Easy, fool-proof sugar cookies that don't require any chilling time before you roll them out. Best part is that they are tasty tasty tasty!
These are great for decorated Christmas Cookies! Use my easy Royal Icing for the BEST Roll-out Sugar Cookies!
This recipe is also amazing for a Gluten Free Sugar Cookie option. The texture turns out as close to a traditional sugar cookie as I've ever had. The trick is to use Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Baking Flour (it is a 1 for 1 sub and super easy to use!). I know there are similar products out there, I haven't tried them but let me know if you do!
Those cute Minnesota and Wisconsin cookie cutters come from CookieCutter.com, if you are looking for something similar.
Some tips for successful sugar cookies:
- Keep your dough chilled. You want the fat to stay nice and chilled so that it doesn't spread out before you get a chance to bake it.
--> for intricate cookie cutter designs, cut your dough and the place the cut dough into the fridge for 10 minutes prior to baking to ensure crisp lines.
- Dip your cutters into flour between each cut. Dipping them into flour will ensure nice crisp cutter lines and keep them from sticking. Nothing is worse than your dough not coming out nice and clean!
--> try using cocoa or powdered sugar as an alternative to flour for chocolate cookies.
- Roll out your sugar cookies between parchment paper. The biggest complaint about sugar cookies is that they stick to the surface when rolling out. Using parchment paper (and making sure that the dough isn't too wet) helps eliminate that problem. Or, at least, make it easier to clean sticky dough! Remember to keep that dough chilled, too!
- Keep your dough the same thickness (and make it a bit thicker than you might normally!) Keeping consistency in the thickness of your cookies helps them cook evenly and not break after baking. Also, shoot for about ⅓ inch in thickness, at least.
--> there are rolling pins with adjustable rings on the ends that help you keep a consistent thickness without having to eyeball it.
- Work your dough in batches, keeping the remaining dough in the fridge. Because you want to keep your dough as cold as possible, work your cutters in batches and fridge what you aren't working with.
- Always use cold pans! Better yet, line the cold pans with parchment paper. Putting sugar cookie dough on a hot pan will cause the dough to spread out earlier than you want and take away from your clean cutter shape. Parchment paper helps your cookies cook evenly and avoid dark brown bottoms before the tops have a chance to cook.
--> using parchment paper is your best friend when making sugar cookies! Use it for rolling out the dough as well as lining the baking sheets!
What if my dough is too sticky?
If you find your dough is too sticky (your fingers com away with dough whenever you handle it), add a bit of flour to the dough. Start with 1 tablespoon and build from there. Sprinkle it over your dough, gently work it in, and see how it feels. Only add flour as needed.
What if my dough is too tough or dry?
If you find your dough to be too dry or crumbly (often happens after hanging out in the fridge) add a bit of water to the dough. Press your thumb into it to create a divot, add 1 teaspoon of water, and work the water into the dough gently. Add more as needed, 1 teaspoon at a time.
--> I have friends that swear by using vodka instead of water for their dough. They say it kicks up the flavor as well as adding needed moisture.
Can I freeze the cookie dough?
Absolutely! Store it in an airtight container and place it in the freezer for up to a month, or so. Let it thaw just enough to be able to work with and then use it as normal!
Can I freeze the already cut cookie dough?
Yes, of course. However you want to take care that you don't squish or break your shapes in the freezer. That is why I would recommend freezing the dough and then cutting it out when you are ready to bake. BUT, if you have the ability to keep those shapes from breaking...go for it! Thaw them just a bit before baking and then bake them up!
Can I use an extract besides almond?
Of course! Vanilla is the go-to extract but try using orange, maple, or even peppermint. Sugar cookies don't take alot of flavoring so go lightly on the flavor and then taste the dough to see how you like it before adding more.
Do I have to use cold butter?
If you don't want to chill your dough before baking it, yes. You need cold fat in your dough to avoid your cookies from spreading out and ruining your cut design. However, if you want to chill your dough after making it (at least an hour), that is a great option to try.
What kind of flour does this use?
All-purpose flour which, to my EU friends, is plain flour. I mentioned earlier how well this recipe does with gluten-free flour but I'll mention it again...
This recipe does really well with a gluten-free substitute flour! In fact, it's been a long time since I made these cookies with traditional AP flour.
Fool-Proof Sugar Cookies
- 4 sticks cold butter, cubed
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1.5 teaspoons almond extract
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 5-6 cups all purpose flour sub gluten free flour, if desired!
- 1 tablespoon orange or lemon zest
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In your stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until creamy.
- Add the eggs and almond extract, beat again until well incorporated.
- Add the baking powder, zest, and salt, beat until incorporated.
- Add 5 cups of the flour in, a little at a time until well mixed.
- Dump the dough onto a greased (or lined with parchment paper) counter and add up to 1 more cup of flour...just until your fingers don't come away with sticky dough.
- Use the dough right away or store it covered in the fridge until ready to bake.
- Roll out your dough between two pieces of parchment paper to about ⅓ of an inch thick. Use cutters dipped into flour between each cut to cut out the desired shapes. Place on to prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 14-16 minutes or until the edges JUST start to golden. This time really depends on the size and thickness of your cookies...keep an eye on them!
How long can I store the baked cookies?
A few weeks in an airtight container!