I love desserts that you can whip up on short notice with only a handful of ingredients. Most drop cookies fall into this category, but this recipe for sugar cookies is even easier than most. These sugar cookies can be made completely by hand, with no special mixing equipment. This is possible because the cookies are made with vegetable oil instead of butter, which would require creaming to get the best texture from the cookies. Vegetable oil is hygroscopic, meaning that it absorbs moisture from the air. In cakes, this tends to result in a moister recipe that stays fresh longer than an all-butter cake might. In this cookie recipe, it results in cookies that are perfectly chewy in the center and have a very good shelf life.
The cookies have a great vanilla flavor and the clean sweetness of a good sugar cookie. A neutral vegetable oil, such as canola oil, will not impart any flavor to the cookies themselves. The cookies are a bit larger than average, which makes them very satisfying to eat. When they come out of the oven, they have a crisp outer edge and an addictively chewy center. Be sure not to overbake them or you’ll lose a little of that chewiness. That said, the cookies will soften a bit when stored in an airtight container, even if they spend an extra minute in the oven.
Although the ingredient list is not that traditional, the cookies have a very classic sugar cookie flavor to them and are delicious when served with coffee or milk. I can just about guarantee that they’ll be a hit with kids and adults alike. Since they use vegetable oil the cookies are completely dairy-free, so they’re a good choice for those with dietary restrictions, as well.
The Best No-Mixer Sugar Cookies
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, vegetable oil, egg and vanilla extract. Add in 1/2 cup of flour, along with baking powder and salt, and mix until well-incorporated. Add in remaining flour and stir until a thick dough forms and all ingredients have been incorporated.
Shape into 1 1/2-inch balls and arrange on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 10-13 minutes, until cookies are set around the outside, but still pale, and the bottoms are lightly browned.
Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5-7 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 18 cookies.