No Fail Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

This is the BEST sugar cookie recipe- dough chills for 5 minutes, cookies hold their shape perfectly when baked, soft and flavorful, perfect for decorating. These get topped with an even easier royal icing!

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What are the holidays with a perfect, homemade sugar cookie? I’m glad we agree. 😉

This is one of the most widely circulated, most frequently passed down recipe in my family. EVERYONE loves these cookies. I have been making this recipe for over 10 years (basically since I could bake) and it has never failed me. Now that I think of it… these sugar cookies were probably the first recipe I ever made.

This sugar cookie dough is my absolute favorite and I have spent 10 years perfecting it and I feel like what better way to kick-out Christmas baking season than to share this heavenly recipe with you!

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These cookies are…..

SUPER THICK
SUPER SOFT
Flavorful
Holds shape with very little expanding
Minimal chilling time (5 mins!!!)
Holds a lot of icing for decorating. AKA Perfect for decorating
Tender
Fluffy
Slightly crisp on the edges
Perfectly sweet
Amazing with royal icing
Satisfying
Simple
Easily doubled
Shareable

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My favorite part about these cookies is how thick and soft they are. Of course, that quality about them all depends on the baker – thin cookie = crisp cookie, thick cookie = soft cookie. It all depends on how thick you roll out the dough.

Tips & tricks:

  • If you like a thick dough, the key is to roll out the dough with light pressure on the rolling pin. This allows for a thicker, more even dough.
  • The key to perfect shapes is a well floured surface!! This means a we floured table + well floured top of sugar cookie dough + floured rolling pin. The extra coating of flour ensures that there isn’t any sticky dough messes.

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And of course no sugar cookie is complete without a perfect royal icing, right??

So many of you have emailed asking for an icing recipe that will harden and that is also easy to decorate with. Well folks, the day is finally here. This royal icing is also in my “no-fail” category. Royal icing shouldn’t be a scary baking concept to master. (Even though I feel like many of you think it is. Hey, even I used to think it was intimidating.) But this recipe is not. The royal icing in this recipe comes together so quickly and easily.

One important note:

As much as I will try to layout the perfect formula for royal icing, I have found that with royal icing ,it’s all about personal judgement and trial and error. Depending different factors (temperature, altitude, etc.) sometimes I need less water and sometimes I need more. I like my icing to be tiny enough that it will spread out a little bit after icing because when the icing spreads out, that’s when you get the smooth surface. But you don’t want it to be so glossy that it doesn’t harden. You should be able to hold a spoon of it up side down and and it should flop over and fall down the spoon. If this happens, add a little more powdered sugar until you get the right consistency.

You’re going to love these cookies. No seriously. What you are waiting for?

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No Fail Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

This is the BEST sugar cookie recipe- dough chills for 5 minutes, cookies hold their shape perfectly when baked, soft and flavorful, perfect for decorating. These get topped with an even easier royal icing!

Ingredients:

For the cookies:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons. baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the icing:

  • 3 3/4 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons meringue powder(I buy at Michael’s)
  • 6 Tablespoons warm water
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Directions:

For the cookies:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamed and smooth – about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 or 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and beat on medium-high until fully combine, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  • Whisk the flour, baking powder , and salt together in a medium bowl. Turn the mixer down to low and add about half of the flour mixture, beating until just barely combined. Add the rest of the flour and continue mixing until just combined. The dough will be soft.
  • Lay a piece of parchment paper on your counter as a work space. Flour parchment paper and dump dough onto paper. Flour top of dough and rolling pin. Gently roll out dough to 1/3-inch thickness or whatever thickness desired. The thicker the cookies the softer the cookies will be. Cut out shapes and use a spatula to transfer to prepared baking sheet. All cookies will not fit on one baking sheet.
  • When one cookie sheet is full refrigerate for 5 minutes, then bake for 10 minutes. (Times may vary depending on thickness. Bake until edges start to turn golden brown.)
  • Repeat with remaining dough.

For the icing:

  • Add all icing ingredients and beat on high for 4-5 minutes, until smooth. If you want icing thicker add a little more sugar. If you need it thinner (flow consistency) add a little bit more water. Trial and error.
  • I put my icing into separate bowls and add food coloring(I prefer paste, from Michael’s) to make a variety of colors:)
  • Fill icing into bags or spread icing on cookies.