Baking and decorating sugar cookies can be very daunting, and in my opinion it’s definitely an art! If you ask my mom and I, a sugar cookie is really only as good as it tastes. We’ve baked lots of sugar cookies, both for taste and for cuteness…and finding a balance between the two is definitely a challenge. The recipe included here yields delicious cookies! They don’t fully hold their shape, so we re-cut the shapes after baking and cooling for a clean and crisp shape. Honestly, it’s the best way to accomplish the perfect cookie shape. Below is the recipe and all of my mom’s tips for baking the perfect sugar cookie. A huge Thanks to her mom for sharing all she has learned over the years!
2 cups salted butter
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp vanilla (we used a vanilla bean paste)
5 cups flour
Beat butter with a paddle attachment, adding sugar one cup at a time until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat just until incorporated. Add salt and vanilla and mix until just incorporated. Add flour in 3 different batches and mix until just incorporated.
Split cookie dough into two evenly distributed batches. Place each batch of dough between two pieces of parchment paper and slightly roll into a flat circle before refrigerating. Chill for a minimum of one hour. After chilling, roll dough (we did about 1/4 inch thick cookies) and cut into shapes. Re-chill shaped cookies. Bake at 375 for approximately 10-12 minutes–don’t overbake! Allow cookies to cool and then store in an airtight container until decorating.
Some tips to keep in mind:
- Handle the dough as little as possible and add as little of additional flour as possible
- When rolling out the dough after chilling, leave it between the two pieces of parchment to prevent sticking to rolling pin, counter, etc (this makes the process SO MUCH cleaner!!)
- Keep dough as cold as possible. The warmer it gets, the stickier the dough will be and the less they will hold their shape
- After cutting dough into shapes, re-chill on a parchment lined cookie sheet before baking
- Bake cookies of similar sizes in each batch
- Freeze cookies either undecorated or fully decorated (or both) if you’re not serving right away. This will allow you to serve the freshest cookie possible!
- We personally only re-work the dough once for re-rolling. After the second rolling/cutting, we bake the scraps for snacking, practice decorating, etc. if you re-work dough too many times, the texture of the cookie will change
Buttercream Icing Recipe:
2 cups butter
6 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tablespoon milk
Beat butter with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat on high until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla and milk. Split icing into the desired number of batches for coloring. Add gel coloring (These and these are our favorites) until desired color is achieved. Place icing in piping bags and have fun decorating!! I used icing in piping bags to outline and fill the cookies and then used a small spatula to spread the icing to get a cleaner look.