Who is excited for holiday baking?!?! This girl is! There’s nothing more festive than decorating sugar cookies while listening to Christmas music and sipping hot cocoa. And maybe adding some peppermint schnapps ;) I’ve made a few sugar cookie recipes over the years, like this chocolate-dipped version and these ugly Christmas sweater cookies. They are all really good (otherwise I wouldn’t share them), but if you’re looking for thick, soft sugar cookies this recipe is a must try! These cookies are soft, flavorful and perfect for decorating. The key is to not roll the dough too thin, about 1/4″ is perfect. It’s also important to not over bake them! With most cookies you know they’re done when they start to turn golden-brown, but with sugar cookies that means they’ve been in the oven too long and will turn out crispy. Instead, you want the cookies to set and gain just a little bit of color. They should also look slightly crackled across the center. With this recipe I found that 7 minutes at 375F is ideal!
If you want to get ahead on your holiday baking, this sugar cookie dough can be made in advance and then frozen (here is a great method). When you’re ready to bake just let the dough thaw, roll it out and cut into shapes as usual. Fresh, soft sugar cookies in no time! To decorate these cookies I used one of Wilton’s royal icing mixes. I transferred half of the icing to a piping bag and then mixed the remaining icing with green food color. I transferred that to a piping bag as well and cut the tips before decorating. Royal icing takes some patience and precision, so if you’re decorating with kids I would suggest making a batch of cream cheese frosting. This recipe from Show Me The Yummy looks great!
It’s also fun to have a variety of sprinkles for decorating. My favorite topping was the peppermint dust from World Market because it adds a delicious candy cane flavor! I also bought some purple and yellow sprinkles because I wanted to use my “W” cookie cutter and make some game day cookies. I went to the University of Washington and we finally have a winning football team! We were 0-12 my freshman year :( Even though I live on the other side of the country now and most games start at 9:30pm my time, I still try to cheer on my huskies! So clearly these soft sugar cookies can be made year round and not just during the holiday season :) enjoy!
Soft Sugar Cookies
These soft sugar cookies are perfect for decorating! Top them with cream cheese frosting or royal icing and sprinkles!
- 1 cup butter room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 tsp. almond extract
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 3 tsp. baking powder
Preheat oven to 375F. Line baking sheet with silicone baking mat and set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add sugar and mix on medium until combined. Add eggs, almond extract and vanilla extract, mixing on medium until combined. Scrape down the sides/bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Gradually add to butter mixture, and continue mixing until just incorporated. Don't mix the dough too much, otherwise the cookies will be tough rather than soft and tender. Chill dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. It also helps to flour the rolling pin and cookie cutters! The dough should be about 1/4 inch thick. Cute out desired cookies and place onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 7 minutes. They should have gained some color, but you don't want them to be golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool before decorating.