Yet Another Use for Your Sheet Pan: Sugar Cookies


These simple frosted cookies are just the thing to share distantly — or hoard all for yourself.

Even during this socially restrained pandemic, there are still likely to be times when you’ll want to bake an enormous batch of cookies quickly — whether it’s for sharing with others, or for your own future bingeing. Sheet-pan sugar cookies are here for you.

The dough is pretty much like any other sugar cookie, heavy on the butter, crumbly and rich. But, instead of chilling the dough for several hours so you can laboriously roll and cut it into shapes, it’s more efficiently baked in a sheet pan, then sliced into bars. Made in a standard 13-by-17-inch sheet pan, it yields about 90 cookies, and it’s my go-to during the holiday season, when I can hand them around to dozens of friends.

During this pandemic, though, I halved the usual batch and baked it in a 9-by-13-inch pan. While I did manage to give some of the cookies to a few people — my mom, our neighbors — my husband, daughter and I have happily nibbled the rest.

To make about 45 cookies, grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, and line it with parchment if you like, leaving an overhang. (The parchment isn’t necessary but does make it easier to lift the cookies out after baking.)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Using an electric mixer, beat together 12 tablespoons/170 grams (1 ½ sticks) softened unsalted butter with ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons/125 grams granulated sugar, letting the mixture get nice and fluffy. Beat in an egg, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon ground cardamom (or more vanilla), and some finely grated lemon (or lime) zest, about half a lemon’s worth.

Now, add ½ teaspoon fine sea salt and ½ teaspoon baking powder, beating well. Then finally, add 2 cups/255 grams all-purpose flour, beating just until the mixture is combined.

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