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{VIDEO} THE BEST Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

The perfect recipe for cookie decorating. These tender, soft cookies, with crisp, clean, perfect edges, are the perfect canvas for a flood of sweet icing on top.

 


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If you love this recipe, you are going to love my watercolor sugar cookies or my Lollipop Cookies, so be sure to check those videos out too!

Literally nothing is worse than when you make a batch of beautiful cookie dough and you cut them out all perfect, pop them in the oven and get all of your icings and decorations ready... then, the timer goes off and you go to pull the cookies out of the oven and you have a bunch of puffy blobs that do not look like the perfect shapes that went in the oven 8 minutes ago.

So, to avoid that horrific baking fail, this is my go-to sugar cookie recipe for perfect, thick cut-out cookies every time. You can use pretty much any shaped cookie cutter and decorate these as simple or as elaborate as you want. The cookies don't spread and loose their shape when you bake them and they come out perfectly soft and tender with a little bit of crunch around the edges.

A little trick I use, is rolling the dough between parchment paper or wax paper. This way you don't need to add extra flour to roll it out, and it doesn't stick to rolling pin or the table, so you can just pop it in the fridge to firm up a bit and you're all set to cut out your shapes. 

Another tip for when you're cutting out your shapes, is to work quickly while the dough is still nice and cold form the fridge. This is going to help when you transfer the shapes to your cookie sheet. So, you can even work with half the dough at a time, and leave the other half in the fridge to keep it nice and chilled.

This dough is also super versatile and can be flavored with a little espresso powder or cinnamon, lemon zest, or even sprinkles! What I love most about these, is the baked cookies freeze wonderfully so you can make ahead of time, too.

 I decorate these in a simple, sweet, hard-drying cookie icing that could not be easier. I just spoon it into a little plastic ziploc bag and pipe an outline around my cookies and then thin the icing out a little to "flood" in the centers.

They're great for a kids cookie decorating activity, perfect for the holidays and a great custom treat for any kind of celebration.










These cookies are perfect for the holidays too! Get creative and enjoy.




Classic Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

Yield: about 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

Roll Out Sugar Cookies
  • 2 3/4 all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, add up to 1/4 cup extra if needed
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened or cold cut up into cubes
  • 1 cup (192g) white granulated sugar 
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, optional
    • Confetti: Add 2 tablespoons sprinkles
    • Lemon: Add 1-2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest plus
    • Chocolate Chip: Replace half of sugar with brown sugar and add 1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips
    • Espresso: Add 2 tablespoons espresso powder
    • Spiced: Add 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 

Cookie Icing
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 teaspoons milk or water
  • 2 teaspoons corn syrup 
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • food coloring, optional
 

Directions

Cookies:
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. With an electric mixer, beat together softened butter and sugar on medium speed until smooth and combined, about 1-2 minutes. On low speed, beat in the egg and vanilla. Slowly beat in the four mixture until dough forms and is no longer sticky, adding up to 1/4 cup extra flour as necessary. 

Roll out dough about 1/3-1/4 inch thick, between two pieces of parchment paper to avoid sticking to your work surface. Refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour or over night.

When ready to bake, remove dough from fridge. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter and transfer to a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet. Chill in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up, so cookies hold their shape better while baking. Bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on size. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all dough is used. Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Store in an air tight container until ready to decorate (Up to a week at room temp, or frozen for a few months).

Icing:
Whisk together all ingredients until smooth and thick. Divide icing into separate bowls and add food coloring until you have reached your desired color. Transfer to a plastic ziploc bag and press out any air.

Snip off a tiny piece of the corner of the bag and pipe an outline onto tops of cooled cookies. Once dry, add an additional teaspoon of milk or water to the icing to flood the rest of cookie in with icing. Decorate as desired. Let dry overnight.