Swig-style Sugar Cookie Recipe

Swig-style Sugar Cookies

Update 6/4/2014–Without a doubt, this is absolutely, hands down, my favorite sugar cookie. I made these for July 4th and decorated them with white frosting and red, white and blue sprinkles. This time around I used vanilla sugar in place of the regular white sugar and they were especially outstanding. Vanilla sugar is very easy to make. Simply split a vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape out the caviar and stir it into 2 cups of white granulated sugar. Cut the vanilla bean half across the middle so that you now have four pieces. Layer the sugar and the vanilla bean pieces in an airtight container, ending with a layer of sugar. Cover the container and allow the sugar to sit for about a week. I usually make about six cups of sugar at one time.

I’ve been on a bit of sugar cookie search of late, trying to find “the” perfect sugar cookie.

There isn’t one.

Just thought I’d put that out there at the beginning so that you would know that I’m not going to go all “Oh my gosh this is the best sugar cookie I’ve ever eaten. You HAVE to make it right now!!!!”

As with any other cookie, cake, spaghetti sauce, or meatloaf, everyone has their favorite. Well, maybe not meatloaf. It has a bad reputation in some sectors (I’ve been watching Hunger Games, so the word sector is stuck in my vocabulary.) Personally, I like meatloaf, particularly the very tasty Amazing Meatloaf on my blog. It’s been a favorite in my family for a very long time. The sauce is the real key.

Sugar cookies. I’m supposed to be talking about sugar cookies.  So sorry.

Swig-style Sugar Cookies

This particular recipe is supposed to be a copycat recipe for the sugar cookies sold at a little shop in St. George, Utah called Swig. I have never had a true Swig sugar cookie, so I cannot personally attest that the cookies from this recipe taste like the real Swig sugar cookies.

To be perfectly honest, some people on the internet state that this recipe is the real deal, but I did find one nay sayer. Si, from A Bountiful Kitchen, laid out her argument against authenticity very clearly, and you know what? I believe her. And you know what else? She convinced me that it is okay if I am now less inclined to make a 5 hour trip down to St. George to try out this cookie. Yes, believe it or not, I would make a trip down there with the main goal being to have a real Swig sugar cookie, but now I am contented to wait a bit. Si’s recipe for Swig Sugar Cookies is quite different from the recipe I have here, but my, oh my, I really LOVE the flavor and texture of the cookies that came from the recipe here. 🙂 I’ll have to give Si’s sugar cookie recipe a try in the future.

I did some homework on the Swig Sugar Cookie and discovered that there are a few things that make it distinctive:

  1. It is large.
  2. It is not a rolled and cut cookie. Rather, the dough for each cookie is shaped into a ball and then pressed into a round disk shape.
  3. It has cracked edges, and a ‘ring’ where the edges push out past whatever object is used to press down the dough balls; in my case, the bottom of a water glass.
  4. It is refrigerated after baking, then frosted just before eating, and is supposed to be served cold.

Swig-style Sugar Cookies

It doesn’t really matter that I don’t know how a real Swig sugar cookie tastes. I am totally happy with the way that this sugar cookie tastes. The one and only drawback is that this cookie cannot be rolled and cut out with cookie cutters. I don’t care, don’t care, don’t care. I love them just the way are. (Oh, great. Now I’ve got that song in my head–“don’t go changing, to try and please me…I love you just the way you are….)

I made some minor recipe changes, adding vanilla to the cookie and using a cream cheese frosting instead of a sour cream frosting. I’ll try the sour cream frosting another time.

Baked, the cookies are a generous 3 1/2 – to 4-inches in diameter. The edges have a slight crispy crunch to them and the interior texture is medium soft with just the right mount of resistance and ‘chew’.

It’s fun to eat the cookies without any frosting on them because of a very thin, crispy sugar top layer. The layer is made by dipping the bottom of a drinking glass in sugar and then using the prepared glass bottom to press the cookie dough into a disk. The sugar is transferred from the bottom of the glass to the top of the dough and forms a very thin “crust”. It reminds me ever so slightly of crunching through the crust on creme brulee. Or not.

Swig-style Sugar Cookies

Shoot. Just have fun making and eating these cookies. No dough chilling. No stressing with rolling them out and transferring them to a pan. No worries about picking up too much flour in the rolling out process and ending up with a heavy, dense, flour laden cookie.

The #1 thing that is very important to the success of this cookie? Don’t use TOO MUCH FLOUR. I highly recommend weighing your flour. If you do not have a kitchen scale, then be sure to lightly spoon the flour into a measuring cup and level it with a flat edge such as the dull side of a knife. No scooping! Scooping = too much flour = tough, heavy cookie = an increased probability of dissatisfaction with the outcome of this recipe.

Swig-style Sugar Cookies

Swig-style Sugar Cookie Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 37 cookies

This is a wonderful, no-roll, sugar cookie. The cookie dough comes together quickly and there is no need to chill it. Simply roll the dough into balls, press with the sugared bottom of a drinking glass, bake, cool and frost. A cream cheese frosting tastes perfect with these cookies. Jimmies add a fun color accent and the cookies can be decorated to match any season.


