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A classic soft and chewy vanilla sugar cookie, with creme fraiche and a creamy vanilla bean glaze.
You know when you want a plain old-fashioned cookie to dunk in your tea or just to enjoy as a sweet little treat?
These soft vanilla sugar cookies cookies are here for you.
They’re similar in texture to other classic chewy sugar cookies with icing.
The best soft sugar cookie recipe
Think of those iconic Black and White cookies and old fashioned sour cream cookies.
In other words, they’re lightly sweet, buttery and vanilla-scented, with a soft, cake-like crumb.
And — bonus point:
The dough is super easy to make; no rolling, cutting or otherwise fussing needed.
Making these cookies is a matter of scoop, drop and bake.
Baking with creme fraiche
It may sound like a fancy-pants ingredient (and possibly French-tailored, at that), but crème fraiche is a really pure and simple thing involving just heavy cream and lactic culture.
Using it in a sugar cookie recipe guarantees a nice tender dough, similar to sour cream cookies.
Crème fraiche has more butterfat than regular sour cream and doesn’t contain added stabilizers (which sour cream often does).
In comparison to sour cream, crème fraiche tastes richer and sweeter.
I keep crème fraiche in my fridge pretty much always, for baking and as a dessert topping.
A tablespoon or two of crème fraiche stirred into a pan sauce adds body and flavor, and it doesn’t curdle like sour cream does when heated.
Crème fraiche keeps for weeks kept in the coldest part of the refrigerator.
Sugar Cookie Icing
The tangy glaze on top of these cookies has more crème fraiche, along with vanilla bean seeds to double-up on the vanilla flavor.
After glazing, you can leave them plain or decorate with confetti sprinkles (I used pretty pastel star sprinkles) or pastel colored sanding sugar.
The cookies are easy to eat on repeat (not that I encourage that – wink).
They tend to stale quicker if left uncovered, so keep them soft and fresh for a few days in a ziptop plastic bag or glass storage container.
More of my simple, sweet cookie recipes
- Rosemary Lemon Cornmeal Cookies
- Italian Pine Nut Biscotti
- Double Chocolate Biscotti
- Rustic Almond Apricot Jam Cookies
Soft Crème Fraiche Vanilla Sugar Cookies
- 2 cups (240 g) all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 8 tablespoons (113 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup (240 g) sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 ounces (125 g) creme fraiche or sour cream
- Colorful sprinkles, optional
- 1 1/2 cups (180 g) confectioners’ sugar
- 3 tablespoons (45 g) creme fraiche or sour cream
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) whole milk or buttermilk
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split
- Preheat the oven to 350 (175C) degrees with the rack in the center of the oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Whisk the flour, salt and baking powder together in a medium bowl.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute at low speed. Raise the speed to medium-high and add the sugar. Beat until light, fluffy and lighter in color, 3-4 minutes.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla. Add half the creme fraiche and half the flour mixture. Stir on low speed until just mixed before adding the remaining creme fraiche and flour.
- Scoop 2 tablespoon-sized portions of dough onto the baking sheets, spaced 2 inches apart (8 or 9 per sheet).
- Bake one sheet at a time for 18 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn golden. Cool on a rack 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely.
- Mix the sugar, creme fraiche, milk and sea salt in a bowl until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, dribble in a tiny bit more milk. Scrape the vanilla bean with the back of a small knife, add to the bowl and mix it in.
- Spread the glaze over the tops of the cooked cookies. Top with sprinkles, if you like.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- The dough can mixed right before baking, or make one day ahead and refrigerate.
- My favorite cookie scoop makes perfect 2-tablespoon portions of dough.