I’ve had this blog for almost 2 years now.
How in the world
have I not
posted a recipe
for sugar cookies?
I’ve done things as complex as a Momofuku birthday cake and mini angel food cakes and yet I’ve neglected to share with you a recipe for the very baked good many of us grew up on? I mean, come on. I know at least a solid 78% of you used to decorate sugar cookies either for fun or for the holidays.
My family used to make a batch of rollout sugar cookies for Christmas more often than not, and while I didn’t use our reindeer or candy cane cookie cutters this time, decorating these last weekend really brought back some memories. One of my closest friends who moved away a few years back was in town to visit me and we decided to try our hand at some royal icing decorating. I was super stoked, envisioning perfectly iced cupcake-shaped cookies and adorable elephants, along with the classic wet-on-wet technique hearts. I would go on a whole rampage on icing consistencies and what to do with them, but to be completely honest I had no idea what I was doing. While I think I may have stepped up my royal icing game a little bit since the Christmas cookie days, I must say these guys came out nowhere near as beautiful as the gorgeous pieces of art that Amber over at SweetAmbs makes. Let’s just say I picked the cream of the (somewhat disappointing) crop to feature in this post.
Now a little about the cookies themselves: These are super, super easy. Like, cream your butter and sugar then add the dry ingredients and you’re done easy. AND I can almost guarantee you have all the ingredients sitting in your fridge and pantry already. Wanna go check? I’ll wait.
Once you’ve grabbed your butter and sugar, go ahead and cream them for a few minutes until they’re light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl, then beat in an egg and some vanilla. Next come the dry ingredients, which you’ll want to whisk together beforehand. Just flour, baking powder and salt. Nothing fancy here!
Once everything’s combined, you’ll wind up with a dough like this. Gather it into a ball and divide it in half, wrapping each half in plastic wrap. Press into discs and freeze for a good 20 minutes.
If the dough seems too hard to roll when you remove it from the freezer, just let it sit for a few minutes before rolling on a floured surface. I rolled my first batch pretty thin, but I think I prefer my cookies more on the 1/4″ side. I thinner cookie will be more crunchy, a thicker one more tender and crisp. It’s up to you!
When you’ve got the dough all rolled out, it’s time for the cookie cutters! We used an assortment of cutters, their shapes ranging from a teapot to a unicorn.
These guys bake in a 325 F oven for 10-15 minutes depending on size. The edges should just be starting to turn golden. Cool on a wire rack…
Then decorate to your heart’s content! I used royal icing, but a simple mix of powdered sugar and milk works too. For a design like the one on the blue and pink heart, just coat a cookie in thin icing and add stripes of other colors, then run a toothpick through it. So much fun!
Rollout Sugar Cookies
Makes around 32 cookies decent sized cookies
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick or 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low, add this to the butter and sugar until combined.
- Press the dough into a ball and divide in half. Form each piece into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze for 20 minutes, or for up to 3 months. (If freezing overnight or longer, thaw in the fridge overnight before rolling).
- When you’re ready to bake, heat the oven to 325 F and line a baking sheet or two with parchment or Silpats.
- Roll out the dough one disc at a time on a floured surface. For thinner, crunchier cookies roll to 1/8″ and for crisper, more tender cookies roll closer to 1/4″. Cut with cookie cutters and arrange on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on cookie size. The cookies should be set, the edges just starting to turn golden. Cool on a wire rack and decorate with royal icing or simply a mixture of milk and powdered sugar if desired (but honestly, why wouldn’t you?)