Looking for the perfect cut out cookie and the ideal frosting to make them beautiful and that much yummier? Look no further. These sugar cookies are simple to make, easy to work with, look fantastic and taste delicious. Who could ask for anything more? You can make them ahead of time, as they stay fresh for weeks if stored in an airtight container, then frost them when you need them to look fabulous and be ready for eating. The icing recipe below is the best I’ve found for decorating—it develops a thin crispy shell but the frosting beneath remains creamy and delightful. Color it, don’t color it, add sprinkles—the only limit is your imagination.
Best Ever Sugar Cookie Recipe
(makes about 100 three-inch cookies)
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
In a very large mixing bowl cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge for AT LEAST one hour (can be refrigerated overnight if that works better time-wise). *Note- I usually refrigerate this a minimum of two to three hours, it’s easier to work with the dough when it’s nice and firm.
When you’re ready to bake…
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Roll out dough in batches, on lightly floured surface, to 1/4 inch thickness. Use a cookie cutter of your choice to cut out the desired shapes. Place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Leave about 1/2 an inch or so between the cookies as they will puff a little while baking.
Bake 7-10 minutes (depending on size and shape of cookie)—start checking them at 7 minutes and continue baking until the edges just start to turn golden brown.
Cool on a rack and store in an airtight container.
Best Ever Icing for Sugar Cookies
4 cups confectioners sugar
5 tablespoons heavy cream
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (though you can use any flavor you’d like)
food coloring, if desired
Heat the cream and butter in a large saucepan until the butter is melted (don’t let it brown!).
Stir in the sugar and the extract.
Remove from heat and beat until thick and creamy.
You can divide the icing into bowls and color each differently (a few drops of food color).
As the icing cools it will get a firm shell on it (like pudding skin). If you are still frosting cookies when this happens, just give the icing a vigorous stir. If it becomes too stiff add a little more cream, a few drops at a time, until it returns to the proper consistency.
The icing hold sprinkles or colored sugar well, but make sure to get the decorative items in place on the cookie BEFORE the icing starts to harden.
Store the frosted cookies in an airtight container SEPARATED by layers of waxed paper. They will stay fresh for two weeks.