How To Make The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe
Ingredients for the perfect sugar cookie recipe:
- All-purpose flour make sure to weigh your flour accurately. If you add too much flour, your cookies wont spread at all!
- Baking powder this gives the cookies lift without adding too much spread or browning.
- Fine sea salt so important to balance the sweetness!
- Unsalted butter its important that your butter is at a cool room temperature, otherwise your cookies may spread.
- Granulated sugar the star ingredient!
- Eggs one whole egg with an extra egg yolk lends richness and chewiness to the texture, just make sure theyre at room temperature.
- Vanilla extract no sugar cookie recipe is complete without vanilla extract.
How to make SOFT sugar cookies:
The extra egg yolk helps to add more moisture and richness for a soft and chewy texture. The other trick is found in the size of the dough ball. a whole 3 tablespoons in each!
This creates larger cookies that spread out perfectly with ultra-soft centers. Whatever you do, dont overbake your cookies. They should still look ever so slightly wet in the center when you pull them from the oven.
Why did my sugar cookies spread?
To prevent flat sugar cookies that spread into little puddles, its important to make sure your butter is at a COOL room temperature.
Your sticks of butter should give slightly when pressed with your finger but still hold their shape. To be precise, your butter should be 67°F.
How to get a crinkly top in cookies:
How long to bake drop style sugar cookies:
How To Make Sugar Cookies:
- In a mixing bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar. Add eggs, milk, and vanilla and mix.
- In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients. Slowly mix dry ingredients into the wet mixture until you form a large dough ball. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
- Lightly flour your counter top. Roll dough ball out to ½ inch to ¾ inch thick. Cut the dough into shapes with cookie cutters .
- Place cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for about 8-11 minutes. Cookies will be very light colored and just set , when you take them out. They will harden as they cool, so dont over bake them.
Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe For Every Holiday
Ive had this sugar cookie recipe on the blog for years now, and Ive been surprised at the level of traffic on this recipe for EVERY holiday. People just want sugar cookies for every occasion! They are a classic! Ive picked out a few of the holidays and linked to cookie cutters that would work for each one, just in case youre looking for some cute ones. Sugar cookies are so fun to make all year long!
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What Makes These The Best Sugar Cookies
- For me, what I love about these soft and chewy sugar cookies is that this recipe is so easy. Its just a handful of simple ingredients. You dont have to plan ahead because you dont have to chill the sugar cookie dough. Finally, you roll them into balls, roll them in granulated sugar .
- I love how versatile this recipe is in terms of decorating sugar cookies. You can leave them plain , you can frost them or fill them with sprinkles.
- In fact, we love using this particular sugar cookie recipe for cookie decorating gift baskets. We put the baked sugar cookies, a jar of homemade frosting and a variety of holiday sprinkles and deliver it to friends and neighbors for a fun afternoon of cookie decorating.
Rich, buttery, and chewy. Sugar done right.
How Do You Keep Sugar Cookies Soft
- When cooling I like to let cool about 10 minutes on a wire rack then transfer to an airtight container to finish cooling to trap in moisture and soften the otherwise lightly crisp edges.
- For the frosting I like it to be just a littler more wet then traditional buttercream so that moisture soaks into the cookies and makes them even more moist and soft.
- You can also try adding a slice of bread to the same container with the cookies to keep them soft, just dont place it on the cookies.
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The Best Soft Sugar Cookie Recipe
Im doing dishes in the kitchen when all the sudden I hear the saddest, most piercing cry come out of 4 month old Valentine. Slightly panicked, I ask Eric what happened, and he said, I kissed her. Oh the drawbacks of having a beard. This actually happens all the time. Poor baby faced Valentine!
I went running last week for the first time in a very long time I ran for 20 solid minutes and probably only went a mile and a half.
Anyway, when I got home both of my big toes were killing me, and since then they have developed dark bruises underneath my nails. You know what this means, right. Get new shoes? Learn how to run the right way? No. Listen people, its a sign. The sign says DONT EVER GO RUNNING AGAIN KAREN.
Instead, eat alllll the sugar cookies.
Im super excited to share this recipe with you guys today! Ive been working on this post for a while now. The recipe is adapted from my sister-in-law Sandi. I wrote it down in pencil in a notebook years ago and have been tweaking it ever since. They are good sugar cookies, for sure, but I was on the hunt for a secret ingredient that would make them next-level.
Heres the thing. Sugar cookies for me MUST be super soft. No crunchy edges please. I want a THICK cookie with a THICK layer of frosting. And please, none of this royal icing business. Give me the goods. Go buttercream or go home.
How To Make Soft Sugar Cookies
So one of the best parts of these cookies is that they are quick and straightforward to make. Heres a quick overview. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for specific amounts and instructions.
- Cream the butter and sugars together until light in color and fluffy. Youll actually be able to see the lighter color, so dont quit mixing until you see it.
