Reader’s Recipes: Swedish Sugar Cookies ~ these pretty Scandinavian sugar cookies are a deliciously simple cookie that you can decorate with your own homemade colored sugar!
Swedish sugar cookies
Hi all — welcome to my Reader’s Recipes series of holiday cookies. Thanks to all of you who’ve sent in recipes for me to try,
This recipe for Swedish Sugar Cookies was sent in by Jane, who lives in Nipomo, California. Jane says it was given to her by her husband’s Norwegian aunt and she has been making the cookie for almost 50 years! Now that’s a cookie with a proven track record 😉 These cookies are utterly simple, but absolutely divine. Jane told me that “They are a bit crunchy on the edges but softer in the middle. It is by far one of my top five cookie recipes and I bake a LOT of different cookies, cookies are kind of my thing!” She doesn’t lie, people, this cookie is a real winner. I was leery of it at first because of how plain the recipe is, but I’m so glad I tried them. Promise me you will too!
The first thing I thought of when I tasted these Swedish sugar cookies was that they’re like the ‘real deal’ version of slice and bake sugar cookies from the supermarket refrigerator aisle. I admit I’ve been guilty of leaning on those too many times when my kids begged to bake during busy holiday seasons. If I’d only taken a few more minutes to make a simple cookie like this with them, the payoff is much better flavor and texture, and definitely more delicious memories!
Surprisingly, sugar cookies aren’t always that easy to nail. I’ve had so many that were too soft, too crisp, or too ‘eggy’ tasting. This one is just perfect, the only change I made was to double the vanilla because I’m a fanatic about my vanilla. These just have an old fashioned holiday taste, that’s the best way I can describe them. The crisp outer edge and the soft center is fantastic.
Jane’s recipe says to roll the balls of dough in sugar before baking. The plain sugar was wonderful, but I decided to go with colored sugar for a more festive feel. You can purchase colored sugar or you can easily color it yourself at home with a drop or two of food coloring, just mix it up with a spoon. You can see in the photos I used regular sugar and some larger crystal sugar in the raw for a variety of textures and sparkles. I have a post all about it here.
When you make your own colored sugar you can customize it to whatever holiday you’re celebrating, and your kids can help you make it.
Jane was quite insistent that I try this recipe in her message to me, and I’m glad she was so persuasive because I might have passed them over and missed a gem of a cookie.
notes for Swedish sugar cookies
- I used my trusty 1 inch cookie scoop and slightly rounded the dough. My cookies cooked in 8 minutes. I got about 2 dozen cookies.
- Cookies rolled in sugar before baking can lose some sparkle as they expand and bake. You can sprinkle on extra sugar halfway through the baking time, or sprinkle more on just as they come out of the oven.
My family will be enjoying your Swedish Sugar Cookies this year Jane, thank you!
More Swedish recipes
- Traditional Swedish Pepparkakor Recipe
- Cardamom Walnut Crescent Cookies
- Swedish Cardamom Buns (kardemummabullar)
- Swedish Cocktail Meatballs
Reader’s Recipes: Swedish Sugar Cookies
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup butter, unsalted, at room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla, I used 2 teaspoons of vanilla paste
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar, I used baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 cups flour, measure with the fluff and scoop method
- Set oven to 350F
- Cream the butter, sugar, vanilla and egg well.
- Mix the dry ingredients and combine with the sugar mixture.
- Form into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and roll in sugar.
- Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake until they just start to brown around the edges, about 10 minutes.
Questions and Reviews
I made this last year, and they were beautiful and tasty. This year I have tried 3 attempts and each time they spread. I am very careful to make the butter is room temperature. Not sure what I’m doing wrong.
Not sure either, but you might try refrigerating the balls for 15 minutes before baking, and make sure you use a cool cookie sheet, not one that has just come out of the oven from the last batch.
Why did you use baking powder in place of cream of tartar? Why do you use vanilla paste instead of vanilla? I’m trying to understand the underlying reasons so I know how to apply them in other recipes. I’m going to make this next week for a luncheon at work. Thank you!
Baking powder is just the more common leavener, and I use vanilla paste because it has a better flavor, in my opinion.
I appreciate that the yield of the recipe is smaller than the usual 3-4 dozen. Living with just one other person, that cookie jar can be such temptation when it holds a huge batch. I also like the sugar colors you chose! Just so pretty!
I agree with the prettiness of the colors, but am not quite sure what makes these cookies Swedish?
My step Dad was both Swedish and Norwegian and every Christmas his parents made these. Everything we had on Christmas Eve was from their mother land. So thankful to find this recipe after so many years. Happy Happy Happy?