Thursday, December 15, 2011

Festive Sugar Cookies (12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies - Week 12)

Here it is, the very last week of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies party, so it's only appropriate that I've saved the most festive of all cookie recipes for our last link-up. They're soft and tender, with a buttery vanilla crumb, and they make your kitchen smell heavenly for hours! A bit of rolling, a bit of cutting, and a slick of icing and you can transform them into any seasonal shape - they're sugar cookies, of course!

Every family has a go-to recipe for sugar cookies, and ours comes from my littlest sister (who, at 20, really isn't that 'little' anymore). Her recipe turns out thick, tender cookies that take shape very well and can by cooked as soft or crispy as you like. Of course, because I have a powerful sweet tooth and a love of vanilla, I add a bit extra of each to my sister's recipe. Go big or go home, right? But for those of you who aren't quite as sweet-addicted, I've marked my changes on the recipe below. Make these your go-to sugar cookie recipe this Christmas - you won't regret it!

The Best Sugar Cookies, Ever

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
3 cups granulated sugar (the original recipe calls for 2 cups)
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (1 tsp in the original)
5 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
lemon zest (optional, my addition)

Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs and add vanilla. stir until well blended. Gradually add in the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir until incorporated. Cover dough and chill for at least one hour (or overnight). Roll out to 1/4 - 1/2-inch thickness, on a well-floured surface. Cut into shapes and place, 1 inch apart, on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 6-8 minutes until edges just begin to turn golden (watch them closely because the edges burn easily, especially when rolled thin). Cool completely before icing.

The Best Sugar Cookie Icing (aka Better Than Royal Icing)
This is my little sister's icing recipe - with absolutely no changes. It's delicious, takes color well and is easy to decorate with. I sometimes add a bit of almond extract for a slightly different flavor.

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
3 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons milk (can be adjusted to provide the desired consistency)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

Cream butter, corn syrup, and powdered sugar together in a small bowl until smooth. Stir in milk, vanilla and confectioners sugar. Add almond extract, if desired, and additional milk, as needed, to achieve the desired consistency.

We make camels to remember our deployed friends at Christmas - plus, they're really cute!

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  1. You cannot go wrong with a good sugar cookie!

  2. these are some of my favorites yummy

  3. this - i'm gonna try - for sure
    thks for sharing :)

  4. I've been looking for a good, simple sugar cookie recipe. I think I will try out your recipe this week! Love your blog! New follower over here! :)

    xo andrea

  5. Sugar cookies are a staple to our Christmas cookies. I will have to give your recipe a try. It does sound like a keeper.

  6. Cool Posting . nice look and very tasty food . awesome this post so thanks
    Indian Fashion

  7. Your Sugar Cookies look so pretty and just in time for Christmas! Hope you are having a great week and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  8. Your cookies look absolutely wonderful!!!

  9. These look delicious! I can taste them just by looking. And I love the camels. :) Thanks for sharing on Crazy Sweet Tuesday!

  10. Yum! Looks like a great baking project to do with my son this weekend! If I end up posting on my site I will link back and tell everyone where I found this yummy recipe. Thank you for sharing :)

  11. Oh these look super YUMMY... Can you believe I haven't baked a thing yet this year... :) So glad you stopped by and linked up at I will be sharing this on my FB page tomorrow.... :)

  12. I've been looking for the perfect sugar cookie recipe. Can't wait to try this one out!

    Thanks for linking to Refresh Your Nest Friday, hope you join us again tomorrow!

  13. Those sugar cookies look mighty tasty and the colors are so festive. You made the Sweets for a Saturday top 5. Good for you!

  14. I want to try these tonight, but it looks like it might make a lot of dough. Do you think I can cut the recipe in half and still make it work? I am not a baker so I don't like to take these risks without asking :) Thanks!!

    1. You're right, it does make a lot of dough! You can freeze the extra dough for later, but you can also make a half batch, no problem! (Usually the biggest problems with cutting recipes come from the eggs, but since we have an even number of eggs, you can easily halve the recipe)

  15. I think you have a typo in your directions for the icing. You add the powdered sugar in two different steps.