This small batch sugar cookies recipe makes about 25 thin, sweet, buttery cookies, which was enough to cure our sweet tooth for a few days. These super crispy sugar wafer cookies are egg free, and remind me of a cross between Pepperidge Farm Pirouettes (flavor) and Bordeaux (crunch-factor). They are super thin, uber crunchy, very buttery and these baking soda cookies are a breeze to make with everyday pantry ingredients. I top my thin cookies with a pecan half that toast with the cookies as they bake. It’s optional, but so good!
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These thin, crispy cookies were inspired by my grandmother, Myne, who used to make a version of these sugar wafer cookies for Christmas every year. They were thin (though not as thin as these), very crispy and always topped with a pecan. They were my one of my favorites. However, they were made with Imperial margarine — back in the days when everyone thought margarine was healthier for you than butter. I’ve used her recipe but swapped the margarine for the butter and increased a few other values to arrive at these small batch sugar cookies, which are distinctly buttery, wafer thin and super crunchy — even a few days after baking. In other words, they’re cookie nirvana.
Ingredients For Baking Soda Cookies
You only need 7 ingredients (6 if you skip the pecans — but don’t) and a hand mixer for these easy to make small batch sugar cookies.
- Baking Soda
- White Vinegar
- Butter (softened to room temperature)
- Whole Pecans
- Whisk together the sugar, flour, baking soda and salt.
- Cut the room temp butter into chunks and add to the dry ingredients.
- Add the vinegar — the dry ingredients will fizz lightly because of the reaction between the baking soda and vinegar (remember those elementary school volcanoes?)
- With the hand mixer, beat the butter into the dry ingredients until the dough comes together and is well blended.
- Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls (I use a 2-teaspoon cookie scoop for uniformity) set at least 3 inches apart on a parchment or silpat lined sheet pan.
In homage to my grandmother’s tradition, I like to garnish these thin cookies with a whole pecan. While the baking soda cookie bakes, the pecan is gently toasted and takes on a crunchy maple-y flavor that’s irresistible. If you don’t have pecans (or heaven forbid, don’t like them — who ARE you?), you could substitute a walnut, blanched almond, a few pistachios or even some chocolate chips or M&Ms.
Place your garnish on top of the round of dough and gently press it into the wafer cookie. Then bake. The oven temperature is at 300°, lower than the standard 350°-375°, allowing the cookies to spread without browning too quickly. The 12-15 minutes it takes to bake the cookies, also happens to be the perfect amount of toasting time for whole pecans. Just sayin’.
How to know when they’re done…
The sugary, buttery wafer cookies are done when the edges start to turn golden brown and usually takes about 15 minutes, depending on your oven. Let them rest on the cookie sheet for a few minutes to firm up before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
The allure of these crunchy treats lies in their simplicity. Compared to their embellished, sprinkled and doodadd-ed counterparts, these simple baking soda wafer cookies are practically sparse. No unicorn colors here. But the pure flavor, crackling snap and melt in your mouth crumb make these baking soda cookies one of a kind. Perfect with a glass of cold milk or a cup of hot coffee or tea. Though this recipe makes a relatively small batch, it can easily be doubled to feed more.
And look at how thin these cookies are… Seriously. Scott’s first reaction was “Wow! I can taste the butter.” Then, “They’re so thin and light,” followed by “I think I’ll have another…”
More easy cookie recipes:
- Soft n’ Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies
- Oatmeal Chews
- Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles
- Salty n’ Sweet Ritz Fluffernutter Cookies
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar (can use apple cider vinegar)
- ½ cup unsalted butter (one stick) at room temperature
- 25 whole pecans optional
- Preheat the oven to 300°. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat and set aside.
- Add the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt to a large bowl and whisk together.
- Cut the butter into 1 tablespoon pieces and add to the flour mixture. Add the vinegar (it will start to fizz).
- Use a hand mixer to blend the butter and vinegar evenly into the dry ingredients until a crumbly dough forms. Use a 1 teaspoon measure to drop rounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheet at least 3 inches apart (I use a mini cookie scoop for uniform cookies)– the cookies will spread out in the oven.
- Place a whole pecan in the center of each round of dough and gently press into the surface. Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are just slightly golden.
- Let the cookies cool for 2-3 minutes on the sheet pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container, in a single layer, separating each layer with a piece of parchment paper.
Mary Ann says
This past Christmas I was hankering for good old fashioned crisp sugar cookies, but couldn’t find the time to refrigerate a batch in advance. Neither did I have time for rolling and cutting and decorating. So I searched for a simple sugar cookie and found this one!
FIVE STARS all around! I love that the simple basic ingredients can be combined in one bowl. I love that I can clean up in less time than it takes to bake. I love the simplicity of just dropping them in balls on the sheet and pressing the pecan halves on top. And of course best of all is their lovely crispy flavor! My husband loves these, too.
These are simplistically elegant, delicious and and sure to WOW!
