You have to admit, there is nothing like from-scratch baking if done right. We’ve all had flops in our time, but making sugar cookie dough for cut-out cookies is easy-peasy. You really can’t mess it up, but with all things baking, you need to follow the recipe. Straying from the recipe is strictly a cooking thing; baking is a science, y’all!
Last year was a rough Christmas in our house. We all got hit with the stomach flu, one by one, starting the evening school got out for break. I was hosting Christmas Eve dinner for the in-laws, and sure enough, the house of cards was demolished by this bug and I had to delay Xmas Eve by several days. No biggie. Everyone understood.
What I didn’t understand at the time, because I had been so far removed from processed cookie dough, was the difference between making my own cookie dough and buying that tube of goo from the grocery store. I was desperate, sipping my tummy taming ginger ale, and trying to clean up after four other sick people, when I ventured out in the snow to get some premade dough because we had to have cookies for Santa, ya know? That would just be sacrilige for the 6 and under crowd.
Needless to say, that cylinder of pale, processed, super sweet dough was revolting to all of us. Even my kids didn’t really have a desire to eat their creations. Even I didn’t have an urge to scarf those things down, and trust me when I say, stomach flu does not hold me back from good eats!
This year, we are all looking forward to making sugar cookies together, decorating them all special-like, and sneaking them when no one is looking.
So let’s get started! What you need:
1 1/2 Cups of salted butter (that’s 3 sticks) softened at room temp
2 Cups of white sugar
4 Cups of All-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
some powdered sugar and extra flour for dusting your rolling surface
In a large bowl or mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and beat in the vanilla when the eggs are incorporated fully. Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt, then take the dough out, cover in plastic wrap, and chill for at least an hour.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees, then roll the dough out on a floured surface. If the dough is too sticky, you can also dust your board and rolling pin with confectioner’s sugar. This will help your dough to not stick, but won’t dry it out with too much flour. Roll dough to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick (depending on how thick you like your iced cookies — I prefer a more substantial cookie to a cracker-thin cookie, myself). Cut out shapes and put on a parchment lined cookie sheet, at least 1 inch apart.
Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden. Make sure you watch them. These suckers can burn quickly!
Let cool completely and then ice with royal icing or any other icing you like!
Here is a link to my favorite royal icing for frosting sugar cookies. I hope you give it a try. It is really quite easy and aside from the time needed in the mixer, really quick to make, too!