- Add the egg and vanilla. Next youll add the egg, then the vanilla extract.
- Next are the dry ingredients. Now add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- Mix it until its all combined. But dont over-mix it. Over mixing any batter or dough can lead to toughness.
- Bake. Divide the cookie dough into 1 1/2 inch balls of dough and roll them in a little bit of granulated white sugar. Place the balls onto a cookie sheet and bake them!
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How Long To Bake Sugar Cookies
Mine baked just enough at 7 minutes, but keep an eye on them to see how they do in your oven. I removed mine when they had spread nicely, looked just done enough without looking undercooked, and the edges werent quite golden. Dont worry if the centers of the cookies are still quite soft, they will firm up as they cool.
These sugar cookies are the perfect example of a treat that doesnt have to be fancy to be awesome. In fact, I think something simple like this is one of the most impressive things when done well and right. And these are SO right!
Buttercream Frosting Versus Royal Icing
Ive figured out my absolute favorite buttercream frosting to top these cookies with! This simple recipe has a few secret ingredients that give it the best, most nuanced flavor. I love it!
But I know, I know, some of you are going to want to stack these cookies for shipping. No, you cant use buttercream if youre doing that. You need royal icing and a royal amount of patience. THESE cookies are meant for jamming into your mouth immediately with a sticky, soft, glorious buttercream that will get all over your fingers. No apologies. If you insist on using royal icing , be very careful not to break the cookies. These cookies are much more delicate than your average sugar cookie, meaning they break easier when shipping.
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How To Decorate And Frost A Sugar Cookie
These sprinkle-covered cookies are pretty fun on their own, but a little frosting never hurts! Spread some buttercream on top and add more sprinkles for a fun and colorful treat. Or top the buttercream with those shaped sprinkles youre itching to use! Just make sure your cookies are completely cool before frosting.
Can You Freeze Soft Sugar Cookies After Frosting
Bless us all, yes! So much yes. You can bake all throughout November to get Christmas cookies ready, or bake weeks before that wedding youre providing treats for. Trust me, I always do this!
- Remove your cookies from the oven and let them set up on the pan for 5 minutes.
- Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
- Transfer cookies to a cold pan.
- Put the whole pan in the freezer for 1-2 hours
- Transfer the frozen cookies into a large food storage container.
- Store for up to 2 months if they are unfrosted. I would only do about 4 weeks if they are already frosted. More on that below.
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Soft Sugar Cookie Ingredients
These are the ingredients you’ll need to make this irresistibly soft sugar cookie recipe:
· Shortening and butter: This sugar cookie recipe calls for both shortening and butter for the softest, most tender results.· Sugars: The cookies are sweetened with white sugar and decorated with colored decorating sugar.· Eggs: Whole eggs add moisture and act as a binding agent.· Vanilla: Vanilla extract lends complexity and enhances the overall flavor.· Flour: All-purpose flour creates structure and helps hold the dough together.· Baking powder: Baking powder acts as a leavener, which means it helps the cookies rise.· Salt: A teaspoon of salt enhances the flavors of the other ingredients.
How Long To Bake Soft Sugar Cookies
The length of time youll want to bake your sugar cookies is largely dependent on your oven and your personal preference. I would keep a close eye on the first batch you make. I used a 3 tablespoon cookie scoop and made these extra large, so mine took about 12 minutes. For smaller cookies, using about 1 tablespoon of cookie dough, the bake time may be just 8 minutes. Youre looking for a nice light golden brown around the edges, and some crackling along the top. Be careful not to over bake, or you will lose the soft and chewy factor.
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The Trick Is The Order Of Steps
Notice how I roll out the dough BEFORE chilling it in the refrigerator? Thats my trick and you can see me doing it in the video tutorial above.
Let me explain why I do this. Just like when youre making chocolate chip cookies, to prevent the cookies from over-spreading, the cookie dough must chill in the refrigerator. Roll out the dough right after you prepare it, then chill the rolled-out dough. Dont chill the cookie dough and then try to roll it out because it will be too cold and difficult to work with. I divide the dough in half before rolling it out and highly recommend you do the same. Smaller sections of dough are simply more manageable.
Another trick! Roll out the cookie dough directly on a silicone baking mat or parchment paper so you can easily transfer it to the refrigerator. Pick it up, put it on a baking sheet, and place it in the refrigerator. If you dont have enough room for two baking sheets in your refrigerator, stack the pieces of rolled out dough on top of each other.
How Can I Tell When The Cookies Are Done
You know how most cookie recipes say to cook until the edges are golden? Just say no! No, I tell you! Theyll be hard and crunchy instead of soft, tender, and chewy. You do not want the edges or tops to brown at all. The cookies should be barely browned on the bottom. When the cookies are baking, they will have a shiny surface on top. When they are fully baked, they will appear completely matte across the top, but not at all brown. Watch carefully! Over baking is a death sentence for soft cookies.
