled around Europe for our honeymoon instead of having a big wedding reception) and enjoy time with good friends to celebrate our marriage. My dad manned the grill, while my mom cut up fruit for salads and I was in charge of all the baked goodies. You better believe that these chocolate chip cookie bars were on the menu!

    These cookie bars are a crowd pleaser

    Chocolate chip cookie bars are quick and taste amazing. They are a major crowd pleaser and they couldn’t be easier to make. Using melted butter in this recipe means that these cookie bars can come together super fast. These cookies bake up beautifully in a 9 by 13 pan instead of dropping spoonfuls of cookie dough onto a baking sheet. They cut up nicely into smaller squares to serve for a crowd. I’ve also made these ahead of time and frozen them with great success.

    Crispy Edges, Gooey Middle

    Are you a fan of crispy edges? Or do you choose the bars in the middle of the pan? The gooey middles definitely went first at our latest family gathering, but that didn’t stop the whole pan from being devoured in about 30 minutes flat. These bars are the perfect amount of chewy, gooey and crispy. Basically they have something for everyone to enjoy.

    Use a parchment sling for easy cleanup

    Do yourself a favor and please use a parchment sling for these bars. Non-stick parchment paper makes these bars so easy to lift out of your baking pan and cut into beautiful pieces. It also makes clean-up a breeze and while I wouldn’t fault anyone for eating these out of a pan with a fork (or fingers), parchment paper makes these bars so much easier to handle.

    If you’re anything like me with my sweet tooth, you’ve got to try these gooey chocolate chip cookie bars. They are so delicious and so easy. The hardest part is waiting for the bars to cool!

    Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

    Yield: One, 9 by 13 pan of cookie bars

    Time: 10 minute mix, 30 minute bake

    Ingredients:

    • 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
    • ½ cup granulated sugar
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 2 cups all purpose flour
    • 2 cups chocolate chips, semisweet are my favorite but you can use any chocolate chips here

    Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
    2. Prepare a 9 by 13 pan, lining it with a parchment paper sling (check it out here).
    3. In a microwave-safe mixing bowl, melt the butter. Add brown sugar and granulated sugar. Use a fork (or a hand mixer) to mix the sugars and butter together. 
    4. Add vanilla and eggs. Mix until the ingredients are fully incorporated.
    5. To the center of the bowl add the salt and baking soda. Mix.
    6. Add the flour and mix until combined. 
    7. Mix in the chocolate chips. Spread evenly into the pan.
    8. Bake about 30 minutes until crispy around the edges but still a little gooey in the middle. Let sit for 20 minutes in the pan before lifting out with the parchment paper. Cool before cutting into bars. Enjoy!

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    Strawberry Fruit PIzza

    Do you still have fresh picked (or any) strawberries at home? If you do, this is the recipe that should be next on your list to make. It is light, sweet and highlights the taste and flavor of a fresh-picked summer strawberry. 

    Cream Cheese Icing: Yay or Nay?

    I think I was in college when I first tasted fruit pizza. It was a traditional fruit pizza with sugar cookie crust, thick cream cheese icing and topped with whatever fruit we had on hand. I loved the idea of a fruit pizza, but the heaviness of the cream cheese (maybe I didn’t try the right recipe? Send me your favorites!) wasn’t my favorite. I grew up in a family full of chocolate-lovers who didn’t make a whole lot of “fruit-forward” desserts, so this was a new treat for me. I liked the taste. But I loved the idea of fruit pizza. 

    THIS RECIPE USING A LIGHTER WHIPPED FROSTING THAN THE TRADITIONAL CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

    As years have passed, I have made fruit pizza a time or two. Traditionally fruit pizza is topped with cream cheese icing that is meant to help counter the sweetness of the sugar cookie and fruit on top. I sometimes think that it makes fruit pizza feel heavy so I decided in this Strawberry Fruit Pizza to use heavy whipping cream as the base for my sugar cookie topping. This was a very good idea.

    The strawberry cream on top of this Strawberry Fruit Pizza is light, not overly sweet and provides the perfect richness and counterbalance to the sweet sugar cookie on the bottom and strawberries on top. I whip heavy whipping cream with a few Tablespoons of my favorite strawberry jam (we make ours homemade using Pomonas Universal Pectin, affiliate link) and a little bit of powdered sugar. You can add more or less sugar depending on how sweet you want your cream. I prefer the cream to be a little less sweet so it balances with the sweetness of the sugar cookie. The strawberry whipped cream is definitely the missing key to my idea of the perfect fruit pizza.