THANK YOU thank you thank you ! this was my Grandmothers secret -Ha!- recipe ! (1920-2006) I use to make the a lot back in 1990s- and everyone loved them (she taught me to use elevated simple Cooling Racks & very thin high grade metal spatula to remove from hot stainless steel backing pan) sometimes, 1st cooked batch not as ‘good’ as 2nd or 3rd batch/ i cook small batch at a time) that’s my experience. Everyone loved them when i made them; melt in the mouth! — i appreciate you posting this- NO bought or other typical homemade cookie from other people in last 20+ yrs ever never compares to these! (my Grandma & I always used REAL SWEET CREAM BUTTER) thank you kindly- Nettie- January 2023
Mary Ann says
You’re very welcome, Nettie Sue. I don’t often write reviews as I seem to be always tight on time, but I could not make these a second time without letting you and others know what a great recipe it is. I agree 100% there is NO cookie, store bought or otherwise, that compares.
The first time I made these cookies, I followed directions exactly. The second time, I “cheated” by using my Kitchen Aid mixer on low and with the pastry blender attachment instead of mixing by hand. But I had a feeling the pastry blender would work b/c the consistency of the dough reminds me of how pie dough works — that is to say, kind of crumbly-looking till blended. (Probably because pie dough also contains no egg.) Anyhow, just wanted you to know the second batch came out as perfect as the first batch using the pastry attachment on my Kitchen Aid.
I think the next time I make them, I am going to try a very lightly greased but heavy-weight baking sheet w/ no parchment paper. I want to see if the direct heat of the metal will make the cookies move from “crispy” to “crunchy.” Don’t get me wrong — they are perfect as you’ve posted — but I just love a hard cookie.
It makes perfect sense that this was your grandmother’s recipe. (I can practically see her in my mind’s eye.) Thank you so much for sharing about her, preserving her recipe, and sharing with others.
Nettie Sue says
thank you again! i see others comment now!
exactly this is an “Old Recipe”
and better than any other cookies i’ve ever had since! bought or made by others
(my Grandma Ellen 1920-2006)
I’m thinking we
backed @250- to- 275 deg -not 300 (?)
i’m going to test 250-300 deg on a few batches
& still use the baking paper &
then try without baking paper
(my Grandmas & mine did not get golden around the edges)
and yes were alway SUPER THIN!
Melt in your mouth!
(everyone who ate mine back in 1990s were bewildered how they tasted amazing & how i got them Super Thin)
My Grandma didn’t really give out her amazing cooking secrets on any of the amazing things she cooked and baked- You had to get in the kitchen with her: watch; listen; help her and ask questions! and stay out of her way! Ha!
(she also had 2 gas ovens & then had Real Convection Oven) she said were the best (not all ovens are the same; with these cookies – do trail-runs with small batches until you get what you like !!! my best suggestion (never over cook them unless you like that) she used REAL Creamed butter & lined high grade metal pans with BUTTER ! while they baked (she never used *fake butter or cheap butter ever; she grew up on farm in Illinois) and that will make a difference with the final taste of these cookies – Enjoy best ever thin cookies !!!!!!!!!!!
Lori Griffey says
Thank you for sharing this cookie recipe. My Grandma used to make sugar cookies, but I never got her recipe. The older I got the more obsessed I became in finding the closest thing to it. I’ve tried so many different recipes to no avail. The other night I searched for delicate, crisp sugar cookie recipes…. and I found yours… made it the next morning, it is amazing! Grandma always sprinkled finely chopped pecans on the top or the tiny colored balls for the kiddos to enjoy. I did the same with mine, and added a smidge of vanilla & almond extracts. PERFECT! They taste like Grandma’s! My daughter loves them too. I’ve finally found it, thanks so very much!!
Janice P Robinson says
It took baking one set of cookies to figure out the right amount of dough to use for each cookie, and to figure out that it was better and easier to use my hands to pat the dough together, instead of trying to use a teaspoon. Some of the cookies in my first set were too small. Final result, though—-delicious!
Ramona Invidiato says
These are perfect cookies and the recipe works equally well doubled.
rosalie stener says
I love sugar cookies of every kind. This is the simplest and most delicate one I have ever made. Absolutely wonderful. The second time around making it…..I added a “little” almond extract” for my Scandinavian ancestry with a slivered almond on top. Thankyou!
Lisa Lotts says
I’m so glad you liked them Rosalie!
Rosalie Stener says
Rosalie, I did the same thing with my Scandinavian ancestry. It is the most delicate buttery cookie I have ever made. I am also a Rosalie……
The cookies are tasty but they did not spread to the thin waffle as yours… wonder why?
This pecan cookies looking such a treat to taste buds. I am a fan of pecan and love eating them. Thanks for this wonderful recipe.
Christian Guzman says
Those look so good! Makes you just want to reach out and grab one. I can’t wait to try it.
This recipe made the perfect amount! It wasn’t too many for my family, but enough that we could enjoy them. I made some without the pecans since my boys don’t like them and it worked out just fine.
Such a tasty sugar cookie recipe!! Adding the pecan was such a great idea.
These were so good! Loved the crispness! Saving to make again soon