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Top Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies 1

DAY 5: Sugar Cookies (Two Doughs/Many Variations)

Sugar Cookies are the iconic Christmas treat. Good thing they are also extremely versatile. Once you have your sugar cookie base, you can easily change up the design for very different looks and tastes. I have two basic sugar cookie doughs that I like to use. The first is a soft, thick dough that stays pillowy soft and tender after baking. This is the dough I use for most of my sugar cookies:

Sugar Cookies 2

But if I need really sharp edges, and absolutely no spread when the dough is baked, I go with the dough below. The cookies are still soft if you don’t overbake them, but they are more dense than the other recipe.

Sharp Edges Sugar Cookies

Whichever dough you choose, you can make traditional frosted sugar cookies, with various types of icing, or try something just a little different. These two options are actually easier than frosting with a regular icing.

Snow Capped Christmas Trees:

Snow Capped Christmas Trees

Stained Glass Sugar Cookies:

Stained Glass Sugar Cookies

Stained Glass Sugar Cookies 2

ORIGINAL BLOG POSTS:
Soft and Thick Sugar Cookies (2009)
Sharp Edged Sugar Cookies (2014)
Snow Capped Christmas Trees (2016)
Stained Glass Sugar Cookies (2016)

RECIPE:

Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies 2

Soft and Thick Sugar Cookies

3 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
About 7 – 7 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar, butter, sour cream, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Mix in 4 cups of flour, the baking soda, and salt. Mix in enough additional flour to make a moderately stiff dough.

Chill for 20 minutes to 1 hour for easier handling. Roll out dough to desired thickness (about 1/4” thick) and cut with cookie cutter.

Bake at 375°F for 10 -11 minutes; if they brown, it’s been too long.  They should look white when done.

Frost and decorate as desired.

Yield will depend on the size of your cookie cutter and the thickness of your dough. I got 6 dozen cookies made from 3” cookie cutters.

Sharp Edges Sugar Cookies

Sharp Edged Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract
1 egg
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups flour

Royal Icing
Optional: Shimmery Sanding Sugar or Coarse Sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in extracts and egg.

In a separate bowl combine baking powder with flour and slowly mix into the wet ingredients. The dough will be stiff.

Do not chill dough. Roll dough out onto a floured surface to almost 1/4 inch. You want these cookies to be thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out cookie shapes and place on baking sheets.

Bake for 7-9 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet until firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack.

Yield will depend on the size of your cookie cutter and the thickness of your dough. I got 25 cookies made from 4” snowflake cookie cutters.

(Sharp edged sugar cookie dough from In Katrina’s Kitchen)

Snow Capped Christmas Trees

Snow Capped Christmas Trees

Sugar Cookie Dough (see above)
Green food coloring
About 12 oz white chocolate, or white melting candy discs

Prepare sugar cookie dough.  Mix in a few drops of green food coloring. Chill for 20 minutes to 1 hour, if necessary, for easier handling. Roll out dough and cut out with Christmas tree cookie cutter.

Bake according to sugar cookie dough recipe.

Place white chocolate in a bowl at least as wide as the cookie sides you will be dipping. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each heating, until melted and smooth. Dip each edge of the cooled cookies in the melted chocolate and place on waxed paper to harden.

Stained Glass Sugar Cookies

Stained Glass Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookie Dough (see above)
1 package Jolly Rancher candies, cut in half for small openings

Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.

Roll out dough to about 1/8” and cut out with large  cookie cutters. Place shapes on lined baking sheets. Cut out a smaller shape inside of each cookie  (after placing on baking sheet). I used the centers from a linzer cookie cutter set to make the center openings

Place half of a Jolly Rancher candy in the center of each cookie. Use a whole Jolly Rancher if the opening is large enough to lay the entire candy down inside the opening.

Bake according to sugar cookie dough recipe. Cool completely on the baking sheet. When candy centers are completely cool and hardened, remove cookies to a sheet of parchment paper.

Store covered between layers of waxed paper or parchment paper. The candy centers will stick together if they touch.

Frostings

Sugar Cookies 2

Glacé Icing

1 lb powdered sugar (about 4 cups)
¼ cup+ 2 Tbs  whole milk
¼ cup + 2 Tbs light corn syrup
1 tsp almond or vanilla extract
Gel food coloring
Additional powdered sugar to reach piping consistency

With a whisk, combine sugar and milk until smooth. Stir in corn syrup and almond or vanilla extract. Add food coloring for desired colors.

