It’s the most WONDERFUL time of the year!!! There is nothing better than the holiday season & all of the Christmas cookies that come with it!
Soft cut out sugar cookie recipe that keeps its shape and dough- perfect edges every time! This is our favorites recipe and we use this recipe every festive holiday & special occasion. We love that it’s also easily flavor adapted by simply swapping extract and the decorating possibilities are fun & endless!
• 3 cups flour (NOT packed firm)
• 1 tsp. baking powder
• 1 cup unsalted butter
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 large egg
• 1 drop Lemon Vitality (optional)
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract (for flavor, you can interchangeably swap vanilla with any extract flavor: almond, maple, coconut, coffee, etc.)
In a separate bowl whisk together flour and baking powder.
Beat together unsalted butter and sugar. Once mixed well, add in egg. Mix again, then add in vanilla. I like to use my Kitchen aid and dough hook.
Slowly add in flour mixture about a cup at a time. Mix until dough forms and begins to clump together.
Gather up dough and knead it with hands until it’s nice and smooth. Roll it into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap, and place in fridge to chill. I like to let min chill about 20-40 minutes. You will want it to be kind of firm but not hard. If it’s too hard…just leave it out on the counter for just a little bit until it softens up. Then you can work it a little bit to soften it back up.
Divide into workable batches, roll out onto a floured surface and cut. You want these cookies to be on the thicker side (closer to 1/4 inch rather than 1/8).
Bake at 350°, time will depend on cookies size and thickness. Normally between 7-10 minutes. I bake ours for 8 minutes, when round. For the small star cut-outs, I bake them for 5-6 minutes, because they are significantly smaller. Ps. If you have various shapes, place same sized shapes together, otherwise this will cause the cookies to over– and underbake.
These cookies certainly don’t need frosting if you don’t feel like making it. Or if you’d like to make the frosting without any dye and left white, they’re still super cute. I dare say these are also awesome dipped in melted dark chocolate, or with a dollop of ganache on top and served with a cup of tea.
For the royal icing:
Makes enough for one recipe of sugar cookies – with a little extra to spare.
bakers note: I recommend making this with an electric mixer, but this entire recipe can easily be made by hand with whisk and bowl. But if you make it by hand be SURE to sift the confectioners’ sugar beforehand… I mean you don’t HAVE to, but be prepared to whisk aggressively as you add the liquid to take away any lumps. Sifting beforehand is way way, easier.
With a whisk or paddle attachment on your electric mixer beat your egg whites until slightly frothy – about 1-2 minutes. (If making this by hand just beat egg whites in a large bowl vigorously until slightly frothy)
Then slowly slowly add your powdered sugar. See how thick the mixture is and add your lemon juice accordingly – you may not need any lemon juice at all, see notes below. The mixture should have the texture of a thick glaze. Be careful not to over liquify it. If it’s too runny, just add more powdered sugar. If it’s way too thick, add a little more lemon juice. You want the goldilocks thing here, the frosting should be just right.
Separate the frosting into several bowls to make different colored icings. Remember a little dye goes a long way.
You can easily spread your icing on with a spoon, but it’s super fun to decorate the cookies with squeeze bottles or a pastry bag with a fine tip if you want more detailed sugar cookies. Both spoon and squeeze bottle work!
• If you must chill the dough just leave it on the counter top for 10 minutes before rolling or work the dough with your hands for a few minutes.
• You can omit the almond extract if you do not have it available, however the taste is really fantastic with the hint of almond.
• Keep in mind that the recipe yield will vary according to how thick you roll your cookies and how large or small your cutters are.
• Bake for 6 minutes to test. They should be soft. Leave them on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to cool completely. If you reach 7-8 minutes and the edges turn brown your cookie will be crisper.
We would love if you would share your favorite Christmas cookies with us, as each year we prepare dozens of mason jars filled with different cookies to deliver to friends + family during the holiday season!