These Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies will be your go to sugar cookie recipe. They will literally melt-in-your-mouth! Soft and tender on the inside with a little crisp on the edges. Use your favorite cookie cutter shape and have fun baking, frosting and decorating!
You are going to love, love, love this cookie recipe! I’m so excited share it with you. These cookies are one of my family’s most beloved and treasured recipes. We enjoy these cookies throughout the year. I couldn’t imagine a holiday without making up a batch. To let you know just how special these cookies are, my son was living in Australia last year and wasn’t able to be home for the holidays so being the good momma that I am, I sent him a batch of these delicious sugar cookies across the globe. Hey, it wouldn’t Christmas even in the middle of summer in Australia without them. I must warn you, they do disappear fast. So you may want to double or even triple the recipe. You can always freeze any extra dough. It freezes very well.
Cut-out sugar cookies are fun for any holiday. But to me there is something extra special about decorating cookies for Valentine’s Day. Maybe it’s the beautiful spring like colors of hot pinks, purples and reds along long the cute candy hearts that get me all excited.
Now let’s talk a little more about the recipe. It’s not complicated! I’ve tweaked it over the years to get a perfect blend of butter, sugar and flour. I’ve also added a little bit of almond flavoring to the recipe, and that simply took to it to the next level!
Start with the right consistency of butter. This is so important! Butter must be softened, but not melty in the slightest. You should be able to press your finger into the stick of butter and make an indent easily without the butter being too mushy. Lightly softened is what you are going for.
Here is a good visual.
This cookie dough will be very soft. Place the dough in the freezer for only ten minutes, but not any longer or it will be too hard to roll. In the next step, you will chill it for longer in the refrigerator. Then the dough will firm up to be the perfectly smooth dough for rolling and cutting into shapes. Kind of like the consistency of play-doh.
Once your cookie dough has been prepared, divide the sugar cookie dough in half, shape into balls, and then roll into two flat rectangles-about ¼ inch thickness each. Stack onto a baking sheet and chill again for an hour. Chilling keeps the butter cold to help prevent spreading, but also to give the gluten in the flour a chance to rest.
After 1 hour of chilling, you may use your favorite cookie cutter and cut into different shapes. At this point you can just bake the shaped cookies plain or you may add sprinkles directly onto them. You can frost them when they are cooled. I have a delicious frosting recipe for you too! After frosting, the real fun begins! Use your imagination. There are sooooo many beautiful sprinkles, sugar crystals, rainbow dots and candy hearts that you can decorate with. Decorate and sprinkle until your heart’s content. If you have small children at home, this would be a fun time to include them to help decorate.
Here are some steps that I just explained.
The secret to the cookies soft, tender centers:
Underbaking! You do not want to overbake these cookies. They only take about 6 to 7 minutes to bake. Every oven is different, so I would recommend just baking a few at first and check on them after 4 minutes.
If you want a crunchier cookie around the edges, just bake a little longer.
I doubled the frosting recipe. I used a paint brush for some of my cookies and dipped others directly into the frosting. I did not color the icing. For pink icing, just add a drop or two of red food coloring.
Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies will be your go to sugar cookie recipe for any
occasion. Use your favorite cookie cutter shapes and have fun baking,
frosting and decorating!
- 2 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, soften
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream or whole milk
- Sugar crystals for decorating
Sugar Cookie Frosting
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 pound of confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- ¾ cup whole milk or heavy cream
- Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamed, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla extract, almond extract, and milk; beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low speed until combined.
- Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Roll each portion out onto a piece of parchment paper or a lightly floured silicone baking mat. The rolled dough can be any shape, as long as it is evenly 1/4 –inch thick.
- Stack the pieces, with parchment paper between the two, onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours and up to 2 days. Cover dough with parchment paper or plastic wrap.
- Once chilled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or use a silicone mats. Remove one of the dough pieces from the refrigerator and using a heart shaped cookie cutter, cut into shapes. Reroll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all dough is used. Repeat with the 2nd dough piece.
- Bake for 10 -11 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges. (Remember it’s better to undercook the cookies rather than overcooking.) Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
- Make the icing: In a large bowl melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add confectioners’ sugar. Stir in milk and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until a desired consistency for frosting the cookies. If it’s too thick, add a little more milk. If it’s too thin add more confectioners’ sugar. Frost using a paint brush or use a spoon. Add sprinkles right after frosting. Return to wire rack to set. To make different colored icing, separate icing into different bowls. Stir a tiny drop of desired color such as red for pink, yellow, green or blue.
- Decorated or plain cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for about one week. Tins work great to store them it. Keeps the cookies fresh and crisp.
Make- ahead tip: Plain cookies freeze well up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
I don’t recommend freezing with the icing on top. You can chill the dough in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. You can all also freeze the dough for up to 3 months. Then allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before rolling out.