    For the Cookies
  • 5 1/2 cups (700 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil (or other neutral flavored oil)
  • 1 1/4 cup white granulated sugar + more for shaping the cookies (vanilla sugar is especially wonderful in this recipe)
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5 teaspoons water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • For the Frosting:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted


  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Line baking pan(s) with parchment paper or silicone baking liner. Otherwise, leave pan(s) ungreased.
  2. For the Cookies:
  3. To measure the flour, lightly spoon into a measuring cup; level flour even with the top of the measuring cup with a straight edge such as the dull edge of a knife. Do not scoop the flour because you will end up with too much flour in the cookies. Put flour into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add the cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt to the flour. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
  5. Into the bowl of a stand mixer or another large bowl, put the butter, vegetable oil, white sugar and powdered sugar. Mix together on medium speed for 1 minute.
  6. Add the eggs, water and vanilla extract to the butter mixture. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute.
  7. Add the flour a cup at a time, mixing lightly after each addition. If using a stand mixer, toggle the speed switch to the "stir" setting a few times after each addition. After the final addition of flour, mix on medium speed for 30 seconds or just until the flour mixture is well blended with the wet mixture. The dough should be soft, but not sticky. Pick up some of the dough and roll it in your hands to make a ball. The dough should be quite soft yet easy to handle and should not be sticky. If dough is sticky, blend in a little more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, testing as previously instructed after each addition.
  8. To form the cookies, gather approximately 3 tablespoonsful of dough together and roll into a ball about the size of a golf ball. I used a 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop and put two scoops of dough together to make the appropriate size dough ball. Place 8 balls of dough, staggered, on the baking pan.
  9. Put about 1/4 cup white granulated sugar in a small bowl. Set aside. Very lightly grease the bottom of a drinking glass. Dip the bottom of the glass in the sugar. Gently and evenly press a dough ball with the sugared glass bottom just until the dough squishes out about 1/4-inch from the edges of the glass. The edges of the dough will crack; this is what they are supposed to do. Repeat process with the remaining dough balls, dipping the bottom of the glass into the sugar before pressing the next dough ball. (The glass will not have to be greased between cookies.)
  10. Bake for 8-10 minutes. The cookies are supposed to be pale on top with a very light tan bottom. To check the bottom of the cookie, use a cookie spatula to carefully lift and edge of the cookie. Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for about 2 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack. Allow cookies to cool completely before frosting.
  11. For the Frosting:
  12. In a medium bowl with a hand mixer on medium speed, blend together all of the frosting ingredients until smooth and creamy.
  13. Spread frosting on cooled cookies. Sprinkle with jimmies, if desired. Note:This frosting will not get firm. It is best to store the cookies in a single layer, covered, OR store unfrosted cookies in the refrigerator and frost just prior to eating.


Store the cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Recipe adapted from NPR Junkie @ Baby Center Community



Swig-style Sugar Cookies

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  1. says

    Well these look like a perfect St. Patty’s day treat… even if they are not the perfect Swig sugar cookie. 🙂 I would still eat a bunch. 🙂 Hope you are doing well. 🙂

  2. Sarah says

    We are loving these! We live in St. George and go to Swig way too much, and these are close and so yummy! We’ve made the other copy-cat recipe that’s going around quite a few times, but this is our new favorite. Your frosting is way better than the other one. The biggest difference between the ones we made and the real Swig, is they leave their cookies pretty thick. Thanks so much for your yummy recipe!

    • says

      Hi Sarah. I am looking forward to trying a real Swig sugar cookie the next time I am in St. George. Thanks for letting me know that this recipe is close to the real thing. I have to admit, I’m pretty addicted to it. I love the crunchy, sugared edges and the softer-ish middle AND the frosting! I’m jealous that you get to enjoy a real Swig cookie anytime you want it! Thanks for your great comment. I really appreciate it.

    • says

      Thanks, Ami! These ARE really good cookies. I was pleasantly surprised when I ate my first one. They have a lot going for them when it comes to mouth appeal–the edges are crispy because of the light sugar crust, then the middle is soft because it draws some of the moisture from the frosting. The frosting is a good one, not too sugary sweet because of the cream cheese, but just sweet enough to taste great with the cookie. I ate more than one–several times each day–and had to finally give them away because I clearly had no self-control. 🙂 ~Terri

  3. Susannah says

    While I have never had a swig cookies, I have heard a lot about them. I need to make sugar cookies for an activity on Sunday, but I noticed you said they don’t work well to roll out? Why is this? I would love to use this recipe, but need to roll them out. Would it be a waste of my time? Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Susannah. The dough handles differently because of the oil. It is softer and does not hold together well. It would be difficult to transfer a cutout cookie to the pan. I had thought about rolling out the dough on a pan, then cutting out the cookies and removing the surplus dough away from the cutouts. In the end I felt that it really would not have worked well. I have not tried substituting any other fat for the oil, so I don’t know how things would work out. It may work for cutout cookies if you chilled the dough first, but I don’t really know. I should experiment with it a bit.

      However, I have a few suggestions for cut-out sugar cookie recipes from some reliable sites. You might want to give one of these a try. Also, I do have a soft sugar cookie recipe on this blog that cane be used for cut-outs, as long as the cutouts are not too intricate. It works fine for circles or heart shapes.
      Sweetopia: Sugar Cookies (she uses this recipe for pretty much all of her sugar cookies)
      Sweetapolita: Perfect Sugar Cookies
      Annie’s Eats: Sugar Cookies
      Sally’s Baking Addiction: Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
      Sprinkle Bakes: My Secret Sugar Cookie Recipe

      Best wishes on your cookie adventure. Let me know what you decide. ~Terri


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