    Fruit pizza is so Adaptable to what Fruit you have on hand

    This particular fruit pizza recipe is made with strawberries in mind, but one of the things I love about fruit pizza is how adaptable it is. It would pair perfectly with other delicious fruit if you wanted to add blueberries, raspberries or any other favorite fruit for topping. I love it with freshly-picked strawberries because it highlights them so well, but I am also a big believer in adapting what you have in your kitchen and using up produce that is on its last legs.

    Strawberry Fruit pizza can be made for a crowd or “personal” sized

    Sometimes I want a fruit pizza that I can make for a crowd. Sometimes I like fruit pizza that each of my kids get to decorate or that would be perfect for a kids birthday or family party. I have included both variations of the recipes below. We like making a giant fruit pizza as a beautiful statement for a family Sunday dinner. Sometimes I’ll shape the fruit pizza into a rectangle and decorate as the American Flag on Independence Day. The options are endless. The smaller individual fruit pizzas would be great for a special treat after family pizza night or to freeze and pull out for anytime you have a hankering for a smaller version of fruit pizza.

    Sugar Cookie DOugh Tips

    One thing about the sugar cookie dough. This dough is a little bit sticky. I like to wet my hands before working with it to shape the dough into a giant circle if you are making a large fruit pizza. You can bake it on a pizza pan or a cookie sheet. Whatever way you choose to go, please line your pan with parchment paper before baking. It will save you  in the long run and helps your cookie bake more evenly on the bottom. The sugar cookie will also spread quite a bit when baking, so be prepared. I also think this cookie tastes best a little under-baked, so don’t wait for the edges to get all brown but pull it out of the oven a little before that happens. One big fruit pizza usually takes about 20 minutes in my oven. The smaller fruit pizzas take about 13 minutes.

    As always, the hardest part of this recipe is waiting for the sugar cookie to cool before decorating it. I like to leave it on the pan for about 5-10 minutes to let it set up a little before picking up the parchment paper and moving it to the counter. I’ve found this helps set the cookie and speed up the cooling process. Once it’s cooled you are a mere minutes away from the perfect fruit pizza. Yum!

    Strawberry Fruit Pizza

    Yield: 1 fruit pizza or 7-8 individual fruit pizzas

    Time: 10 minute mix, 20-22 minute bake, 5 minute assemble 

    Ingredients:

    Cookie Base

    • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
    • ¾ cup granulated sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
    • 1 ⅓ cups flour

    Topping:

    • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
    • 2 Tablespoons strawberry jam, your favorite brand
    • 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar (more or less depending on the sweetness of your jam)
    • Strawberries, sliced to decorate the fruit pizza

    Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
    2. In a bowl with a mixing attachment or using a hand mixer, whip together the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and continue mixing for a few minutes until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and mix again.
    3. In a separate bowl (or straight into the middle of the butter mixture if you don’t like washing two bowls), add the baking soda, salt and cream of tartar. If you put those directly into the butter mixture, mix it up at this time until incorporated. If you are using a separate bowl, add the flour to the bowl and then mix together. 
    4. Add the flour mixture or flour (depending on the method you used) to the creamed butter and mix together until fully combined, about 1 minute.
    5. On a parchment lined baking sheet, mound the dough in the center of the baking sheet. Get your hands wet and press the dough into a thick circle. The more you spread the dough out, the less time it will need to bake. If you are using a pizza pan instead of mounded on a baking sheet, you will want to reduce the baking time to 10-12 minutes.
    6. Bake the cookie base for about 18-22 minutes. The bake time will depend on how spread out your dough is. Pull the cookie out of the oven just before it starts to brown on the edges (or is barely starting to brown).
    7. While the cookie base cools, whip up the topping. In a small bowl and using an electric mixer, whip the heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks are formed. Mix in a few Tablespoons of your favorite strawberry jam. Add a Tablespoon or more of powdered sugar depending on how sweet you like your cream.
    8. Slice fresh strawberries and set aside for topping the pizza.
    9. Once the cookie is cooled, decorate the fruit pizza with the whipped cream topping and strawberries on top. Enjoy!

    Variation for Individual Fruit Pizzas:

    1. Follow the recipe through step 4. 
    2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Mound two scoops of cookie dough on top of each other (see picture). Using a wet hand, lightly press down on the dough. Space cookies four to a pan.
    3. Bake at 350 degrees for 11-13 minutes. Let cool completely before topping. Enjoy!

