Delightful, Soft, Sugar Cookies

 
soft sugar cookies

Christmas is getting close, holiday baking is well underway…so that means, it’s time to share my sugar cookie recipe with you! These are my all time, favourite sugar cookies, hands down.  They are soft and easy to cut using cookie cutters.  The dough freezes extremely well for up to 3 months.  I made a couple batches of cookie dough last year before Foster was born in October and they baked up into fresh and tasty cookies for Christmas.  You couldn’t tell they dough had been frozen at all!

So come on, take a look, make it, pin it, tweet it, facebook it, stumble it, bookmark it… you’re going to want this recipe!  You will go back to it again and again!  (Printable recipe available at the end of this post)

Cookie Ingredients 
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened (no substitutions)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Measure the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl, mix and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter and the sugar.  Once smooth, add the eggs, vanilla and combine well.

Add the flour mixture to the butter / egg mixture a little at a time.  Mix until the dough is smooth and flour is fully incorporated.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap so that it is touching the surface of the dough.
Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.  Overnight is fine too.  If you want to freeze the dough, you can do so at this stage.


Working on a lightly floured surface, roll out your dough to the desired thickness.  Don’t go too thin… they are nicer when rolled thicker.  If your dough is to sticky, sprinkle with a bit of flour / if its dry, sprinkle a bit of water.  It’s a forgiving dough!
Cut out your shapes and place them on a lightly floured baking sheet.  Nothing fancy here.  I just used a small glass.

Bake in the centre of a preheated oven at 350 F for approximately 8 minutes (depending on the size and thickness).  Here is the trick:  As soon as the cookies no longer look ‘wet’ on the surface, they are done!  See this picture?  Notice the cookies look wet?  Not done yet….

See these cookies?  They are done!  Once they come out of the oven, leave them on the cookie sheet for a couple minutes to set up, then transfer carefully to a cooling rack.

You can also freeze the cookies at this stage, before icing them.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Basic Icing Recipe
1 cup of icing sugar
1 Tbsp corn syrup
1-2 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp flavoured extract (optional)
Food colouring (optional) 

Measure out the icing sugar into a bowl.  Add the food colouring and flavouring of your choice.  I like peppermint or almond extract…. and add some food colouring if you like.  I’m using gel colouring to get a really bold result.


Add the corn syrup, and 1 Tbsp of water to start.  It should be thick, but you should be able to mix it smooth.  If it is still very pasty, add just a tiny bit of water at a time just until you can mix it smooth.

You can either dip the tops of the cookies in the icing, or ice each cookie with a knife, or the back of a spoon (my preference).

The cookies will need to sit for a while so the icing can set up and become firm.  If you are impatient, you could stick them in the fridge for a bit, single layer though!

 I did an added drizzle in white over top of my cookies.  If you want to add more then one colour, make sure the first layer of icing is completely set.  Otherwise, the colours of icing will just bleed together.  I decided to go completely nontraditional and do bright red and blue cookies.  Love them!
I hope you will enjoy making some of your own sugar cookies!  These ones are always well received and I often give them as gifts during Christmas.

*Alternatives:  If you don’t have corn syrup for the icing, you can omit it.  The icing just wont be as shiny.  Also, think of alternatives for colouring and flavouring your icing such as, a tsp of Crystal Light drink mix or even Jello powder.  It opens up a lot of other flavour options without having to buy a bunch of different extracts at the grocery store.

Most importantly… don’t forget to do some quality control.  *wink*

 
Delightful, Soft, Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened (no substitutions, margarine wont work)
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of icing sugar
  • 1 Tbsp corn syrup
  • 1-2 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp flavoured extract (optional)
  • Food colouring (optional)

