Roll-Out Sugar Cookie Recipe
Over the weekend I did some major housekeeping. I donated three huge bags of clothes I don’t wear anymore, de-cluttered my condo storage locker, and deleted seven rarely-used apps off my iPhone. Why not keep this cleaning streak going?
I’m in between cookie projects at the moment, so I’d like to use this down time to update my go-to sugar cookie recipe. When I posted my original sugar cookie recipe it was right when I began decorating cookies (November 2011). As I continued to bake and ice more cookies, I tweaked a few aspects of the original post. I’ve incorporated a few techniques and shortcuts I learned over the past two years, usually a result of trial-and-error.
Recently, I’ve been getting questions about the roll-out sugar cookie recipe I use, but realized the original post is a little out-of-date. I’d like to take this time to finally do an official update.
Keep in mind that this recipe is just what works for me. Feel free to modify it to your liking.
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- 1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ½ tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
In a mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Mix until fluffy and well incorporated.
Add egg, salt, and extracts. Mix until it is all well incorporated.
Add flour, mixing a cupful at a time, to the butter/sugar/egg mixture. After everything is well mixed, the dough should be non-greasy to the touch.
Roll to 1/4 inch thickness between two sheets of parchment or wax paper. (I love my Joseph Joseph rolling pin because the guides take the guess work out of wondering if your cookies are the correct thickness and evenly rolled out.) After rolling, chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.
Once the dough is well chilled and hard to the touch, cut out shapes and place them on a parchment paper-lined, light-colored baking sheet.
Bake at 375 for 7 minutes. Remove from the oven before the first indication of the edges turning brown. Leave the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes.
Remove cookies from the baking sheet with a spatula and place on a cooling rack for a few hours before decorating.
Makes about 2 dozen 3-inch cookies, but this recipe can be doubled easily if needed.
What’s Changed from the Original Sugar Cookie Recipe
- I left out the cream cheese and added more extract. I love the taste and texture cream cheese adds but it’s a bit pricey. Skipping the cream cheese and upping the extract still leaves the cookies with a great taste. Although, I still add cream cheese on special occasions (like during the holidays) for a little extra kick.
- I go back and forth on whether to leave out out the baking powder completely. I sometimes think leaving baking powder out helps minimize spreading and achieve smoother baked edges. However, sometimes I believe keeping it in helps the cookies bake more evenly, although it might cause them to rise a tad more. Currently, I’m on team “no baking powder.”
- I now sift the flour before adding it in the mixer. Before, I thought it was a time-wasting step that I could easily skip. However, the dough would be really clumpy, with unmixed flour at the bottom of the bowl. Sifting makes incorporating the ingredients easier and a lot faster. There’s no time wasted scraping the bottom of the bowl if I sift.
- I bumped up the heat on the oven to 375 degrees and lowered the baking time to 7 minutes. I found that the cookies spread less if they cooked at a higher temperature than at 350 degrees. This could just be unique to my oven, though.
Baking Tips for Perfect Cut-Out Cookies
- I found I achieved crisp, square cookie edges if I cutout shapes when the rolled out dough was refrigerated for about an hour. It should feel hard to the touch, like cold slices of cheese. Also, I freeze the cut-out dough shapes on the baking sheet about 15 mins before placing in oven.
- Use light colored baking sheets with parchment paper when baking cookies. Dark colored, non-stick baking sheets get too hot and can brown the bottoms of your cookies before the tops are done baking.
- If possible, try to bake the same day you make the dough. I learned that refrigerating prepared dough and baking it a day or two later can darken the dough. Although, this isn’t a big deal if it gets covered with royal icing.
- If you would like plan ahead, baking and then freezing the baked cookies works well.
- If the cookie does spread a little after baking, there’s a small time window where you can press the dough back into shape while it’s still hot.
- I always wait a day after baking to start decorating the cookie. I would leave them out to dry on a cookie sheet for a day to avoid butter bleed, or dark spots appearing on the icing. The cookies are still soft after decorating.
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