Growing up, my dad would always try to sneak little pieces of the sugar cookie dough while my mom was baking. It is a vivid childhood memory: watching his head peek around the corner, checking to see if her back was turned, and then making a dash for the bowl. She would yell and throw a towel and him, and my sister and I would giggle and hope he would share some with us while we followed him out of the kitchen.
These sugar cookies are based on my memories of my favorite sugar cookies growing up, and also on sugar cookies from Chapter 1 in 100 Cookies (different than the Pan-banging Sugar Cookies). They have crisp edges and chewy, tender centers. I am calling them “Panettone” because they have some of the flavor notes found in actual Panettone, (similar to my Panettone scones), such as orange and lemon zest and dried fruit (I prefer dried cranberries and candied orange and lemon). I also like a good tablespoon of triple sec and plenty of vanilla.
They’re a great addition to holiday cookie boxes, or a lovely winter baking day.
Ingredient Notes for Panettone Sugar Cookies:
- All-Purpose Flour: Make sure your all-purpose flour is not too high or low in protein; I like to use Gold Medal unbleached all-purpose for cookie baking. At 10.5 percent protein it is a good, moderate choice to keep baked goods tender.
- Unsalted Butter: I use unsalted butter in my recipes so I can control the salt content. This recipe uses both salt in the dough and sprinkled on top before baking, so unsalted works well here in order to keep the cookies from getting too salty.
- Candied and/or Dried Fruit: I love using King Arthur Flour’s “jammy bits” in these cookies; they have so much flavor and stay very tender. However, any dried fruit will work here: cherries, apricots, candied orange peel, candied ginger, cranberries, or pineapple are all good options. Just makes sure to chop them into very small, bite-sized pieces.
- Liqueur: I use Triple Sec, but any orange liqueur will work nicely here.
Freezing Cookie Dough:
Cookie dough can also be formed into balls and frozen for up to 2 weeks. Freeze them on a sheet pan without them touching, then move into a freezer bag. When you’re ready to bake, let the cookies sit out at room temperature until the oven preheats. The cookies will need an extra minute if baked frozen.
More Sugar Cookie Recipes:
- Chocolate Espresso Sugar Cookies
- Red Velvet Sugar Cookies (and a mint version!)
- Pan-banging Sugar Cookies
Panettone Sugar Cookies
- 2 ½ cups plus 1 tablespoon [364 g] all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup [2 sticks or 227 g] unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 ¾ cup [350 g] granulated sugar plus ½ cup [100 g] for rolling
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg plus 1 large yolk
- 1 tablespoon triple sec or other orange liqueur optional
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup [70 g] candied dried fruit or dried fruit chopped into small, bite-sized pieces (cherries, apricots, candied orange peels, etc. I love King Arthur Flour jammy bits and used those here)
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350F [180C]. Line three sheet pans with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add 1 ¾ cups [350 g] of the granulated sugar, orange and lemon zest, and salt and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg, yolk, Triple sec, if using, and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until combined, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Add the dried fruit and mix on low again, then use a rubber spatula to mix the dough again to make sure it is completely combined.
- Place the remaining ½ cup [100 g] of sugar in a medium bowl.
- For the cookies into 1 ½ oz [45 g] balls (2 tablespoons). Roll each ball in the sugar and place 8 cookies on each sheet pan.
- Bake one pan at a time, rotating halfway through baking. Bake until the sides are set and the bottoms are light golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer the sheet pan to a wire rack and let the cookies cool for 5 to 10 minutes on the pan, then remove them and let them cool completely on the wire rack. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.