You will use this same recipe for both glazing and piping. The way it is right now is the consistency you want for glazing. It’s smooth and thin. It easily runs off of a whisk in a thin drizzle.

To prepare the icing for piping, add additional powdered sugar until icing is stiff, but spoonable.

(Glacé Icing from Our Best Bites)

Sharp Edges Sugar Cookies

Royal Icing

2 Tbs meringue powder
scant ¼ cup water
½ lb powdered sugar (about 2 cups)
½  tsp light corn syrup

Combine the meringue powder and water in a stand mixer. With the paddle attachment, beat until foamy. Sift in the powdered sugar and beat on low to combine. (Do NOT skip the sifting!)

Mix in the corn syrup. Increase speed to med-high/high and beat for about 3-5 minutes, just until the icing is glossy and stiff peaks form. (You should be able to remove the beater from the mixer and hold up and jiggle without the peak falling.) Do not overbeat.

To store for later use: cover with plastic wrap touching the icing and refrigerate.

For Snowflakes: Use a thick open circle decorator tip to pipe thick lines onto each snowflake. Sprinkle cookie with sanding sugar or sprinkles immediately after piping lines (on each cookie). Icing will harden quickly.

Chocolate Butterfly Cupcakes 11

Cooked Vanilla Icing

1 cup whole milk
5 Tbs flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar (do not use powdered sugar)
Optional: food coloring

In a small saucepan, mix the flour and milk until combined. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk, until mixture thickens (and is just about to boil). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let mixture cool to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl (a stand mixer works best for this) cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the cooled milk mixture and beat for 5-7 minutes, until frosting is light, fluffy, and completely uniform throughout.  Beat in food coloring, if desired.

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Softball (or Baseball) Cookies

Softball Cookies 1

We made it to the end of another girls’ softball season! Last week was our end-of-season party and awards night. Since I had a couple-dozen plain round cookies left from the graduation party Fruit Pizza Cookies (stored in the freezer), I made these softball cookies in our team color (Go Purple Bandits!) for the girls to eat after their pizza.

Softball Cookies 6

I used a simple Glacé Icing to frost these (just powdered sugar, milk, corn syrup, vanilla or almond extract and gel food coloring) that you mix with a whisk. You could also use a Royal Icing. Click HERE to see soccer ball cookies made with Royal Icing. There are also some more detailed pictures there of piping and flooding sugar cookies.

To make the baseball/softball cookies:

Using  thick white piping-thickness icing, pipe a circle around the edge of each cookie. Using  thinner flooding-thickness white icing, fill the center of each cookie with white icing. Use a toothpick to move icing around to completely fill center. Use toothpick to pop any bubbles. Let cookies set for about 30 minutes before piping on colored lines (ball seams).

Using thick colored piping-thickness icing (I used purple, but you could use red for a traditional baseball), pipe two arcs at the edges of the cookies. Pipe “v’s” to complete seams. Let icing harden at least 24 hours before stacking cookies.

In humid weather it will take even longer for the icing to harden. After 36 hours, mine were still slightly soft. Royal icing dries harder and faster than glacé icing, but I didn’t have any meringue powder and I like the taste of the glacé icing better, especially with almond extract.

Softball Cookies 3

Little J in her Bandits uniform. She was voted Best Hitter by her teammates.

Softball Cookies 2

Little J had a great coach this year that really focused on fundamentals, and her game improved a lot. Her favorite thing to do was to slide. Whether the ball was anywhere near her or not. Here she is sliding into third:

Softball Cookies 4

She tried this in a game once wearing shorts (“It’s too hot to wear pants, Mom!”). After coming home with a softball-sized scrape on the edge of her bum, I haven’t had to nag anymore about the wisdom of pants.

RECIPE:

Sugar Cookies with Glacé Icing

  • Servings: About 5 dozen using a 3-inch round cookie cutter
  • Print

Softball Cookies 5

Sugar Cookies

3 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
About 7 – 7 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Beat sugar, butter, sour cream and vanilla until fluffy. Beat in eggs. Add soda, salt and enough flour to make a moderately stiff dough (start with 7 cups and add additional flour if needed). Chill dough for 20 minutes to 1 hour for easier handling. Roll out dough to desired thickness (I like these fairly thick) and cut with cookie cutter.

