The Lower-Sugar Sugar Cookie

I don't often crave sugar cookies. Because chocolate chips. But I love Joy the Baker's dessert ideas, so I've had her Vanilla Bean Confetti Cookies dog-eared for ages — though I prefer mildly sweet treats, and holy moly are her treats SWEET! For this reason, I tend to do a few rounds of recipe testing for most desserts, pushing the boundaries of how much I can cut down on sugar, and sometimes where I can swap out some butter or shortening for a healthier fat. How much can I switch out before it's a noticeable change in texture and taste? Baking like this is a delicious science experiment, and though it's a time-consuming and sometimes expensive process, I really enjoy converting a brilliant base recipe into something just a little more 'me.' I'm also a sucker for seasonal baking projects and color schemes...hence the neon green sprinkles, to welcome spring's arrival. 

After three rounds of testing, I got what may be the most addictive sugar cookie I've ever eaten. Just enough sweetness, tons of vanilla bean flavor, and a delicate texture and crumble.

Adapted from Homemade Decadence
Ingredients

1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp small-grain or flaked salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (just set it out about two hours before using)
3 Tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 cup cane sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla paste (my obsession) or just regular vanilla extract works too
1 large vanilla bean, sliced length-wise and scraped
1 tsp lemon zest (optional)
1/4 C sprinkles (Wilton Jimmies are the best!)

Directions

1. Don't preheat your oven yet, because the dough needs to chill for about two hours. I realize most folks don't tell you what NOT to do as the first step in a recipe, but I've always wished cookbooks would tell me this stuff right off the bat so I can account for the extra time in the process!

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, coconut oil, and sugar at medium speed for about 2-3 minutes or until fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla paste, scraped vanilla bean and lemon zest (if using). Mix until thoroughly combined.

3. In a separate bowl, sift together the first five ingredients. 

4. With the mixer on low, slowly combine the dry ingredients with the wet. Do not over-mix, you should have a very dense dough.

5. Put your sprinkles into a bowl. Now roll 1 1/2 Tablespoons of dough into balls and lightly dip them into the sprinkles. Slightly flatten them so the sprinkles stick, then place each cookie onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Allow about two inches of space in between — they spread! Place cookie sheets into refrigerator for about two hours, but let me be honest and confess I've cheated before and only done one hour...they're still amazing, but if you can wait the full two hours, it's better.

6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for about 8-10 minutes. This recipe makes between 14 and 16 cookies.