They reminded me a lot of these soft sugar cookies I ate as a child. Whenever it was time for my mom to go grocery shopping, I always wanted to go with her. Not because I was a good kid (I definitely wasn’t) but because I knew that the nice lady at the bakery would always give us a free sample cookie! a WHOLE cookie all to myself.
Whenever I set out to make a copycat recipe, the first thing I do is check out the ingredients right on the back of the box. That might seem a bit obvious right? The ingredients list is our first clue.
Lofthouse Sugar Cookie Ingredients: sugar, enriched bleached wheat flour (flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), margarine (palm oil, water, soybean oil, salt, contains 2% or less of: mono- and diglycerides, calcium disodium edta (preservative), artificial flavor, annatto (color), vitamin a palmitate), water, eggs, corn starch, contains 2% or less of: vegetable oil (palm kernel oil, and/or palm oil and/or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil [cottonseed and/or soybean oil]), dextrin, soy lecithin (emulsifier), natural and artificial flavors, confectioner’s glaze (lac resin), colors (yellow 5 lake, blue 1, blue 1 lake, blue 2, blue 2 lake, red 3, red 40, red 40 lake, yellow 5, yellow 6, yellow 6 lake), leavening (baking soda, sodium aluminum sulfate, monocalcium phosphate), carnauba wax, food starch-modified, whey protein concentrate, whey, calcium caseinate, nonfat milk, polysorbate 60, sodium propionate (preservative).
I know this looks like a lot of technical words but let’s break it down. First of all, I know from my own bakery owning days that ingredients have to be listed in the order of the biggest amount to the smallest.
- The first ingredient is sugar. This makes sense because of the frosting.
- The second ingredients is enriched bleached wheat flour, which is a fancy word for bleached cake flour. My first clue! Cookies made with cake flour, not all-purpose flour. No wonder they are so soft!
- The third ingredient is margarine, not butter. This might be a deal-breaker for me, I hate baking with margarine. The margarine might be in the cookie or it might be in the frosting or both.
- The next ingredients are water and cornstarch. Hmm I can’t imagine there would be a ton of cornstarch in a cookie recipe so I can guess about how much based on other recipes.
- The smallest amounts are vegetable oil (probably for moisture similar to oil in cakes) dextrin which is a type of food additive to make foods taste fresher and lecithin which is an emulsifier.
- Then we have flavorings, coloring, leavening (baking soda and baking powder) and preservatives.
Now that I have these ingredients broken down, I can go about figuring out how they work together to re-create that top-secret Lofthouse cookie as close as possible.
I started looking for recipes that use margarine or butter in their recipes and came across this sugar cookie recipe from Betty Crocker that looked promising. The recipe used powdered sugar, not granulated. I remember someone once telling me that powdered sugar in cookies creates a very tender cookie. Could that be the secret to the Lofthouse cookie recipe? Worth a try.
The recipe also called for margarine (ugh). So I relented and bought myself some margarine for the first time in my life! I couldn’t bring myself to use all margarine so I did half margarine and half unsalted butter.
I then adapted this recipe to what I saw on the back of the Lofthouse cookie ingredients box. I opted for bleached cake flour instead of all-purpose for a more tender and cake-like cookie.
I also added in some cornstarch which helps the batter keep its shape while baking. Almond extract for that typical sugar cookie flavor and vanilla extract. All I had was real vanilla, next time I might use clear vanilla for a lighter cookie.
The batter ended up looking basically like a thick cake batter, which makes sense!
I scooped the batter out of the bowl using a medium cookie scoop but the batter was so sticky, I basically had to remove it from the scoop with my fingers. I plopped the sticky dough evenly onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and put them in the fridge to chill for two hours.
After chilling, the dough is a bit easier to handle. You can roll the dough into balls then flatten them. They should be about 3″ wide and about 1/2″ thick. Give a few inches of space between each cookie because they are going to spread a lot.
You only need to bake these cookies for 8 minutes! You do not want to over-bake these or they will not have that soft interior.
As you can see, after baking, the cookies have puffed up a ton and spread out. Let them cool a bit before frosting them with the American Buttercream.
So I ended up testing this recipe and tweaking it about 6 times before I was pretty happy with the taste and texture compared to the original Lofthouse Cookie. I did also try the leading Copycat Lofthouse cookie recipe which used AP flour and sour cream and it was VERY dry. Not bad tasting but the texture was not soft at all.
This Lofthouse cookie is CAKEY, super soft and has a light vanilla flavor. Most of the flavor comes from the sweet bakery style buttercream frosting which I piped onto the cookie using an 804 piping tip and piping bag. Of course, I had to finish the cookies off with some rainbow sprinkles!
I compared the original Lofthouse cookie texture with my cookie and I’m 90% satisfied. The only thing I couldn’t figure out was how to get these specific layers. It’s almost like the dough has been laminated before it bakes. Something to keep working on in the future.
But as far as the softness, the taste, and the texture, I’m super happy with this TRUE copycat Lofthouse cookie recipe. I hope you’re satisfied too. Let me know what you think if you give this recipe a try.
I also have to mention that these cookies made an appearance in Ezra’s five-month birthday photo, you can see it on my Instagram.
Want more cookie recipes? Check these out!
