Last year, I found a recipe for the best sugar cookies, and we tried it out. The recipe was perfect for making shaped cookies and decorating them for Christmas. They didn’t lose shape when cooked and taste delicious.
Now, I am not taking credit for this recipe at all. I am merely just passing it on with my notes on what we did and what worked best for us.
Growing up, we didn’t make the Christmas sugar cookies every year, but I do remember sometimes sitting around the table with my cousins and decorating cookies. We always had fun the years we did. It just wasn’t something that we made tradition, like our Christmas Sandwiches.
And although it wasn’t something I always did, I wanted to start the tradition with my boys once they were old enough. Especially now, since Tyler loves helping in the kitchen so much, it’s a great family time. And Ryan is old enough to help decorate and not just eat it all right away, so we made a big batch of cookies this week for friends and neighbors, and of course, for ourselves as well.
The recipe comes from another food blog called Num’s the Word, where you can read all about how she tried out six different methods to figure out what worked the best and did blind taste tests with her family. In the end, this recipe won out. Anyways, I’ll let you read more about it on her blog, found here: https://numstheword.com/best-rolled-sugar-cookies/
Step by Step
Start by setting the oven to 400F and preparing two baking sheets. I like to use my cooking stone as one, and used a regular baking sheet lined with parchment paper for the second. You want to have at least two pans in rotation so you can have one pan being prepared while the other is baking.
Cream together your sugar and butter, stirring it on high for about 3 minutes. You want it to get nice and fluffy!
Then add the eggs, mixing after each one, followed by the salt and baking powder. Mix again until everything is incorporated.
Stir in 1/4 cup of buttermilk, vanilla, and almond extract. Then add in 2 1/2 cups of flour, stirring in 1/2 cup at a time. Add in the remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk and remaining 2 cups of flour.
Test our your dough, and see if it’s too sticky. I didn’t think mine was at first, and when I started to roll it, the dough was a mess. I had to put it back in the mixer and add another cup of flour. You want it to pull apart pretty easily but not be crumbly. I would take a small scoop and try to roll it out and see how it feels. When you add more flour, if it needs it, do it in small amounts so you don’t put in too much.
When you are ready to start making your cookie shapes, sprinkle the work surface with powdered sugar. As noted in the original recipe, these are sugar cookies, so it makes sense to roll them in powdered sugar. I like to use my sifter for this because it gives a nice light layer of powdered sugar and covers the counter.
Roll your dough out to about 1/4″ thickness, and use your cookie cutters to make the shapes. I like to press all the cutters in on as much of the dough as possible, then pull out the scraps, leaving the shapes on the counter.
Transfer the cookies to your prepared baking sheets and bake for about 10-12 minutes. The cookies should just start to get golden at the edges. If they are cooked too long, they lose the soft sugar cookie texture that you are aiming for. The tops should not get golden at all.
I let the cookies sit on the pan for just a couple minutes when they come out of the oven, then carefully move them to a wire rack to cool. If you plan to frost and decorate the cookies (and really, who makes sugar cookies without the frosting and sprinkles), then you need to make sure they are completely cooled before trying to add anything to them. We baked these one day and then decorated the next.
And, of course, eating them is always the best part!
Christmas Sugar Cookies
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup salted butter (room temperature)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 4 1/2 – 5 1/2 cups flour
- Powdered Sugar
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Prepare 2 baking sheets and set aside.
- Cream together sugar and butter for 3 minutes or until fluffy
- Add eggs and mix again
- Add salt, and baking powder then blend
- Blend in 1/4 cup buttermilk, vanilla and almond extract
- Add 2 1/2 cups flour (1/2 cup at a time)
- Add remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk
- Then add the remaining 2 cups of flour. The batter should be smooth, elastic-like and slightly sticky. If too sticky, add more flour a little at a time (up to 1 cup – be careful to not put TOO much flour in the dough).
- When ready to roll out, sprinkle the surface with powdered sugar
- Roll to 1/4 in thickness.
- Cut out with favorite shapes and transfer to prepared pan
- Bake 10-12 minutes until the edges just start to get a hint of golden brown, making sure to not overcook
- Allow cookies to cool completely then frost
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