Bake at 375°F for 9-11 minutes; if they brown, it’s been too long.  They should still look white when done.

Glacé Icing
——–
(from Our Best Bites)
1lb powdered sugar (about 4 cups) + additional for thickening piping icing
1/4 cup+ 2 Tbs  whole milk or cream
1/4 cup + 2 Tbs light corn syrup
1 tsp almond or vanilla extract
Gel food coloring

With a whisk, combine sugar, milk or cream, corn syrup and almond or vanilla extract until smooth. NOTE: If you are using cream, you will need 1-2 Tbs more. Using cream does help the icing look whiter. Add food coloring for desired colors.

You will use this same recipe for both glazing and piping. The way it is right now is the consistency you want for glazing. It’s smooth and thin. It easily runs off of a whisk in a thin drizzle.

To prepare the icing for piping, add more powdered sugar until icing is thick enough to hold its shape.

To make the baseball/softball cookies:
Using  thick white piping-thickness icing, pipe a circle around the edge of each cookie. Using  thinner flooding-thickness white icing, fill the center of each cookie with white icing. Use a toothpick to move icing around to completely fill center. Use toothpick to pop any bubbles. Let cookies set for about 30 minutes before piping colored lines (ball seams).

Using thick colored piping-thickness icing (I used purple because our team was the Purple Bandits, but you could use red for a traditional baseball), pipe two arcs at the edges of the cookies. Pipe “v’s” to complete seams. Let icing harden at least 24 hours before stacking cookies. In humid weather it will take even longer for the icing to harden. After 36 hours, mine were still slightly soft.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Sugar Cookies

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DAY 12: The ultimate classic cookie, adaptable to any holiday or occasion. I love this dough because it bakes up just slightly puffy in the middle and (unless you overcook them!) the cookies stay soft for days and days. The dough and cookies both freeze well, which is good because this recipe makes A LOT of cookies. These are most fun to have little helpers decorate, although I love them most plain, warm out of the oven.

DSC05153-1

Sugar Cookies

3 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
About 7 – 7 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Beat sugar, butter, sour cream and vanilla. Beat in eggs. Add soda, salt and enough flour to make a moderately stiff dough.

Chill for 20 minutes to 1 hour for easier handling. Roll out dough to desired thickness (I like these fairly thick) and cut with cookie cutter.

Bake at 375°F for 10 -11 minutes; if they brown, it’s been too long.  They should look white when done.

This makes a wonderful soft sugar cookie. Frost with your favorite butter cream frosting, cream cheese frosting or a glacé icing. Check out Our Best Bites’ tutorial on Glacé Icing. Here are two basic frosting recipes, one for a buttercream and one for glacé icing:

DSC05170-1

Buttercream Icing
1 cup butter
1 lb (4C) sifted powdered sugar
2 Tbs milk
1 tsp vanilla or other flavored extract (almond is really good!)
Dash salt

Cream butter with a mixer. Beat in remaining ingredients. This yields 3C STIFF icing. Add additional milk for a thinner icing.

For Chocolate Buttercream: Add 3 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted and 1 Tbs additional milk.

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DSC05184-1

Glacé Icing (from Our Best Bites)
1lb powdered sugar (about 4 cups)
1/4 cup+ 2 Tbs  whole milk
1/4 cup + 2 Tbs light corn syrup
1 tsp almond or vanilla extract
Gel food coloring

With a whisk, combine sugar and milk until smooth. Stir in corn syrup and almond or vanilla extract. Add food coloring for desired colors.

You will use this same recipe for both glazing and piping. The way it is right now is the consistency you want for glazing. It’s smooth and thin. It easily runs off of a whisk in a thin drizzle.

To prepare the icing for piping, add more powdered sugar.

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TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS COOKIES RECAP:
DAY 1:
Swedish Peppar KaKar
DAY 2: Mint Oreo Cookies
DAY 3: Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookies
DAY 4: Cherry Nut Mudslides
DAY 5: Snickerdoodles
DAY 6: Raspberry Almond Linzer Cookies
DAY 7: Peanut Butter Kisses
DAY 8: Peppermint and Vanilla Butter Cookies
DAY 9: Chocolate Rolo and Andes Chocolate Mint Cookies
DAY 10: Russian Tea Cakes
DAY 11: Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints

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