Method

  1. Measure the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl, mix and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter and the sugar. Once smooth, add the eggs, vanilla and combine well.
  3. Add the flour mixture to the butter / egg mixture a little at a time. Mix until the dough is smooth and flour is fully incorporated. It will take some effort.
  4. Cover the dough with plastic wrap so that it is touching the surface of the dough. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Overnight is fine too. If you want to freeze the dough, you can do so at this stage.
  5. Working on a lightly floured surface, roll out your dough to the desired thickness. Don’t go too thin… they are nicer when rolled thicker.
  6. Cut out your shapes and place them on a lightly floured baking sheet.
  7. Bake in the centre of a preheated oven at 350 F for approximately 8 minutes (depending on the size and thickness). Here is the trick: As soon as the cookies no longer look ‘wet’ on the surface, they are done. Once they come out of the oven, leave them on the cookie sheet for a couple minutes to set up, then transfer carefully to a cooling rack.
  8. For the Icing; Mix together icing sugar, corn syrup, water and any flavoured extract and / or colour if desired. You can either dip the tops of the cookies in the icing, or ice each cookie with a knife, or the back of a spoon (my preference).
  9. The cookies will need to sit for a while so the icing can set up and become firm. If you are impatient, you could stick them in the fridge for a bit, single layer.

Butter is a MUST! Margarine will not give you the desired results! CHILLING is also a must! The dough will become mush if you don't chill it. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle with flour until it is workable. If you find it is too dry while working it, sprinkle with a touch of water. The yield of this recipe really varies depending on thickness of the dough and the size of your cookie cutters. I normally get 2-3 dozen out of a batch.

http://salttree.net/2011/12/delightful-soft-sugar-cookies.html/

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    I am so glad I found this! I’ve been looking for a good sugar cookie recipe. They turned out awesome! I will be making more for St.Patty’s day. With green frosting of course!

  2. says

    I have a question about substitution. It would not be difficult to run out and buy some baking powder, but could I possibly use baking *soda* instead? I understand there’s a serious difference in taste, and the soda isn’t as effective at leavening as baking powder in some circumstances.

    • says

      Hi Chrissy, thanks for popping by!

      As for sub’ing baking soda for baking powder, I wouldn’t recommend it. As you already stated, it will alter the taste and wont have the same leavening effect. I’ve read that you can make your own baking powder by using 2 parts cream of tartar to 1 part baking soda, yet I have never done this. It will likely also alter the flavour. So in the end, if you can get baking powder, I would just stick with that. 😉

  3. says

    so i just made these… and mine didnt really taste like sugar cookies….. although i added a tad more flour because my dough was really sticky and didnt look like your pictures :( but then when i baked them it all turned out good except they didnt really taste like sugar cookies to me (maybe the added flour?? or not enough vanilla flouring should i have used a different extract??)

    Also, when i did the icing… its a flood icing right? so how did you get yours from not overflowing? mine where dripping all off the edges………

    • says

      Hi Ally,

      There are a few things that could have caused this;

      – Using too much flour
      – Not using enough vanilla extract (or using old vanilla as it will loose flavour over time)
      – Not mixing ingredients well enough

      Once the dough is formed, it will be a bit tacky / buttery feeling still. It’s not meant to feel very dry, so try to avoid adding additional flour. Once it’s chilled in the fridge, it will lose a lot of that tacky / sticky feeling and should be quite easy to work with, and will also dry a bit more as you work with the dough (picking up flour from your work surface, rolling pin etc).

      As for the icing, it will flood a little, but shouldn’t be so loose that it drips over the sides. If that’s the case for you, use a little less water or add more icing sugar to make it stiffer. When I ice the cookies, I use a spoon, dribble a bit into the centre and use the back of the spoon to spread it, then let them sit out so the icing can set up.

      I have also used royal icing on these cookies and they were excellent that way too. So if this icing just isn’t working for you, give royal icing a go. It’s just a bit more work.

      Let me know if you have any more questions, Ally!

  4. says

    I tried making these cookies a few times and every time they came out so sticky that I couldn’t roll them out! They stuck to everything! I’ve followed the recipe to the letter, what magic are you using to keep this dough from grabbing onto everything it touches?!

    • says

      There’s no magic, Joseph, sorry you had trouble. You really have to be sure the dough is chilled. If it warms up too much, chill it again. And you have to be sure your work surface and tools are floured.

    • says

      Thanks for replying. I’ll have to try again. Practice makes perfect! I’ll put it in the freezer this time to make sure it’s as cold as possible, the other times I just refrigerated over night. I also made sure everything was well floured, but it just didn’t seem to help unless there was more flour than dough.

