Chewy sugar cookies made with powdered sugar and filled with sprinkles. A pretty and delicious dessert to make for the holidays or anytime of the year!
Sugar Cookies Made with Powdered Sugar
What does powdered sugar do to cookies? Why add it?
Simply put, it helps to yield a soft and tender texture.
Store-bought confectioners’ sugar usually contains a small amount of cornstarch to prevent it from clumping. Cornstarch is oftentimes used in baking to produce a lighter texture.
All-purpose flour is “harder” or “heavier” and contains gluten while powdered sugar is light, delicate, and gluten free.
Essentially what we’re doing in this recipe is replacing some of the flour with powdered sugar. With less gluten in the baked good, it’s more likely to turn out with a softer, fluffier, and tender texture.
So why did these cookies still turn out chewy?
Adding cornstarch or powdered sugar to cookies does not guarantee that they’ll be pillowy soft, it just means that they’ll be softer and more tender than those without.
That is how powdered sugar affects cookies and why it is used.
No Chill Sugar Cookies
There isn’t much baking soda or baking powder in this recipe, just ½ teaspoon of each so there is no refrigeration needed.
They spread out just enough to yield that chewy texture but not so much to the point that they touch or “melt” into each other during baking. I promise that when you pull them out of the oven you won’t end up with one giant cookie.
That being said, it is still important to space them evenly apart on the baking sheet.
The Ingredients You’ll Need:
These are all simple baking ingredients that you most likely already have on hand.
- All-purpose flour
- Powdered sugar, also known as confectioners’ sugar
- Baking soda and baking powder
- Vanilla extract and salt, for flavor and to enhance flavor
- Salted butter (softened to room temperature), add an extra ½ teaspoon of salt if using unsalted
- Granulated sugar, for the dough and for rolling the dough in
- An egg
- Sprinkles, of course!
There is no cream of tartar or shortening in this recipe.
Chewy Sugar Cookies with Sprinkles
For the cookies that you see in these pictures I used rainbow sprinkles but feel free to use whatever you have on hand.
You can use nonpareils, halloween or christmas themed sprinkles, or roll the dough balls in sugar sprinkles instead of sugar before placing them on the baking sheet.
How to make Chewy Powdered Sugar Cookies
This is an easy and straightforward recipe but I’d just like to go through the steps to make sure that you get the exact same amazing results that I did.
Step 1. Preheat the oven.
Step 2. Line your baking sheet/s with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. I don’t recommend baking the cookies directly on the sheet. The bottoms may become too brown and or crisp.
Step 3. In a large bowl mix together most of the dry ingredients: flour, powdered sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mixing these dry ingredients in a separate bowl before adding them to the wet ingredients ensures that the powdered sugar and leaveners are evenly dispersed throughout the dough and it also prevents there being any clumps because confectioner’s sugar is easily clumped.
Step 4. In another large bowl cream together the butter and granulated sugar. What does “cream” mean? It simply means to beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy and light yellow in color. The mixture should be doubled or almost doubled in size and most of the sugar granules should be dissolved. This took me about 2 minutes by hand so it should take about 1 minute if you’re using a mixer. Why cream them? To incorporate air into the dough so that the cookies aren’t too dense. It truly does make a difference!
Step 5. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
Step 6. Add the flour mixture and slowly mix until fully incorporated, then fold in the sprinkles.
Step 7. Place 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar in a small plate or bowl. I know that this isn’t much sugar for rolling, but any more would make the cookies too sweet.
Step 8. Shape the dough into 2-tablespoon sized balls. What I like to do is scoop ¼ cup sized pieces of dough then separate them in half and roll each half into a ball. ¼ cup = 4 tablespoons and 4 tablespoons divided by 2 is 2 tablespoons. I hope this method is easier for those of you who don’t have the right sized cookie scoop. Also, the dough is soft and not sticky at all so it forms easily.
Step 9. Lightly coat them in sugar. Just a light coating! There is sugar and powdered sugar in the dough so we don’t want them to be too sweet.
Step 10. Place them on the baking sheet, spaced evenly apart.
Step 11. Bake for 9 – 10 minutes until the edges are set.
How to know when the cookies are done baking:
I did 3 test batches. I baked for 11, 10, and 9 minutes.
11 minutes: These cookies were light brown around the edges, soft in the center, and looked done. But when they fully cooled they were really crisp and extremely chewy and a bit too hard.
10 minutes: These cookies were clearly set around the edges and were chewy all throughout after cooling; very enjoyable. If you prefer a lot of chew, you’ll love these.
9 minutes: These cookies were the best! (In my opinion) They were just set around the very edges and looked really raw in the center but firmed up as they cooled and were the perfect texture! Soft and just slightly gooey in the very center, delightfully chewy everywhere else and wonderfully crisp around the edges.
Step 12. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
How to store Powdered Sugar Cookies
Step 13. Immediately store fully cooled cookies in an airtight container to prevent them from drying out. This step is very important because unfortunately, these cookies do dry out quicker than average.
I recommend either storing them with a slice of plain white sandwich bread or lining the bottom of your container with a damp paper towel. They will absorb the moisture and stay soft.
Freezing, Thawing, & Reheating
They freeze very well! Just toss them in a freezer bag with as much air removed as possible and freeze. My cookies did not stick together and they reheated very easily and quickly in the microwave; 10 – 15 seconds per side for 1 cookie.
You can also thaw them at room temperature by placing them on large trays or plates, spaced apart, in a single layer.
Chewy Powdered Sugar Cookies
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- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup sprinkles
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, for rolling
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat and set aside.
- In a large bowl mix together the flour, powdered sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In another large bowl cream together the butter and granulated sugar until fluffy and most of the sugar granules have dissolved (about 2 minutes by hand).
- Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
- Add the flour mixture and slowly mix until the dough has formed and no streaks of flour remain.
- Fold in the sprinkles.
- Place 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar in a small plate or bowl.
- Shape dough into 2-tablespoon sized balls, lightly coat them in sugar, and then place them on the baking sheet spaced evenly apart (12 cookies per sheet).
- Bake for 9 – 10 minutes until the edges are set. *Cookies will look raw but rapidly sink, firm up, and continue “baking” as they cool on the sheet.
- Cool on sheet 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Immediately store fully cooled cookies in an airtight container to prevent them from drying out.
• Do not pack the flour or powdered sugar into the measuring cup! Spoon and level.
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