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How To Make Sugar Cookie Frosting
Sugar cookie frosting is super easy to make. Its very similar to a buttercream but not as much whipping is required and the ratios are a little different. To prepare it:
How To Store And Freeze Sugar Cookies
- Counter: Store these cookies on the counter in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- Fridge: If you want to extend their shelf life, you can pop the container in the fridge. The cookies will keep in the fridge for up to 7 days.
- Freezer: These cookies freeze nicely too! Just let the baked cookies come to room temperature, then pack them in a ziplock bag and freeze them. Thaw them in the fridge or on the counter when youre ready to eat them.
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What Makes These Christmas Cookies So Soft
There are a few reasons this recipe results in pillowy soft Christmas cookies:
· A teaspoon of baking powder helps the cookies rise during baking, which creates a fluffy texture.· This recipe calls for margarine instead of butter because margarine doesn’t spread as much during baking.· Two whole eggs add tons of moisture, keeping the cookies nice and tender.
Sugar Cookie Tips & Tools
Before I leave you with the recipe, let me suggest some useful sugar cookie tools. These are the exact products I use and trust in my own kitchen:
- Silicone Baking Mats or Parchment Sheets
- Food Coloring: Liquid food coloring can alter the consistency of the icing, so I recommend gel food coloring. For the pictured cookies, I used a few drops of dusty rose and 1 drop of sky blue.
- Piping Tips/Squeeze Bottle: If youre using royal icing, I recommend Wilton piping tip #4 for outlining and flooding. This is a wonderful basic piping tip to have in your collection. If youre using my easy glaze icing, I recommend using a squeeze bottle.
- Piping Bag: If youre using royal icing and a piping tip, you need a disposable piping bag or reusable piping bag.
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How To Store Sugar Cookies
You can extend the life of your cookies by storing them in an airtight container or bag at room temperature. You can also freeze them for several months. Wrap them in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil, and freeze until ready to eat. When you defrost them, the moisture may cause the sprinkles to bleed a bitbut theyll still taste delicious!
If youre not ready to bake right away, you can also freeze the raw cookie dough. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. Stored this way, sugar cookie dough will keep for several months. When youre ready to bake, place the dough in the fridge to defrost, which should take about 24 hours.
Lets go cookie crazy! Share a picture of your cookies on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and tag us @wiltoncakes so we can see! Happy baking!
Looking for more delicious sugar cookie recipes? Check these out:
How To Make Sugar Cookies Recipe Step
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat, such as a silicone mat.
Cream together room temperature butter and sugar with a stand mixer or hand mixer in a large bowl, until light and fluffy . Then add egg and mix until well combined. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl to be sure butter and sugar are well combined. But be sure to not over-beat the butter and sugar when creaming it together. Doing so could cause the cookies to rise and fall flat when baking.
Stir in flour, baking powder and salt and combine these dry ingredients into the mixture. Then gently stir in vanilla extract into the cookie dough.
Scoop cookie dough with a tablespoon and roll into a ball. Be sure to not over handle the balls of dough as will make butter too warm. If the dough seems too warm or sticky, chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, then proceed with scooping and rolling into balls.
Add sugar to a large separate bowl for rolling. Lightly roll cookie dough balls in the granulated sugar to coat them. This adds a sparkly touch that lends a crisp little coating on the cookie once it is baked. While you can certainly skip this little step, I highly recommend that you not. It is so worth it!
Place each rolled cookie dough ball onto a parchment lined or silicone mat lined cookie sheet, about 1 ½ to 2 inches apart. Make sure to provide ample spacing between each cookie for best results.
Lightly press each cookie down with finger.
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Storing & Freezing Tips
Making sugar cookies ahead of time and freezing cookie dough and cookies
Freezing sugar cookie dough. This sugar cookie dough recipe freezes beautifully. I love having cookie dough already mixed up, so I can bake a special treat whenever the craving hits or we host an impromptu get together.
Scoop out balls of cookie dough. Place the cookie dough in a freezer-safe baggie and freeze the cookie dough for up to 3 months.
Bake from frozen. Baking from frozen will work just fine. The tops of your cookies may darken a bit more, but they will still be fabulous. Follow all of the cooking instructions but add a minute or two onto the bake time.
Freezing baked cookies. These already-baked soft sugar cookies freeze very well. Store in a freezer-safe container or baggie and freeze the cookies for up to 3 months.
Storing baked cookies. Baked cookies will keep in an airtight container or zip-top baggie at room temperature for about 1 week, but I cant imagine them lasting that long!
You wont be able to eat just one of these amazing soft sugar cookies, I promise you that. I apologize in advance, if your pants fit a little tighter!