Holidays are not complete without sugar cookies. They are a great family tradition, treat and gift!
Every holiday my son and I make sugar cookies and attach them to gifts. We also bring piled high plates to parties, the school's office, and to our favorite trade businesses (automotive repair shop and hair salon).
Everyone LOVES getting sugar cookies, even my son chooses them over chocolate chip cookies (WOW) and soon you will too!
I normally make the dough and pre-roll it before he comes home from school (he's 7). When he gets off the bus he knows his job is to help cut the dough into fun shapes (and he loves it). After baking and cooling, we get creative and decorate them together (great bonding time).
I have had so many people tell me their troubles with making cut-out sugar cookies, so I have decided to share this recipe and techniques that help make them so wonderful.
This recipe is a must have, so make sure you Pin it for later, you WILL want to make it again.
*This is not my bakery recipe - for now, it's my secret recipe ;-)
I have made this recipe several times and it tastes great, holds its shape and is perfect for beginners.
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS RECIPE
~ It's easy to make.
~ It calls for simple ingredients.
~ You only need one bowl.
~ The dough is easy to roll.
~ The cookies won't spread in the oven.
~ You can eat them plain or with icing; either way, THEY ARE STILL DELICIOUS.
~ They will become a tradition in your home.
Ready to ice your cookies? > Get the Royal Icing Recipe Here <
1 cups softened unsalted Butter (2 sticks)
1 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar
2 large Eggs
1 Tbspn Pure Vanilla Extract
1/2 tspn Salt
1/2 tspn baking powder (optional)
4 cups All Purpose Flour
Powdered Sugar (for dusting)
DIRECTIONS & TECHNIQUES:
MAKING THE DOUGH
To prevent over mixing and to prevent air from getting in your dough (which will change the texture and quality of your cookies) , in a large bowl, by hand - using a strong silicone/rubber spatula: Cream the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt together - STOP as soon as the ingredients are fully combined. Fold in the baking powder.
Now add the flour. In this step you can continue mixing by hand or use your dough attachment (on a low setting) on your stand up mixer. When you add the flour, add about 1 cup at a time and mix, when it's fully incorporated, repeat the process until you have added all the flour.
ROLLING THE DOUGH
Dust your working space with powdered sugar (NOT FLOUR). Knead your dough, then you will want to divide your dough and make 3 balls out of this recipe portion.
If your dough seems too soft (common when it's warm and humid), firm it up by completely wrapping the balls in plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge for about 20 - 30 minutes (set a timer, and check on it - if it gets too cold/hard you will have to wait for it to warm up to roll it out).
Roll each dough ball between two sheets of parchment paper that have been lightly dusted with Powdered Sugar.
I recommend keeping your dough about 1/4" thick.
(For this recipe you will need 4 sheets of parchment paper that have been cut to the size of your cookie sheets [baking pans] - perfection not required. You will make 2 sheets of rolled dough [dough sheets.])
Once you have rolled your sheets, carefully transfer your rolled dough sheets onto a cookie sheet (for stability), if you are gentle enough you can use one cookie sheet and stack all three dough sheets on top of each other; or you can just use 3 separate cookie sheets. (I like the sheet pans with sides because you can stagger them on top of each other in the fridge.)
Now put your pans of rolled dough in the fridge for about 20 minutes or until the dough is firm.
Once your dough is rolled and firm, it is ready to cookie cut - THE BEST PART AND KID APPROVED!
Remove your dough from the fridge and slide the dough sheet off the baking sheet. Remove the top layer of parchment paper.
Using a small bowl of powdered sugar dip your (completely dried) cookie cutter into the powdered sugar (this helps prevent it from sticking to your dough) and start cookie cutting!
Transfer your cookie shapes onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet (I prefer to use reusable silicone mats).
When you are done cookie cutting, put your trays (filled with cut-out cookies) back in the fridge for about 20 minutes (or freezer for 10-15 minutes).
Once your cut out dough is fully chilled and firm again, place the sheets in a pre-heated oven at 375 degrees F.
Bake for 6-10 minutes*
*Baking time depends on the size and thickness of your cookies, as well as, how many racks you are using (unless using convection). 1/4"-thick, 3"-diameter cookies, using 3 oven racks, usually take about 8 minutes to bake. But I suggest setting a timer and checking your cookies at 6 minutes.
You will know your cookies are done by the touch, if you touch the center and it feels doughy - they are not done; if it appears greasy in the center - they are not done.
The cookies are done when you gently touch the center and they are soft (not squishy) and have no greasy residue.
These cookies should not brown at all. If you see browning, the cookies need to be pulled out of the oven immediately.
After pulling your cookies out of the oven, let them cool for a few minutes before using a flat spatula (turner) to transfer your baked cookies onto cooling racks. Allow your cookies to cool completely before icing.
STORING THE DOUGH AND SUGAR COOKIES
If you have not rolled your dough, you can store it in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 week. When you are ready to use, thaw the dough by leaving the dough in the container and just set it on the counter. Be sure to knead your dough well before rolling.
You can store your baked and fully cooled cookies in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month; or at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
*FROST = CONTAINER WAS NOT AIRTIGHT
**Ingredient spoilage dates will supersede the above time-frames.**
ICING THE COOKIES
These are best when decorated with royal icing. Recipe found > here. <
Softened butter is butter that has been brought to room temperature by leaving it out overnight. Do NOT microwave the butter. Do NOT use margarine. You can quicken the process by setting a glass cup over the stick (standing upright) and placing it near a window. I do not recommend using butter that has been left out for more than 1 day - the fats separate over time and too much separation will change your cookie's composition.
Don't use wooden utensils - they will absorb the fats and liquid the recipe needs.
You will need to repeat the knead, roll, chill process for scraps.
The repetitive chilling process prevents the fats to separate and prevents the cut-outs from spreading in the oven.
You can color the dough by kneading in powdered food coloring.
If you do not want to cookie cut, but still want perfect circles, after kneading the dough you can roll the dough into a log, then wrap completely with plastic wrap, chill in the fridge until completely firm - about 3 hours, then "slice" cookies (like slicing a cucumber) and bake!
Let me know how your cookies came out below!
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