Cracked Sugar Cookies

My friend Jenny, who gave me this recipe, calls these crack sugar cookies because they are dangerously addictive. One bite and you will know why. They are the perfect amount of sweet, salty and tangy that makes you reach for one after another after another. I honestly won't allow myself to make them unless I have an event to bring them to because if I'm left alone with these cookies for more than an hour you will find me on the couch with an empty cookie jar, covered with crumbs and mindlessly watching old episodes of Downton Abbey. They are that dangerous. And that good. 

What sets these cookies apart from regular sugar cookies is the cream of tartar in the dough. It gives them a "tang" that is wonderful and, with the baking soda, gives them the pretty cracked tops. The texture of the cookies is dense and buttery, but not crumbly like shortbread. I know there are vegetable shortening haters, but in cookies I find there is really no substitute for the softness/chewiness that it adds. You could use all butter if it is the lesser of the two evils for you but know that your cookies will likely be harder. Make sure you don't skip the step of rolling the cookies in sugar before baking. It helps make the outside crispy and the finished cookie look beautiful. That is, if you even see them before they all get inhaled by you/your family. 

Cracked Sugar Cookies

Heat Oven To 350 Published 09/16/2013
Cracked Sugar Cookies


  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together shortening, butter and both sugars until fluffy. Add egg and beat until incorporated. Add flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and vanilla and beat until combined. The dough will be stiff.
  2. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and roll in granulated sugar. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes, or until cookies are just starting to brown.
  3. Let cookies cool on cookie sheet five minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Yield: 2 1/2 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook time: 30 min
Recipe Source: My dear friend and gifted baker, Jenny.

9 Click For Comments:

Those do look like crack! I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but I loves me some cookies. :D

You don't have to convince me - I'm always game for new cookie recipes and with your stamp of approval, this is going on my to-do list! And I agree - sometimes shortening is necessary :)

This cookie recipe is my next one to make. They look terrific.

I usually don't like sugar cookies, but the texture of those look really good. They look similar to my favorite chewy ginger cookies. This makes me sad I'm not eating sugar or flour right now, but I'm definitely bookmarking these for a holiday treat!

Yum! I love sugar cookies, these are different than any other I've seen! I like how "crack" has a double meaning here.

could cut before putting chocolate on top... ????

Sure, you could do that if you wanted.

I just made these and the dough taste delicious, but the cookies are very flat when they come out of the oven. Any pointers?

Sometimes different people measure flour differently. You could try adding a couple tablespoons more flour or refrigerate the dough for an hour or two before baking.

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