Good Ol’ Sugar Cookies

It’s not that often you run across a cookie recipe that uses canola oil instead of butter for the fat, due to fears involving taste, texture, and moisture, but I found one!  This sugar cookie recipe comes by way of The Gourmet Cookbook, by Ruth Reichl, and is perfection in a sugar cookie.  I really can’t find a way to make it better.

The Gourmet Cookbook states, “This classic recipe, from Cook’s Cafe, in Brookings, South Dakota, was given to us by the late Helen Gustafson, tea maven at Alice Waters’s Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, and a culinary force in her own right.”

This recipe is simple to make, and perfect with that hot cup of tea mid-day. The cookie turns out light and crisp on the outside, but chewy on the inside, and still has that slight buttery flavor (how, I have no idea).  Using canola oil instead of butter cuts the saturated fat content and adds monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids; I also used an omega-3 enriched egg when making the cookies.  Oh, and make some for your neighbors – mine are asking for more!

Sugar Cookies

from “The Gourmet Cookbook,” by Ruth Reichl

makes about 5 1/2 dozen cookies (both times I’ve made these, I’ve cut the recipe in half.  It’s easy to do)

1 cup granulated sugar, plus additional for shaping and sprinkling cookies

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cream of tartar

4 cups all-purpose flour (you can substitute ultragrain flour, which is a white whole-wheat flour)

1.  Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 375°F.

2.  Whisk together granulated sugar and confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl.  Whisk in oil, eggs, vanilla, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar until combined.  Add flour and stir until a dough forms; dough will be dry and slightly crumbly.

3.  Form level tablespoons of dough into balls and arrange about 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.  Flatten balls with bottom of a glass dipped in granulated sugar (edges of cookies will crack), then sprinkle cookies with sugar.

4.  Bake cookies in batches until set but still pale for chewy cookies, about 8 minutes per batch, or until pale golden for crisp cookies, about 10 minutes per batch.  Transfer to racks to cool.

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15 Responses to Good Ol’ Sugar Cookies

  1. Ale says:

    Where do you buy omega 3 enriched eggs?

    • nutrition to kitchen says:

      Hi Ale! Good to hear from you. You can find omega-3 enriched eggs at stores like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. The Costco near my house even has them. The chickens are fed a diet rich in omega-3 fats, and the heart-healthy omega-3s are stored in the yolks of the eggs. Look for enriched eggs that have DHA in them (a form of omega-3 fat). Happy hunting! :)

  2. nutritioulicious says:

    These look so good, and I love that they are made with vegetable oil instead of butter! I’m always asked for healthier cookie recipes, and now I can point people in the right direction!

  3. nutrition to kitchen says:

    Thanks Jessica!

  4. Julie says:

    I love sugar cookies, ironically because they usually are not overly sweet. These look wonderful and I bet they’d even be better with a smidgen on grated lemon peel in the batter…it’s a combo I love. Thanks for sharing Tram!

  5. Phi says:

    Gotta love sugar cookies. I like the oil and omega eggs. The crispy outside and chewy texture inside is a really good description too.

  6. lo says:

    I’m a huge fan of the humble sugar cookie — as well as its cousin the snickerdoodle.

    I don’t generally use canola oil, but I’ll bet these would be perfect made with a nice, fruity olive oil. That bit of lemon zest would pull everything together nicely.

  7. Ooh, I need to try these. Tram, did you use the white whole wheat flour? Do you think it would work with half white flour and half whole wheat? I always use omega-3 eggs in my recipes. Eggland’s Best eggs are availalble in all the mainstream grocery stores in the Boston area and should be available nationwide. Thanks for the great recipe.

  8. nutrition to kitchen says:

    Hi Janice, yes, you can use the white whole wheat flour. I’ve used it plenty of times in my cookie/cake recipes and its texture is same as that of regular AP flour! If you use half white and half whole wheat, the color won’t turn out the same, and I’m not sure about the texture of the crumb. If you do try it out, let me know and take a picture! :) BTW, LOVE your site! You and Liz do an awesome job!

  9. What a goregeous photo! I am not usually a fan of sugar cookies, I like additional flavors. Julie’s idea would appeal to me, or other citrus zest. And I wonder if you have tried these with brown sugar? That might make them a bit caramel-y.

  10. Rick Bohan says:

    I used just over 3 cups of flour and that seemed to be enough. I think 4 cups would have given the cookies a “flour-y” taste.

    Good, quick recipe, though. I’d bake these again.

  11. Mmmmm…my mouth is watering already! And kids LOVE cookies, so you can’t go wrong there!

  12. Nancy says:

    The cookies turned out great and they even looked like cookies not the hockey pucks that I usually get when I try to make cookies, so it’s a winner of a recipe for me! I did use 1/2 white-wheat flour and 1/2 white and it turned out fine, just a little darker color (khaki color). Kids loved them, too! Mahalo Tram!

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