I'm on a guilty cooking spree. Last week, it was apple tart. This week, these sugar cookies.

I think it's summer that does it to me. I feel like I should be vacationing with my kids. Taking them to the beach. Flying them out to Disney World or something.

Instead, I'm working my tail off. Barely scraping together dinner. And feeling lots of guilt.

So I discovered a simple equation. Butter + sugar = happy children. Happy children = less guilty Mommy. And that is how this recipe came to be.

Chewy Sugar Cookies, adapted from America's Test Kitchen
The only change I made to the original recipe was to use colored sugar for one batch and raw turbinado sugar for the other. 

2¼ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cups sugar
2 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
6 tablespoons butter, melted and still warm
⅓ cup oil
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
⅓ cup sugar - colored or raw turbinado sugar are nice options, but you can also use white
Preheat the oven to 350*. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 

Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Put the 1½ cups of sugar and the cream cheese into a large bowl of an electric mixer. Pour the butter in and combine. Add in the oil and mix for a minute or so. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla. Mix for another minute or so. Add the flour mixture and mix for another minute or two until a soft dough forms.

Spread the remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a separate shallow bowl. 

Pinch off even pieces of dough, about 2 tablespoons each. (The original recipe suggests that you separate 24 pieces first to be sure they are all the same size.)  Use your hands to roll the dough into balls. Roll each ball in the sugar to coat it. Space the balls evenly on the baking sheet, 12 per sheet. Use the bottom of a cup to flatten the dough balls slightly. Sprinkle the tops evenly with a bit more sugar.

Bake until the edges are set and just beginning to brown, 11 to 13 minutes. Cool the cookies for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack and allowing to cool completely.

Linking this up to Weekend Bloggy Reading