    Recipe Notes: The individual cookies freeze well in a Ziploc bag, so you can make fruit pizza whenever you want.

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    Candy Jar Cookies

    Most recent candy is from Easter

    Do you keep a candy jar in your kitchen? I fill small bottles for every season and holiday with colorful candies. For me it is a decoration and an experiment in self control. My kids look at it as rewards for those special times I’ll let them pick something “from my jar” and my husband just likes that I’ve actually bought some candy and not just a bunch of ingredients to make things. I actually think he’s the one who gets into the jars the most frequently, especially when I put the gummy candy in…those are his favorites.

    How do I use the leftover candy?

    We really don’t eat a lot of the candy throughout the season and when it is time to change my jars, I end up with a lot of leftover candy. Instead of throwing the candy away, we like to make our favorite Candy Jar Cookies with the leftovers. These cookies can be made using any candy but I think they are best with a chocolate, caramel or peanut butter type candy. Do you still have Easter candy lying around? What about Valentines or even Christmas or dare I say Halloween? Any candy will work. You could also substitute chocolate chips or any of your favorite “chips” that you have lying around. That is one of the big perks of these cookies–use what you have so you don’t have to make an extra trip to the store.

    These cookies are chewy, soft on the inside and have crispy edges. The addition of oatmeal gives them a yummy texture and the base of the cookie is so good that you can customize these to be whatever flavor you like. They are also quick and easy to make. You can double the recipe easily if you have a lot of candy to use up or neighbor kids to feed. One of my other tips in making these is whatever candy you choose, give them a quick whirl in the blender or chop them up a bit so they are about the size of chocolate chips. This will help the candy be more uniform and you get a delicious bite in every cookie.

    These Cookies are so simple to make

    One of the best parts of these cookies, is how simple they are to make. My eight year old son made these for us the other day and they were delicious. They check all the boxes: using up food from my pantry–check! Quick and easy–check! Have your kids make them for you–check, check, check! I hope you will be enjoying one of these cookies ASAP, whether you make them or give the recipe to one of your kids to make as a homework assignment…you’ll want to check for quality control purposes of course 🙂

    Candy Jar Cookies

    Yield: About 1 1/2 – 2 dozen cookies

    Time: 15 minute mix, 10 minute bake

    Ingredients:

    • ½ cup butter (1 stick), softened
    • ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
    • ½ cup granulated sugar
    • 1 egg
    • ½  teaspoon vanilla
    • ½  teaspoon baking soda
    • ½  teaspoon baking powder
    • ½  teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup (about 5 oz) all purpose flour
    • 1 ¼ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
    • 1 cup candy (chocolate, caramel, peanut butter candies work the best, you can also use chocolate chips or a combination of favorite “chips”)

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, regular bake or 325 degrees convection bake. If your oven has a convection setting, do yourself and your cookies a favor and use it (I’ll explain why below)!
    2. Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, mix the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar into the butter and mix again until creamy.
    3. Add the eggs and mix again. Add the vanilla.
    4. In a separate bowl combine the flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add this dry mixture to the butter mixture and mix together. Alternatively, if you don’t want to dirty another bowl (I almost always do it this with a large family and lots of dishes to wash), add the baking soda, baking powder and salt to the wet mixture and then add the oats and flour. Mix to combine.
    5. Crush up your candy of choice until it’s about the size of chocolate chips. I throw the candy in my blender and give it a couple of pulses for the larger pieces of candy. If you are using chocolate chips, you don’t need to do this step. 
    6. Pour the candy into the cookie dough and mix to combine.
    7. Scoop the cookie dough into balls (about 2 Tablespoons per ball) and place a couple inches apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. 12 cookies should fit on a half sheet cookie sheet.
    8. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. If you are using the convection setting, bake at 325 degrees for 7 ½ minutes. Let cookies cool on the pan about 5 minutes before cooling. 

    Recipe Notes: If your oven has convection bake, do yourself a favor and use it when baking cookies. It will give you a crispier crust, chewier middle and better overall cookie. Typically when you bake using convection you will decrease the oven temperature by 25 degrees what most typical recipes recommend. You will also decrease the baking time a bit. However, be careful, because some ovens try to “help” you by subtracting the 25 degrees for you. For example, when I bake these cookies I have to type in 350 degrees to my convection setting and my oven will set it at 325 degrees convection. If I set my oven at 325 convection setting, my oven will set itself at 300 degrees. Double check your settings when you are first learning about convection baking.

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