It’s time to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the very best cut-out sugar cookies!
Why do I feel the need to decorate cookies for every holiday? Sounds like a delicious problem to have.😁
Why I Love This Recipe
We all have cookie recipes from our youth, but there is also room to explore new horizons! I think my Gramma would understand. 💖
This cut-out cookie recipe is a tad more sophisticated than what I grew up with. It has a completely different flavor, and the end product has a bit more polish.
I love this new recipe. The cookies are melt-in-your-mouth delicious! They are soft yet firm enough to provide the perfect edges for beautifully shaped and decorated cookies.
The recipe has served me well for years; it’s dependable and failproof.
Gather a few of your favorite people and enjoy decorating together. I usually make the cookies a day or two ahead of time to break up the tasks and let my guests just enjoy the artsy part.
Below are the main ingredients you’ll need; see the recipe below for the full list.
Unsalted Softened Butter
Butter makes your sugar cookies tender and gives them a wonderful flavor. It will also affect the texture of the cookie. A cookie made with butter will be thinner and crisper than if made with margarine or shortening.
It is best to use unsalted butter because it allows you to choose the amount of added salt rather than working around what is in the butter. Depending on the brand of butter, the amount of salt can vary a lot.
There are different types of butter to choose from. I am using regular organic butter, but if you use European-style butter, such as Kerrygold, cookies will be slightly crisper and thinner.
See the tips section for ideas to get your butter to room temperature quickly.
White Confectioners Sugar
A cookie made with powdered sugar will be tender and soft. The fineness of the sugar dissolves quickly and gives a smooth consistency to this cookie recipe.
You will love the melt-in-your-mouth texture in these sugar cookies and in my best royal icing recipe.
This recipe calls for a large egg at room temperature. Eggs provide moisture and protein to the dough. This helps to set the cookie, make it chewy, and prevent it from spreading too much.
A room-temperature egg will whip to a higher volume and cream better with the fat. See the tips section for ideas to get your egg to room temperature fast.
I use unbleached, all-purpose flour to make this recipe.
How to Make Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
Below is an overview of the steps to make your decorated cookies.
Step 1 Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
Using a stand mixer, cream the butter and confectioners’ sugar until smooth, approximately 1-2 minutes. Blend in the egg, vanilla, and almond extract. Scrape down the bowl. Add in dry ingredients. Mix at low speed just until combined.
Step 2 Form the dough into a ball and divide it into 4 equal parts. Shape them into flat discs. If the dough is too sticky to handle, add flour, a teaspoon at a time, until drier.
Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill until firm, about 1-2 hours.
Step 3 Roll dough out onto a well-floured surface, approximately 1/4 inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters. Arrange on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Re-roll any leftover dough. Depending on the cookie-cutter size, you should get approximately 28-35 cookies.
Bake at 375° for 8 to 10 minutes. Cookie edges should just start to become golden. I like to pull them out before they are brown. Let cool for 5 minutes on a cookie sheet before moving it to a wire rack.
Step 4 Decorate using my royal icing frosting recipe. Check out the post, and I’ll show you how.
Of course, you can just dive right into making this recipe, and you will probably have great results! But if you want to learn more about how to make your cookies even better, read the cookie-making tips below.
Also, check out this post for more ideas to improve your overall cookie game!
Incorrectly measuring the flour is probably the number one reason a cookie recipe doesn’t turn out.
Your best way to measure the flour is by weight with a scale. This ensures that each batch of your cookies comes out consistently.
If you need to use measuring cups, use a large spoon to scoop the flour into the measuring cup. Not the other way around.
Do not shake the cup, and do not pack down the flour or tap the measuring cup. This can cause the flour to sink and give you an incorrect measurement.
When you are ready, use a knife or spatula to level off the top of the measuring cup.
Use Room Temperature Butter
Plan ahead and take the butter out of the refrigerator 1-2 hours before you begin so it’s ready when you start baking.
Important Do not microwave the butter. This will prevent the butter from properly creaming with the sugar and limit the best results.
Try one of these easy options to quickly soften butter:
1 Cut the butter into small cubes. This will allow it to soften faster.
2 Microwave approximately 2 cups of water in a microwave-safe container for 2 minutes, so it gets very hot. Meanwhile, place your butter in a heat-safe bowl.
When the 2 minutes is up, quickly remove the water from the microwave and put the butter in. Shut the door. Leave in the microwave for 10 minutes without turning it on. The remaining heat will soften the butter.
3 Place your cold butter in the smallest bowl it will fit in. Fill another slightly bigger bowl with warm water. Then, submerge the smaller bowl into the larger bowl for approximately 5-10 minutes.
Your butter should now be soft, at room temperature, and ready to use.
Use Room Temperature Eggs
A room-temperature egg will whip to a higher volume and cream better with the fat.
The easiest way to get your eggs to room temperature is to simply let them sit out of the refrigerator for approximately 30 minutes.
How to bring eggs to room temperature quickly:
To get room-temperature eggs quickly, put the eggs in a bowl of warm water for 10-15 minutes. Do not use super hot water because this can cook the eggs.
Do Not Over-Mix
This dough is a dream! Follow the directions closely. Do not overmix. Just mix long enough to incorporate all the ingredients, and then you are ready.
You may want to use clean hands to bring the dough together and pick up the last of the flour.
Chill Your Dough
Chilling your dough before baking will improve your cookies and make rolling out a breeze. It allows the fats to cool, will improve their texture, firm up the dough, and prevents them from spreading too much.
Divide the dough into four sections. Flatten each like a pancake and wrap in plastic wrap to chill. This will make it so much easier and faster when you are ready to roll out.
After you remove the dough from the fridge, let it sit at room temperature for approximately 5 minutes before rolling.
Keep An Eye On Your Cookies
Use the specified bake time as a guide. It’s better to check the cookies visually to see when they are ready. They are done when they look very light golden or set. All ovens and altitudes differ, so results will also vary.
Bake One Batch At A Time
I like to bake one pan at a time. If you have the flexibility, try it! This allows you to watch and remove the pan for precise doneness.
When baking more than one batch at a time, simply rotate the cookie sheets halfway through baking. This assures even baking.
We all grow fond of the kitchen tools that we rely on every day. If I had to narrow down to my top 3, here are my favorite kitchen and baking staples. Affiliate links below.
A workhorse in my kitchen for 25 years. The famous KitchenAid Mixer is now available in so many beautiful colors and styles. Even with glass bowls! Shop Mixers
Silicone Baking Mats
Silicone mats are the bomb. I use them for pretty much everything and anything that goes in the oven. Veggies, meats, cookies, etc.
I own the Silpat brand (affiliate links). I’ve had mine for years. The surface is slick and renewable; as a result, cleanup is quick and easy! Shop mats.
I absolutely love good-quality aluminum cookie and baking sheets and have had mine for decades. Nordicware’s are strong, sturdy, and make me feel so professional. Lol.
They actually still look fairly new because I protect them with the Silpat mats above. Shop baking pans.
Ready to start baking? Below is the best Cut-out Sugar cookie recipe. Enjoy!
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I hope you enjoy making these delicious sugar cookies.
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