I can’t remember a time when I didn’t bake up a big batch of sugar cookies at Christmas time. It’s been a tradition in my house since I first moved out on my own, and before that I’d spend at least one day every December making them with my Grandma. Even plain her sugar cookies were melt-in-your-mouth amazing, but she would always add just the right amount of icing to each to make them extra delicious.
My Grandma didn’t use a recipe for her sugar cookies – after decades of baking them, she just knew what to add, so when I moved away and didn’t see her every December, I had no recipe for my own cookies. After a bit of trail and error, I found the perfect sugar cookie recipe that I can always count on turning out.
Today on Shelly’s Friday Favourites, I’m going to share my favourite sugar cookie recipe with you and show you how easy it is to decorate these cookies. If you get overwhelmed by roll out cookies because they’re too sticky or they don’t turn out right, you’ll love this recipe. The dough is light, fluffy, and rolls out like a dream.
I find a lot of my recipes on Allrecipes.com, and this one is no exception. I’ve been using this recipe for over 5 years, and I’ve never had a bad batch. The one kitchen appliance I really recommend you have when baking sugar cookies is a good mixer. I prefer a stand mixer because you can whip the sugar up light and fluffy, and it makes it easy to add the 5 cups of flour.
Traditional Sugar Cookies
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. I like to beat the butter and sugar for at least 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, then vanilla. Stop the mixer and add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Turn on and mix for at least 5 minutes, stopping to scape the sides of the bowl occasionally. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
Preheat oven to 380 degrees F (200 degrees C).
The dough will be fairly sticky when it comes out of the fridge, so be sure to add enough flour so that it’s easy to roll.
Roll out your dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter.
Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.
Before we get to the steps, here’s the sugar cookie icing recipe I use:
Sugar Cookie Icing
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons light syrup
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
assorted food coloring
In a small bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more syrup.
Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity. Dip cookies, or paint them with a brush.
I didn’t take a picture of the dough making process because basically you just put everything into one bowl, mix it up, and pop it in the fridge.
Here’s what my sugar cookie dough looked like after I chilled it for a few hours. I did add some extra flour because although it was cold, it was still a bit sticky.
I used a rolling pin to roll out the dough on parchment paper, then began using my cookie cutters. I like to mix it up a bit and choose a bunch of different shapes.
After my cookies were cut, I popped them on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven for 8 to 9 minutes. Although the recipe says to use 400 degrees, I like a softer cookie so I use 350 degrees and just cook them for a bit longer. They come out puffy and perfect, and not brown around the edges.
Once the cookies are baked, take them out of the oven and let them cool.
When the cookies are cool, they’re ready for decorating. You can use a small spatula to spread the icing or get really creative with it. Some people like to use royal icing and make intricate designs. I always have my kids with decorating with me, so I don’t mind if they make a mess and sprinkle up the place as long as they’re having fun. I also don’t mind that the cookies don’t look perfect, because they’re proud of their cute cookie creations.
These cookies always remind me of when I was a little girl, and now that I’m older and I’ve found a great sugar cookie recipe, I love making them with my own kids. Sugar cookies are quick, easy, and always a hit at any family gathering or school function.
Ready to make your own sugar cookies? Check out my favourite small appliances I use to make traditional sugar cookies every year.
Stand Mixers make baking a breeze.
I could never attempt rolled cookies without my trusty rolling pin.
If you keep a few cookie sheets in your cupboard, you can bake big batches of cookies at one time