I remember the first year that I made sugar cookies for my kids to decorate during Christmas, the cookies didn’t turn out the way I had hoped. They puffed up and didn’t hold their shape at all. The next year I tried another recipe and they were hard and crispy. The next year I used store-bought dough and was even more disappointed. During the years that followed, I tried more and more recipes until I pieced together the most perfect recipe that made delicious cookies that were soft and did not spread.
The most important part of this recipe is to leave out the leavening agent – baking soda or baking powder. These ingredients do a great job making cakes and muffins fluffy but that’s exactly what we don’t want in sugar cookies so that they keep their shape. This dough does not need to be chilled, but if you must chill it for use later, you can leave it out on the counter for about 10 minutes to warm up before rolling it out. The number of cookies this recipe yields will depend on the size of your cookie cutter. I usually get about 4-5 dozen cookies using 3-inch cutters.
Lastly, I use royal icing for these cookies mostly because it dries hard so it’s easy to stack them in a cookie tin and they don’t make a mess. I like to use the Wilton recipe and add 1/2 a tsp of either vanilla or almond extract. The recipe uses meringue powder instead of raw egg whites (yuck!) and can be found at most grocery stores, Walmart, or Target. It’s a good consistency for piping and you can add water if you need to use it for flooding.
These sugar cookies are not just for Christmas. I make them for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween – just about any holiday. Enjoy!
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp almond extract
- 2 eggs
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar.
- Mix in extracts and eggs.
- In a separate bowl, mix together flour, salt, and cornstarch then slowly add to the larger bowl of wet ingredients, the dough will be thick.
- In small batches, roll the dough on a floured surface to ¼ inch thickness and cut shapes using cookies cutters.
- Line your cookie sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper and bake cookies for 6-8 minutes. The cookies will be soft, but not gooey. Let them cool on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes to firm up before transferring to a wired rack for final cooling.
- This dough does not need to be chilled, but if you must chill it, you can leave it out on the counter for about 10 minutes to warm up before rolling out.
- The number of cookies this recipe yields will depend on the size of your cookie cutter. I usually get about 4-5 dozen cookies using 3-inch cutters.