Erin McDowell, author of the cookbook The Fearless Baker, shared this exclusive recipe for her Marbled Sugar Cookies with us! These cookies are not only beautiful and delicious, but fun and easy to make. For more recipes to help conquer your baking fears, check out Erin’s new book.
While I have about a million favorite cookie recipes I like to whip out around the holiday season, this year I’m most excited about my Marbled Sugar Cookies. I took a base sugar cookie dough I have been using for years, and tweaked five ways to create a total of six flavors you can mix and match. The dough itself is so simple + quick to make, plus it’s easy to work with and holds its shape well even with elaborate cutters! But best of all, the dough tastes good and the additional ingredients make it taste even better. They even add gorgeous, all-natural colors which add to the cool marbling effect. These cookies are so pretty, they don’t even need icing!
- 1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup (198 g) granulated sugar
- 1 large (57 g) egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3¼ cups (392 g) all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons (12 g) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (2 g) fine sea salt
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 4-5 minutes.
- Add the egg and mix well to combine, 1-2 minutes more. Scrape down the bowl well, and beat in the vanilla.
- Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix to combine.
- Divide the dough into two pieces and form into disks about 1 inch thick. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, 45 minutes-1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- You’ll need two kinds of dough to create the marbling effect (see variations, below). Take two colors of dough and break them up into random-size pieces, and smash them together. Knead the dough a few times to marble the two together—don’t over-knead! Keeping the marbling on a larger scale will make it easier to maintain the look when you roll and reroll the dough.
- Roll out the dough on a piece of parchment paper. Every few rolls, place another piece of parchment paper on top and use it to flip the dough over, then continue rolling. Repeat until the dough is about ¼ inch thick.
- Cut out the prettiest pieces of the dough with your favorite cookie cutter. Transfer to a baking sheet—the cookies won’t spread much and can be kept pretty close together.
- Re-knead the dough and form it into a disk and repeat the rolling process. You can do this as many times as it takes to get all the cookie dough used up.
- Bake the cookies until they are lightly golden around the edges, 9-11 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through baking. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
Chocolate: Reduce flour to 2¾ cups (331 g) and add ½ cup (43 g) cocoa powder.
Peanut Butter: Reduce the sugar to 2/3 cup (132 g) and add 1/3 cup (71 g) dark brown sugar with it. Reduce flour to 3 cups (361 g) and add ½ cup (90 g) peanut butter powder (Peanut butter powder is available in health food stores and online.)
Raspberry: Pulse two (1.3 ounce) packages freeze-dried raspberries (See Notes) in a food processor until they form a fine powder. Reduce flour to 3 cups (361 g) and add the powdered raspberry mixture with it (Freeze-dried raspberries are available in the health-food section of most grocery stores and are often sold with nuts and dried fruit.)
Blueberry: Pulse two (1.3 ounce) packages freeze-dried blueberries (See Notes) in a food processor until they form a fine powder. Reduce flour to 3 cups (361 g) and add the powdered blueberry mixture with it. (Freeze-dried blueberries are available in the health-food section of most grocery stores and are often sold with nuts and dried fruit.)
Pistachio: Pulse 2 cups (240 g) Sicilian pistachios in a food processor until they form a fine powder (See Notes). Reduce flour to 2½ cups (301 g) and add the pistachio mixture with it. (Regular pistachios can be substituted in equal amount for Sicilian pistachios, but they are a particularly vibrant green color, so subbing won’t produce the natural green hue in the dough.)