Marbled Valentines Day Sugar Cookies
Original Lofthouse Cookie (Copycat Recipe)
- 6 ounces (170 g) powdered sugar
- 4 ounces (113 g) margarine or butter
- 4 ounces (113 g) unsalted butter softened
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 13 ounces (368 g) cake flour
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract or real extract is ok
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces (227 g) unsalted butter softened
- 16 ounces (453 g) powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 ounces (113 g) milk
- 1/2 teaspoon electric pink food coloring Americolor brand
- 2 Tablespoons rainbow sprinkles
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 804 piping tip and bag
- Stand mixer with whisk and paddle attachment or hand mixer
- Medium cookie scoop or spoon
- In the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment (or you can use a hand mixer) cream together the butter, margarine and powdered sugar until light and fluffy
- Add in your vanilla, almond extract and egg and mix on medium until combined
- Add in your baking soda, baking powder, salt, cream of tartar and cornstarch and mix until combined
- Switch to the paddle attachment and mix in your cake flour just until combined. Do not overmix (or you can do this by hand)
- Scoop your batter onto a parchment-lined baking sheet with a medium-sized cookie scoop (or you can use a spoon)
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 2 hours (or up to 24 hours)
- Preheat your oven to 375ºF
- Roll the chilled dough into balls and then flatten with your fingers into cookies that are about 1/2" thick and 3" wide. Arrange on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake your cookies for 8-9 minutes or just until the sheen disappears from the top of the cookie. Place onto a cooling rack to cool fully before frosting with buttercream and finishing with sprinkles
- Store leftover cookies in an airtight container for up to a week or freeze
For the frosting
- In the bowl of your stand mixer (or using a hand mixer) cream your butter until smooth using the whisk attachment
- Start adding your powdered sugar while mixing on low until it's all incorporated.
- Add in your vanilla, milk, salt, and food coloring and mix until smooth.
- Pipe on top of the cookies with a round tip (I used an 804) and top with sprinkles
71 comments on “Copycat Lofthouse Sugar Cookies”
Eager to try, I’m a little confused by the amounts of ingredients. Do you mean “Ounces” for the cake flour and powered sugar as a weight (instead of grams) or volume in a measuring cup? I’m used to seeing dry ingredients as cups when referencing volume rough requirements. Or using grams that yield more precise measurements for these items that can greatly fluctuate as volumes. Can you please be more specific as to how we should be measuring these ingredients? Measuring cups or scales? I can not guess from the pictures and videos as the ingredients are premeasured in small bowls. Thank you for the clarification.
All my recipes are in ounces and grams, not cups. I use a kitchen scale to weigh my ingredients. You can read more about why in this blog post https://sugargeekshow.com/news/digital-kitchen-scale/
These look great and I am impressed you successfully recreated such a staple, but how is one of these over 2.5 times the calories of just one Lofthouse cookie?! I know we’re not baking these for health here, but seems pretty wild that you could eat 2.5 commercially baked cookies for just one of these guys.
I don’t really know. The recipe app calculates the calories automatically based on the entire recipe and then divides them by the number of cookies the recipe makes. I don’t have any control over it.
Hi. The recipe called for 4 oz butter twice.. Is this a typo or is it correct?
The first one is margarine but if you don’t have any you can use butter
What type of mixer do you use in your video? I have been doing a lot of demos for my high school students lately during remote learning. It’s great that you can see everything that’s happening in the bowl on the video. Thanks
Yes I love my bosch! Here’s a review if you’re interested: https://sugargeekshow.com/news/bosch-mixer-review/
I have a Bosch mixer in the instructions you say to switch to the paddle attachment but in the video you don’t switch. Is it necessary to switch?
Its not 100% necessary 🙂
Hi can this dough be made in advance and frozen?
Sure can, I would freeze the dough in balls and then put them into a freezer bag until you want to bake them.
You’re very welcome! I hope you like them 😀
Could I substitute Stevia sweetener for the sugar?
I’ve never tried it, but probably! It won’t have the same taste, but let me know how it turns out if you try it 🙂
Hi Liz! I just wanted to let you know that I absolutely adore you! You have humor and are a great instructor! If I need a baking recipe I see if you have that specific one available first. Every. Single. Time. I will be making these. My absolute favorite recipe I’ve gotten from you was the German chocolate cake. I get requests for it often. Most of them are me talking to me. Thank you for all you do!!!
So I only tried your icing recipe so far, I had a sugar cookie recipe I was experimenting with this weekend. Random as it was, I added an extra egg to an all purpose flour recipe, and as I reused the dough for my sugar cookie I realized it’s a diy laminating process! The second batch that went in the oven had much more layering inside… Almost like the lofthouse! Have you been able to play with this recipe more? I wonder if rolling it out a few times would give more inner layers!
I make these all the time and they’re a favorite! I’ve tried countless copycat Lofthouse recipes and this is by far the best. I’m a cookie snob and coming from me, they taste like the real thing!!!
But that mixer though! What kind is it? I need one! 🥰
Thank you! It’s a Bosch, here is a link to my review if you’re interested! https://sugargeekshow.com/news/bosch-mixer-review/
Thank you for dedicating your time to this timeless recipe. I’ll definitely make these cookies this weekend!!
I love this recipe, The buttercream frosting was amazing as it was, but I wanted to add a little something of my own to it. I added about 1/4 cup of cream cheese and about 1/8 cup of granulated sugar, I mixed those until smooth and then I slowly incorporated it into the buttercream frosting. It turned out AMAZING. I seriously suggest trying it this way as well 😀
Hi Liz! I’ve always been a big fan of yours ever since you I saw your Tardis cake tutorial back in 2013. But now I WORSHIP you even more because of this recipe!
If ever you’re near Ardmore, AL, hit me up for a roast chicken dinner and apple pie!
You are so sweet! 😀 Thank you so much
These cookies are delicious! The frosting is good, but it made a ton – twice what I needed. It’s very soft, and it was strange using the whisk attachment. It’s very airy. I totally own that – probably my error somewhere.