These perfectly shaped and decorated sugar cookies are my favorite cut-outs for the Christmas season and any other festive occasion! Use the simple icing recipe to easily frost the cookies with a delicate smooth finish.
We have finally reached the day where I get to share my favorite sugar cookie cut-out recipe with you! I love this one because the cookies are thick and soft, and the dough is very easy to work with. It takes just an hour or two of refrigeration, then roll it and cut it – bake it then frost it. Simple as that.
The frosting recipe is another favorite of mine because it’s extremely easy to mix up with a handheld mixer (or stand mixer) and is very versatile. It makes plenty so you can divide into separate bowls to use different colors if you wish. I love the AmeriColor Gel Paste Food Color because it only takes a drop or two to get a nice potent color.
There really are no secret tricks to this recipe. As most recipes that call for room temperature butter, make sure it’s just that. Not too slimy or melted, but room temperature where a finger poked in the butter dents it easily.
After making the dough, divide it in half and wrap each tightly in plastic wrap, in a round flat thick disc shape. This lets you work with one half at a time so while you are cutting out shapes and baking them, the other half can stay chilled in the fridge.
When rolling out the dough, keep it thick at no less than 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. Do not try to roll it too thin just to stretch the amount of cut-outs you get, because the thickness is key here. You’ll get enough cookies, trust me. I believe I got about 30-40 cookies this last weekend when I made them for my parents’ visit. I brought half of them to a Christmas party and left the other half at home to munch during the weekend. Plenty enough.
There were empty plates by the end of each event. That tells you something. 🙂
These perfectly shaped and decorated sugar cookies are my favorite cut-outs for the Christmas season and any other festive occasion!
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoons milk
- Food coloring, optional
- Sprinkles and other decorations, optional
Cream together the sugar and butter with a mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, then the vanilla and mix until combined. Stir in the sour cream and beat on high speed for 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl at the end.
In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and beat on low until just combined. Divide the dough in half and wrap each half tightly with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days.
When ready to roll out, cut and bake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
Working with one half of dough at a time and leaving the other chilling in the fridge: On a clean floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/2-inch thick (no less than 1/4-inch thick). I recommend flipping the dough at least once while rolling and adding more flour to the work surface and rolling pin. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and carefully transfer to prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, or until cookies just start to look dry, rotating pans halfway through the baking time. Do not over-bake! They might not look done, but they are! Let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Cool completely before frosting. Frost the cookies using my Easy Icing recipe.
Beat the sugar, butter, vanilla and 4 tablespoons of the milk in a mixing bowl on low speed until combined. Add the remaining milk, 1 tablespoon at a time until smooth. Switch to high speed and beat until the frosting is a spreadable consistency, but still thick enough so it's not too runny. Add more milk, if needed, 1 tablespoon at a time. If it gets too runny, add more powdered sugar, as needed, 1/4 cup at a time. Use an offset spatula to spread frosting on the cookies, leaving 1/4-inch edge.