    • says

      You can. The texture of the cookies might be a little different and they might spread a bit more when baking. Also, keep an eye on them while they are in the oven… you may need to adjust the baking time a wee bit. Have fun!

    • says

      Hi Catherine, you will have to let it thaw first or it will be too difficult to work with.

      I find freezing it in flat, thin pieces is great as it thaws quickly that way… think of putting it in a ziplock freezer bag and squishing it as flat as possible.

  5. Oceane says

    Hi!
    I’m so sorry to bother you, but I just found your blog and especially these amazing cookies of yours. The problem is, I’m French, and have absolutely no idea what cups weigh. So I was wondering if you would mind helping me a little here, by telling me the recipe in grams..?
    That would be amazing and I’d be super thankful!
    Thank you very much if you can, and, well, congratulations for your amazing blog!

    • Amber *SaltTree* says

      Hi Oceane, I used some online measurement conversion tools for this. Sorry it took so long for me to get it too you!

      375 grams all-purpose flour
      3.5 grams baking powder
      3 grams salt
      227 grams butter, softened
      300 grams granulated sugar
      2 eggs
      8.5 grams vanilla extract

      • Oceane says

        Thank you so, so much! That’s so very nice of you :)
        I’ll try to bake them as soon as possible and tell you how it turned out! I’m sure they’ll be delicious with your recipe!

  6. Myriam says

    Hai..
    I am from Holland I ran into your recipe trough Facebook..
    What i would like to know, if you can tell me off course,..
    Is how i should set my oven because mine works with degrees..!

    Hope you’ll make sense with my English writing..

    • Amber *SaltTree* says

      Hi Myriam, sorry for the delay in replying to your question. Set your oven to 180. That is the equivalent. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Kelly C says

    Thank you for watermarking your photos. I found your pictures pinned from another site, and the watermark made them easy to find.

  8. Christina says

    Hello! I plan to make a double batch of these beautiful cookies this afternoon, and freeze half of the dough. Would it be best to freeze the dough as a “ball” or should I cut out the shapes and freeze them flat on a baking sheet?

    If I freeze them flat, can I just pop them into the oven while still frozen, or should I let them come to room temp first?

    Thanks!

    • Amber *SaltTree* says

      Hi there, When I freeze them, I freeze the dough as a ball. Another option would be to bake the cookies then freeze them. They freeze very well that way too. Happy baking!

  9. NAtalee little says

    Hi,

    How many cookies does this receipe make? Does it double nicely?

    Thanks so much, I am in a cookie exchange and am going to be making the Sprinkle Swirls :)

    • Amber *SaltTree* says

      Hi Natalee, I usually get about two dozen, of course it depends large you make your cookies. And it does indeed double nicely. I almost always make a double batch 😉 Have fun!

    • Amber *SaltTree* says

      Indeed, unsalted. Although, I admit, I have used salted before when that was all I had. It happens from time to time lol.

  10. Amanda says

    Hello! I tried making these sugar cookies, and my dough came out really sticky like chocolate chip cookie dough. I followed everything exactly and chilled it for 2 days! Any thoughts on what I may have done wrong? Thank you!!

    • Amber *SaltTree* says

      Sounds like perhaps there wasn’t enough flour in the mixture. I would try adding a bit more at a time, until it is a workable dough. Then chill it again and give it a whirl 😉

  11. Tami bird says

    Hi Amber. What size (in weight) of eggs would you generally use? I notice many posts from people saying their dough came out too tacky and wondered if the cause could be that they were using particularly large eggs? We have chickens and many of our eggs are Extra-Large!! I often try and put the smaller ones aside for baking as many are over 70g and some even over 80g (poor chooks!). I’m in Australia so we talk in grams but if you tell me in ounces/pounds and I’ll convert.

    Also, I just got a new cookie press that I wanted to try. The trigger style one with different nozzle fittings to pump out different shape cookies. Would this dough be suitable or too stiff to pump through?
    Thanks :-)

  12. says

    Hi there, I was wondering if you could use margarine instead of butter for this recipe. I have lots of margarine and under doctor’s order’s not to have high-fat foods. Would the replacement work? Thanks in advance either way!

    Rosie

  13. Claire says

    I love this recipe! I cut in half (due to a lack of ingredients) and substituted cocoa powder for part of the flour! The cookies still came out soft and I swear they taste like brownies!

