This Sourdough Sugar Cookie recipe is a treat specifically made for sourdough lovers and those looking for a unique twist on classic sugar cookies! Whether for a special occasion (Valentine’s Day, hint hint) or just to satisfy your sweet tooth, these simple Sourdough Sugar Cookies boast a subtly tangy flavour and can be cut out and iced to suit many different occasions!
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Why Use Sourdough Discard In Sugar Cookies?
- Reduce Waste: Incorporating sourdough discard in sugar cookies minimizes kitchen waste, repurposing excess starter for added flavour and sustainability.
- Extended Freshness: The acidity in sourdough discard acts as a natural preservative, ensuring sugar cookies maintain freshness for a longer period.
- Ease of Handling: Sourdough discard enhances cookie dough, making it more pliable for easy rolling and cutting, resulting in well-shaped, evenly baked treats.
- Distinctive Flavor: The addition of sourdough discard imparts a unique tanginess, elevating the flavour profile of sugar cookies with a delightful sweet and sour balance.
Ingredients and Substitutes
Here are the simple ingredients you’ll need to make sourdough sugar cookies. You can find the quantities and full instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- unsalted butter: softened. You may use salted butter, but you’ll need to reduce the salt amount in the recipe by about half.
- caster sugar: can be replaced with granulated white sugar.
- egg: large in the UK, extra-large in the US.
- vanilla bean paste: also known as double strength vanilla. You can also use simple vanilla extract.
- sourdough discard: unfed starter, 100% hydration.
- all-purpose flour: also known as plain flour. Cake flour (low gluten) can also be used in this recipe.
- cornflour (cornstarch): can be replaced with extra flour.
Place softened butter and caster sugar in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat the mixture on medium speed until light and fluffy.
Add a large egg, vanilla bean paste, salt and sourdough starter discard and continue beating until combined (make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl once or twice).
Mix the flour and cornflour (cornstarch) in a separate large bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and, using a rubber spatula, mix just until combined.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a tea towel and chill for 20 minutes.
Divide the dough into 2 pieces.
Shape the first piece of dough into a flat disc and place it between two pieces of non-stick parchment paper or waxed paper. Using a rolling pin roll the cookie dough between the two pieces of paper to 3-4mm thickness. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Fold the sides of the paper to protect the dough from drying out, stack them on top of each other and place them in the fridge for 4 hours (or up to 48 hours).
Take one piece of rolled-out dough and peel off the top sheet of the paper and dust it with a little flour. Invert it onto the floured sheet and peel off the cover piece of baking parchment.
Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and arrange them on the prepared baking sheet.
Re-roll any scraps between two sheets of baking parchment.
Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, until light golden brown around the edges. Then leave them to cool on the baking tray, before decorating with icing, if you wish.
Icing For Sugar Cookies
There are a few different icing recipes that pair well with sourdough discard sugar cookie. Follow the links below to find the one that’s best for you!
Tips For Best Results
- Use a kitchen scale to measure the ingredients by weight to make the best sugar cookies – it gives a lot more precision than cups and spoons.
- Make sure to take your butter out of the fridge to bring it to room temperature way ahead of time. It needs to be extra soft.
- Monitor and adjust the cooking time: not only can ovens run a little hot or cold, but thinner cookies cook in less time, so if you don’t want a crunchy cookie, watch them closely!
- Experiment with various icings and flavour additions to arrive at the most delicious sugar cookie recipe that’s perfect for you!
Adding Flavour To Sugar Cookies
This recipe has lots of vanilla flavour in it, but if you fancy adding other flavours, go for it. The main thing to keep in mind is the moisture content in your add-ins. As a result, we recommend adding things like dried lavender, lemon zest, a pinch of cinnamon or cardamom or freeze-dried berry pieces.
Another great way to add flavour is to introduce it in the icing. We love using the almond extract for a hint of almond, or lavender extract for that irresistible floral flavour.
Christmas Sourdough ebook
Celebrate the holiday season with a unique twist this year with our 24 Christmas Sourdough recipes! Discover the magic of using active sourdough starter, sourdough discard, and leftover baked sourdough bread to create a memorable and flavoursome Christmas feast.
Once the cookies have cooled down, you can store them uniced in an airtight container for up to 1 week at room temperature. The storage of iced sourdough cookies will depend on the icing itself. If you’ve used just water and sugar to make icing, you can store the cookies at room temperature, but any dairy products used mean you need to refrigerate them.
I Don’t Have A Hand Mixer. Can I Make These Cookies In A Stand Mixer?
Yes, cream butter with other ingredients in a bowl of a stand mixer using a paddle attachment. However, we find that a stand mixer works better with larger quantities (e.g. if you double the recipe).
Other Sourdough Discard Recipes
Looking for other sourdough recipes that will help you put that discard to good use? Our favourite things to bake with sourdough discard include:
Sourdough Sugar Cookies
- 120 g unsalted butter softened
- 150 g caster sugar
- 1 egg large
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 50 g sourdough discard
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 250 g all-purpose flour
- 50 g cornflour (cornstarch)
- Place softened butter and caster sugar in a large mixing bowl. Using and an electric handheld mixer, beat the mixture until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg, vanilla bean paste, salt and sourdough discard and continue beating until combined.
- Mix the flour and cornflour (cornstarch) in a separate bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and, using a rubber spatula, mix just until combined.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or tea towel and chill for 20 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 2 pieces.
- Shape the first piece of dough into a flat disc and place it between two pieces of non-stick parchment paper or waxed paper. Using a rolling pin to roll the cookie dough between the two pieces of paper to 3-4mm thickness. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Fold the sides of the paper to protect the dough from drying out, stack them on top of each other and place them in the fridge for 4 hours (or up to 48 hours).
- Preheat your oven to 170° C Fan. Line a couple of large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Take one piece of rolled-out dough and peel off the top sheet of the paper and dust it with a little flour. Invert it onto the floured sheet and peel off the cover piece of baking parchment.
- Cut out shapes using a cookie cutter and arrange them on the prepared baking sheets.
- Re-roll any scraps between two sheets of baking parchment.
- Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, then leave them to cool on the baking tray, before decorating with icing, if you wish.