Nothing beats sugar cookies!
Although they look simple, sugar cookies are the best possible goodies you can make. They require minimum ingredients, they are easy to make and bake in only 20 minutes total.
Sugar cookies always bring up good memories. They are made for many occasions, from holidays to family gatherings, and there is something special about their simplicity.
What gives sugar cookies their traditional flavor? Many of you would say it is vanilla extract, but I will say you are wrong. Although the vanilla gives a sweet and delicate scent that enriches the cookie’s final taste, making the perfect sugar cookies without vanilla is possible.
The key ingredient to amazing sugar cookies is butter. The butter is a star of any baked goods, along with sugar. When these two combine, you will get something not only fragrant but also seriously delicious.
Do Sugar Cookies Need Vanilla?
If you do not have vanilla and it bothers you to go outside and buy some, just skip it. It will not really impact the final taste, and you will realize the butter is the key.
The vanilla masks all the other flavors, and once you make the cookies without it, you will realize what you’ve been missing out on!
Sugar cookies without vanilla are as just as good as those with vanilla, if not even better. If you make the cookies without vanilla, you will get old-fashioned cookies like our grandmothers used to make.
What Is a Good Substitute for Vanilla in Cookies?
I experimented with this, and I ended up making these with lemon zest. I just felt like some fragrant lemon zest would be perfect, and I was completely right.
You can also use cinnamon or even a pinch of nutmeg. Of course, these are just suggestions and you do not have to add anything.
Another idea is to serve cookies dusted with powdered sugar, but again, that is just an option and not a mandatory step.
If you would like more suggestions, I highly recommend checking out our article: The Best Substitutes For Vanilla Extract In Cookies
How Do You Make Sugar Cookies Without Vanilla?
A good cookie base starts with softened butter. Make sure you leave the butter on the kitchen counter before use. Only softened butter will beat perfectly with sugar and give you an amazing base.
Once you have the fluffy butter, you can add egg and lemon zest if using. After beating the egg, it is time to add the dry ingredients.
Make sure you completely fold in the dry ingredients. You are doing this to ensure that the dough is soft, smooth and that there are no traces of the flour.
With any buttery dough, you will have to chill this one too. You can chill the dough for 1 hour in a fridge OR shape the cookie balls with wet and clean hands and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Both methods are tested and both work perfectly.
Once the dough is chilled you will have to flatten cookies. Press the cookie balls with a spatula, fingers or a back of the spoon. Make sure the cookies are around ¼-inch thick.
Sprinkle the cookies with granulated sugar, white or brown, and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. That is it!
Allow the sugar cookies to cool before serving with a glass of milk or a cup of tea.
Tips for Shaping Sugar Cookies
You can use the dough and make cut-out cookies. Divide the dough into two equal parts and wrap in a plastic foil. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes before rolling out.
To avoid packing too much of the flour into the cookies, it is best to roll the cookies between two pieces of parchment paper.
Use the desired cookie cutter and cut out the cookies. Adjust the baking time and bake the cookies until they have golden edges.
If you plan to add icing on top of the cookies, make sure they are completely cool otherwise the heat from the cookies may ruin your icing.
How to Make Sugar Cookies Without Vanilla
Gather your ingredients.
In a bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy.
Whisk in the egg and add lemon zest at this point if using.
Fold in the flour and baking soda.
Stir well to combine.
Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Shape the dough into 12 balls and arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Make sure you leave 2-inches space among the balls. Press each ball to flatten and sprinkle with some extra granulated sugar.
Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack before serving.
- ½ cup butter, softened
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- Lemon zest, optional
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- In a bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy.
- Whisk in the egg and add lemon zest at this point if using.
- Fold in the flour and baking soda.
- Stir well to combine.
- Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Shape the dough into 12 balls and arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Make sure you leave 2-inches space among the balls. Press each ball to flatten and sprinkle with some extra granulated sugar.
- Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack before serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 179Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 120mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 0gSugar: 13gProtein: 2g