  14. Sarah says

    Hi I would love to make this just wondering if I would have to change anything if I used gluteen free flour and lactos free milk ???
    Thanks Sarah

  15. Brittney says

    I followed this to a t and while the end product is delicious both times I have made this I have to knead in a considerable amount of flour once it is done chilling. Great end product but very messy and time consuming to get there.

    • jessica says

      mine is pretty sticky already, i have it chilling in the fridge, i am assuming i may have to add more flour once it’s done to get it to the consistency to even roll it at all! hope it works!

  16. Megan says

    I just tried this recipe. I followed everything exactly and my dough was too sticky to work with. I then froze it for an hour and once rolled out it just turned into a mess. I’m very disappointed with the recipe.

  17. Sunshine says

    I’d like to know if you can substitute anything at all to make these sugar free cookies..I know I know..sugar free sugar cookies? lol there is such a thing..so I’m wondering if I could substitute with splenda or something in order to make them sugar free or almost sugar free..Thank you so much and I’m hoping to use this recipe for Christmas!

    • jessica says

      I am no baking expert, so i am not sure. However, i bought pre packaged sugar cookie mix but i forgot to add the sugar to the ingredient *face palm* and they tasted great! i almost like it without the sugar, wasn’t too sweet but still just as yummy. im not sure if this recipe would work but im sure there are some out there! g’luck finding it

  18. heather wiggins says

    I wish there was a printable version for this recipe. something that you could take to the kitchen, instead of having to read it from my phone, or having all those pictures print out.

  19. Lucy says

    Sorry… I am sure it is user error, but this is the worst receive I have ever tried…. It just doesn’t work.. :( sad times

    • jessica says

      was yours too sticky? mine is in the fridge chilling and i have a feeling the stickyness isn’t going to go away =/ maybe adding more flour would help. Sorry it didn’t work for you, i may be in the same boat!

  20. says

    I made the dough and rolled it out yesterday and cut them today. They turned out great!!!!!! Just got to work with the dough alittle to get to the end result but well worth it. I will make these again. Thanks for the recipe.

    • jessica says

      I am asking those who have tried this or mentioned trying it. I just made the dough which i have chilling int he fridge. It was sticky after mixture everything. Is that how yours was? i am hoping the consistency is more of a “dough form” once it’s chilled.

  21. Lesley says

    Can I just check the amount of flour in the recipe is 3 cups? … There is an advert that partially obscures the figure

    • Amber *SaltTree* says

      Sorry about that. Yes it ts 3 cups. I’ve adjusted the alignment to be centred now, so you should be able to see the measurements. May I ask what device you are viewing the blog from? PC, tablet, mobile? That would help me nail down the issue as I cannot see it from my end. Also, does it interfere on other posts for you? What AD is it? Thanks!

  22. Lori says

    Hi there,
    I would like to make the Swirl Sugar cookies for a cookie exchange but I cannot read the amounts of the ingredients due to ads being in the way! Could you please, please just write back on here with the amounts of the ingredients to use for the basic sugar cookie recipe? Thank you so very much!

    Happy Holidays

    Hope these turn out for the exchange!,!!!!!

    • Lori says

      I see you have replied to another person who inquired on not being able to read the recipe and it is now centered so I can read it. Going to try this recipe tonight for practice run for cookie exchange! I am new to your website and I thank you for this wonderful recipe! Hope all goes well!

      • jessica says

        have you tried this yet? I am making swirl cookies as we speak. I just finished making the dough which i have in the fridge to chill. It was sticky though. If you’ve made it already, did the consistency change after you chilled it? i am wondering if adding more flour will help.

  23. jessica says

    I plan to use this recipe for the Swirl Cookies i found on your blog. I know next to butter it says no substitution but have you tried it with vegetable , canola, or olive oil? I am wondering if it would work just as well instead of butter. I prefer to use oil vs butter/margarine. Thanks.

