The Best Cut Out Sugar Cookies
Why do I feel the need to decorate cookies for every holiday? Sounds like a delicious problem to have.😁 Time to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the best cut out sugar cookies!
I know you will enjoy making and decorating them as much as eating them.
Guaranteed Delicious Sugar Cookie 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. It has served me well for years, it’s dependable and failproof! My decorating skills need work but the process is so enjoyable!
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.
Tips to Improve or Fix Your Cut out Cookies
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! Click HERE.
Do Not Over-Mix The Dough
This dough is a dream! Follow the directions closely. Do not overmix. Just long enough to incorporate all the ingredients, 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 Cookie 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.
TIP 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 While Baking
Use the specified bake time as a guide, it’s not mandatory. It’s better to check the cookies instead, to see when they are ready. They are done when they look lightly browned or set. Follow your instincts. All ovens and altitudes differ, so results will also vary.
Bake One Batch At A Time
If you have the time and flexibility, you will have the best results by baking one pan at a time. You’ll be able to watch and remove the pan efficiently and on time.
If you need to bake more than one batch at a time, simply rotate the cookie sheets halfway through baking. This assures even baking.
Ingredients for the Decorated Sugar Cookies
Below are the items you’ll need, plus a few baking tips about the best way to choose and measure each ingredient.
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. Still yummy though!
Don’t forget to 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.
How do you get butter to room temperature quickly?
There are a few shortcuts to soften the butter fast, that work great.
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.
White Confectioners Sugar
Confectioners’ sugar refers to a type of refined sugar that has been finely ground into a powder. Powdered Sugar and Icing Sugar are other names for the same thing.
The fineness of the sugar dissolves quickly and provides a smooth consistency to recipes.
The powdered texture makes it a perfect fit for icing, frosting, candy, and cookie recipes. It is also ideal for a delicate dusting on fruits and desserts.
A cookie made with powdered sugar will be tender and soft.
You will love the melt-in-your-mouth texture in these sugar cookies and my Royal Icing Recipe HERE
If your confectioners’ sugar is lumpy, pour it through a sifter to make it fluffy and remove any clumps.
The correct way to measure powdered or icing sugar:
The best way to measure confectioners sugar is to scoop it out of the bag or container until it is full, then level it off with a knife or spatula. The measured amount of sugar added to a cookie recipe is more forgiving than the flour. If you are a little off, it will affect the sweetness but not the physical property of the cookie, as much. For best results, be as accurate as possible.
Room Temperature Eggs
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.
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.
Pure Vanilla Extract
Vanilla extract adds flavor and enhances all the other tastes in the recipe. I’d recommend a pure vanilla, not the one with artificial flavoring.
What is almond extract? It is a flavoring made with bitter almond oil and ethyl alcohol. Though it smells delicious, it tastes nothing like almonds. Almond extract is typically used in baked goods and desserts.
The sweet flavor is intense, so you do not need much to impart a glorious smell and flavor to your baking.
You can use an unbleached, all-purpose flour to make this recipe.
Incorrectly measuring the flour is probably the number one reason a cookie recipe doesn’t turn out.
The proper way to measure flour:
Your best way to measure the flour is by weight with a scale. This ensures that each batch of your cookies come 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.
A very important ingredient, salt, is a huge flavor enhancer that balances the sweetness in the cookies. It also makes them chewier.
What is Baking Powder? It’s a mixture of baking soda, cream of tartar (which is a dried acid), and sometimes cornstarch. Acting as a rising agent, the baking powder helps cookies puff up and also encourages browning.
What is the difference between baking powder and baking soda? Baking powder and baking soda are not the same. They are both leaveners, but they are chemically very different. Read more HERE
My Three Best Baking Tools
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! Mixers, HERE
I absolutely love aluminum cookie and baking sheets and have had mine for decades. Nordicware’s are strong, sturdy, and make me feel so professional. They actually still look fairly new because I protect them with the Silpat mats. For baking pans, click HERE
MM Mat Silicone Baking Mat
Silicone mats are the bomb. I use them for pretty much everything and anything that goes in the oven. Veggies, Meats, Cookies, etc. The surface is slick and renewable, as a result, cleanup is so quick and easy!
I own the Silpat brand linked below, however, these MM mats above, look very good and are highly rated. They may be on my list to try next time because they are cheaper!
The Silpat brand non-stick silicone mats are awesome. I’ve had mine for years. The surface is slick and renewable, as a result, cleanup is so quick and easy! HERE
Ready to start baking? Below is the Best Cut Out Sugar Cookies recipe. Enjoy!Print
This sugar cookie recipe is delicious, fun to make, and dependable. It always turns out beautifully! And who doesn’t need more of all that goodness in their lives? 😁
2½ cups (300–320 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup (8 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (3.5-4 oz.) confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
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 bowl.
Add in dry ingredients. Mix at low speed just until combined.
Form the dough into a ball, and divide 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.
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 cookie sheet before moving to a wire rack.
Cool completely before decorating. Decorate with my Royal Icing Recipe.
After decorating, leave the cookies out at room temperature until they are set or put in the refrigerator to speed up the process.
The cookies will stay soft for almost a week if stored in an airtight container. Mine actually lasted longer!
- Calories: 110
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I hope you enjoy making these delicious sugar cookies.
Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy. 😊
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