Today I wanted to share my favorite sugar cookie recipe in the spirit of Christmas. I love making sugar cookies year round because I love decorating them. I think it is so fun to frost them with different tips and sprinkles. I think making sugar cookies is my favorite holiday tradition as well. I’ve always made them as a kid but they never really turned out very well, until I got older and decided to put in a little more effort. To decorate them well you will need some piping bags, a variety of tips, sprinkles, and food coloring.
I’ve already made them twice this holiday time and it’s so easy. I’ve used this recipe three times total and they always turn out well. I’ve used so many different recipes over the years and I have found this one to be the best. I found it on Allrecipes.com. It is not my own recipe. I have made some small changes each time with cookie thickness, cooking time, or amount of flour added. You may even want to cut this recipe in half because it makes a ton of cookies. It can be a bit overwhelming to cut and decorate a full batch.
1 1/2 Cups unsalted butter, softened
2 Cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
The first step is to make the dough (before preheating the oven).
Cream together the softened butter and sugar in a large bowl. Next, add the eggs and vanilla and mix those in. After everything is mixed really well add the flour 1 cup at a time with the baking powder and salt. You may not need all the flour the recipe calls for. If you get to a point where the dough is becoming too dry and hard to stir I’d just omit the rest and save it for rolling. Then cover the dough and refrigerate it for at least an hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Once the dough is cold, flour your surface and rolling pin and roll the dough out. I separate my dough into sections about softball sized and do one at a time. Roll the dough out about 1/4″ thick. Cut out all of the shapes you want and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Make sure they are at least a half inch apart. Continue the process until all of the cookies are cut and the dough is gone.
Bake for 6-8 minutes according to the recipe. I baked some of mine for 5 minutes and 30 seconds. Most were perfect within 6 minutes.
Let them cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting, just look up a basic vanilla icing recipe. I honestly don’t use a recipe because I make icing all the time and always have slightly different amounts of the ingredients I need. To get the icing to be smooth I used a technique that I kind of just tried. I don’t think it’s what professionals do but I’m not really sure. I start with thick icing and pipe around the outside of the cookie so it holds the more liquidy frosting in place while it sets. Do that to every cookie that has that color as a base. Then add a little milk to the icing to thin it out. Once the icing seems like it will smooth out but also stay it place it should be perfect. Then I just put the runny frosting in a piping bag and cover the surface of the cookie. You can shake it a little to get the cookie to be completely smooth. Sorry, this is hard to explain. Let the cookies sit for a little while so the icing sets up, then you can add more details on top with thicker frosting. If you are using sprinkles, make sure to use them before the frosting hardens. There are so many possibilities for decorating ideas. I like to try to do each step of all of the same cookies shapes at once so you don’t have to switch back and forth between colors and tips.
Let them dry completely before transporting.