  24. jessica says

    I went ahead and made this recipe without using oil. Used butter like it said. I jsut got done and its not “dough form” like in the picture….it was sticky. I put plastic wrap only covering the top surface of the dough just incase the consistency doesn’t change, i don’t want it to stick to it. In this picture of the dough in the bowl is this after you mixed the ingredients or after it was chilled? I am chilling mine now and hope the consistency is different once it’s done chilling. I followed it to a T so i am confused.

  25. jessica says

    there is absolutely NO WAY this recipe is suitable for the swirl cookies. It is absolutely impossible to not only roll it, but knead it….this isn’t user error, this recipes is not suitable to be rolled, or as i said, kneaded. The consistency doesn’t allow it! how frustrating. i will use my own recipe and make it from there. Thank you though.

    • helen says

      That’s what I’m trying to make and I’m getting the same issue!! I’ve added waaaaay more than 3 cups of flour now and it still just looks like cake mix :(

    • helen says

      OK, I used about 4-4 1\2 cups of flour in the cookie mixture itself and about 1 cup whilst rolling them out, it was really tricky but I got there in the end. I’ve frozen mine, when I get them out I’m going to make sure they are super cold before cutting them. I’ll definitely do it again but I’d use a less soggy recipe.

  26. Rae Taylor says

    i have to say these are Fabulous!!! I’ve made them 3 times and they have turned out great!!! Thanks for sharing! Have a wonderful holiday!!☺️

  27. Kristina McDaniel says

    I made the swirl cookies with a box mix and they were easy and look perfect, but the cookies are too dry. So I wanted to make my own that were moist. I’m at the stage now where my 2 batches are in the refrigerator cooling. It is very tacky, I’m assuming it will firm up when the butter cools. I’m ok with adding more flour, but I will be using powdered sugar to dust the counter and rolling pin. I don’t want the added flour to dry them out. Thanks so much for this recipe, they look delicious!

    • Kristina McDaniel says

      Ok.. after only an hour the dough was perfect for rolling. Although I will say, it warms quickly, so work fast. The powdered sugar worked well, I love these cookies!

  28. Ashley says

    These cookies are gorgeous. I made the swirled cookies and it was awesome. The dough is so easy to work with when chilled, keeps it’s shape very well after baked, there is minimal color change after baked, the cookies taste great, and the dough stays nice when frozen for a week. I usually don’t like sugar cookies but I will be using this recipe again for all of my future experiments!

    Thanks Amber!

  29. amy says

    I was having so many problems with how sticky and unmanageable this dough was, even after letting it freeze all night. It was a relief reading that I wasn’t the only one!
    Posted pictures look great though, so neat.

  30. Robin says

    I love this recipe! I made your swirled sugar cookie recipe with it. The cookies were beautiful and delicious! My son is now asking for a giant sugar cookie as his birthday cake. I have a round giant cookie pan that takes a recipe for a 13×9 pan. Do you think this recipe would work for that? I know I’ll need to adjust the baking time, but I wasn’t sure about the amount of cookie dough. Would love your advice. Thanks so much!!!

  31. Mansi dhunna says

    Hi i love reading ur recipes but i cant really make them because almost all of them have egg. I was wondering if you could give me a substitute for Egg as i am a vegetarian.
    Love from India.
    XOXO

  32. Ami says

    I was curious how long you let the dough sit for after chilling it? Mine was in the fridge for 24 hours and is quite hard to work with at the moment
    thank you

  33. Traci says

    I want to make these so bad but unfollowed the directions completely. And for whatever reason the dough is super soft and gooey. I can’t get it to be more firm like a dough. I can’t roll it out Help please !!!

  34. says

    Very great post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog
    and wished to say that I have truly enjoyed surfing around
    youur webllog posts. In any case I will
    be subscribing to your rss feed and I’m hoping you write once more soon!

  35. Samantha says

    I so like this recipe, simple, quick and so adaptable. I make batches of various flavours and colours and freeze them for future use.

Trackbacks

  1. […] made (clockwise, starting at midday): Sugar Cookie Christmas Trees, Chilli Cheese Biscuits, Chocolate Shortbread Hearts, Gingerbread people (made with […]

  2. […] the day on Thursday because Adam went climbing. I baked some sugar cookies on Thursday too. I used this recipe from the Salt Tree blog as a base recipe. I replaced the flour with gluten-free flour and used 3/4 of a teaspoon of […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *