This is my go-to recipe for sugar cookies and, if you follow the directions, they ALWAYS turn out. I have received so many compliments on the taste- it doesn’t really matter how you decorate them because they are just scrumptious.
The cookies above are decorated with royal icing, which is wonderful and terrible at the same time. I’ll do a post about royal icing, and the consistency issues that plague us all when using it, sometime next week. In the meantime, here is the recipe for delicious, soft, shape-holding cookies sugar!
- 2/3 cup softened butter (hint: the 1/3 mark is labeled on your stick of butter- don’t make things hard on yourself)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 egg
- 1 Tablespoon milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (or, if you’re like me, a bit more)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
Your oven will need to be at 375, but you don’t really need to preheat it yet- your cookies will need to chill quite a bit before baking
Cream together your butter and sugar for about a 30-60 seconds on medium speed. Make sure the butter is smooth with no lumps. I use a stand mixer and just leave it running on low while I add my baking powder, a pinch of salt, the egg, the milk, and the vanilla. Let it mix for just a few additional seconds after you add the vanilla.
Scrape down the sides of your bowl and begin adding your flour. I add it one cup at a time, slowly so that it incorporates as I add it. Continue doing this until your dough is uniform in color and texture. It’s a little soft when you’re done, and that’s ok.
Your dough is now finished, but it needs to chill for at least (at LEAST) an hour. I’ll leave it overnight if I have the time Divide it in half and wrap the halves separately in plastic wrap so that it hardens but doesn’t dry out.
After your dough has chilled, you can roll out one of your halves. I find that I like a slightly thicker cookie (about 1/4 inch), so that’w how I roll mine. If you make them TOO thick, they will spread when cooking, which makes them not nearly as adorable. Too thin, and they’ll burn around the edges.
Place your cut out cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet and pop them into the fridge for about 15 minutes. No need to cover them. This is an excellent time to preheat your oven.
Once your cookies have chilled, bake them for 7-10 minutes. You want them to lose the doughy look but be baaaaarely golden around the edges- this will give you a soft cookie that still holds together well.
Now you are ready to decorate! Have fun, make it as simple or complex as you like. I let my kids spread buttercream (there’s a recipe for that!) on them and them go nuts with the sprinkles. I also like to take my time with royal icing and make statement cookies. The world (cookie) is your oyster- go wild!