Best Sugar Cookies

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The key to straightforward sugar cookies? Cream cheese! These home made sugar cookies are straightforward to roll out however agency sufficient to brighten. Wager you possibly can’t eat only one! Embellish with frosting, royal icing, or glowing sugar.

Images Credit score:
Irvin Lin

Sugar cookies are enjoyable to make, particularly for holidays like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or Easter. They’re usually considered a automobile for icing and decorations, however there’s no purpose why they shouldn’t style nice as nicely!

These cookies have all of it: They’re tender and style nice, however are additionally sturdy sufficient to help all of the icing and decorations your coronary heart needs.


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CREAM CHEESE MAKES THE BEST SUGAR COOKIES

These sugar cookies have a contact of vanilla extract, almond extract, and lemon zest in them to present them taste! On prime of that, they’ve just a little little bit of cream cheese as nicely.

The cream cheese not solely provides a delicate little bit of tang to the cookie but additionally makes dealing with the dough simpler as nicely.

The buttery cookies bake flat, making them excellent for adorning. They’re additionally stiff sufficient to deal with, however not powerful in texture, with a beautiful toothsome high quality once you chew into them.

Round sugar cookies decorated with Royal icing for sugar cookies and rainbow sprinkles.

HOW THIN TO ROLL THE DOUGH?

I wish to roll my dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Thinner than that and the cookies begin to get fragile once you deal with them. Thicker than that they usually aren’t as crisp.

DO I HAVE TO CHILL THE DOUGH?

Chilling the dough is a crucial step on this recipe. Should you don’t chill the dough, the cookie dough can be too mushy to switch from the reducing board to the baking pan. Chilling the dough means that you can reduce out the cookies – even intricate patterns! – and deal with the dough with out concern of ruining it.

TIPS FOR THE BEST SUGAR COOKIES

Cookie cutters are enjoyable to make use of, however they will also be irritating! Listed below are a number of tips about ensuring your cut-out cookies prove picture-perfect.

  • Chill the dough earlier than reducing it. Cool dough is firmer and can reduce extra cleanly than mushy, heat dough. So ensure that to sit back the dough within the fridge or freezer as instructed. In case your dough begins to get heat and mushy, place it again within the fridge for 10 minutes or so to sit back it once more.
  • Dip your cookie cutters in flour. I wish to hold a small plate or pan of all-purpose flour subsequent to my dough. Dip the cookie cutter within the flour first, then reduce the cookie out. The flour will hold the dough from sticking to the cookie cutter.
  • Use parchment paper! On this recipe, I’ve you roll the dough out on the parchment paper for 2 causes. First, it’s simpler to roll out that method. Second, it’s simpler to chop the cookies. Gently peel again the highest parchment paper, then reduce the cookies proper on the parchment paper. Flip the whole sheet over, after which peel the remaining scrap dough away from the reduce out cookies. This may go away you with simply the reduce out cookies. Now you possibly can simply transfer the cookies to the baking sheet.
  • Preserve an eye fixed out whereas baking: The bake time can fluctuate, particularly when you have smaller, extra intricate formed cookies, so keep watch over them. Take them out simply as the sting of the cookies begin to brown. You may additionally wish to organize the cookies so the smaller or extra complicated shapes are within the center and the easier, massive shapes are across the fringe of the baking sheet.

Sparkling sugar spooned over a snowflake cookie decorated with Easy Royal Icing Recipe.

CAN YOU MAKE THE DOUGH AHEAD OF TIME?

Sure! This dough is ideal for making forward of time. Retailer it within the fridge, in flat sheets already rolled out on parchment paper, for as much as two days.

You may even freeze the dough! The flat sheets might be saved in a freezer for as much as two months. I place the sheets between baking pans or skinny reducing boards on the backside of my freezer, so different objects can stack on prime of them with out harm to the dough.

Although the flat sheets imply the dough thaws out faster, you possibly can simply freeze the dough in disks as nicely. Wrap the dough disk tightly with plastic wrap and retailer it in a heavy-duty freezer Ziploc bag. Thaw the dough fully within the fridge in a single day, then proceed with the recipe.

STORING AND FREEZING SUGAR COOKIES

As soon as baked, these sugar cookies might be saved in an hermetic container for as much as 5 days in your counter or kitchen desk. If frosted with royal icing, ensure that to let the icing dry fully in a single day, then place them in an hermetic container with items of parchment paper or wax paper between every layer of cookies to maintain the icing from being broken.

These reduce out sugar cookies freeze very well, so long as they haven’t been embellished with royal icing. Freeze undecorated sugar cookies or sugar cookies embellished with coloured glowing sugar on a flat baking sheet within the freezer for an hour. Then stack them in a inflexible hermetic container (one which gained’t crush or buckle when moved round within the freezer).

You may attempt to freeze sugar cookies that been embellished with royal icing, however usually the condensation that naturally happens when freezing and thawing will make the coloring bleed.

Snowflake sugar cookies decorated with Royal icing for sugar cookies.

OTHER IDEAS FOR SUGAR COOKIES!

I recommend that you just both sprinkle these cookies with coloured sugar earlier than baking, enhance them with royal icing after baking, or use a straightforward American buttercream frosting just like the one we now have for our Lofthouse-style cookies.

However these cookies are actually versatile! Listed below are a number of different concepts for adorning:

  • Shade the dough with drops of meals coloring to make totally different coloured dough and cookies.
  • Use a butter knife and create decorations on the rolled out cookie itself by gently urgent and “drawing” an indentation into the cut-out cookie. When you’ve got a press mildew or an embossed rolling pin, you may make patterns on the cookies.
  • Make sandwich cookies by smearing Nutella or a nut butter in between two cookies
  • Drizzle melted chocolate over the cookies
  • Gently press chopped nuts excessive of the cookie, then bake.
  • Drizzle with a straightforward confectionery sugar glaze just like the one for our vanilla pound cake.
  • Place a stencil over the baked cookie after which mud with confectionary sugar.
  • Get actually artistic with 6 Methods to Embellish Cookies with Royal Icing!

MORE COOKIES TO LOVE!

  • Lofthouse-Type Smooth Frosted Sugar Cookies
  • Spritz Cookies
  • Cream Cheese Pecan Cookies
  • Thumbprint Cookies
  • Chocolate Cranberry Rugelach
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Best Sugar Cookies Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Prepare dinner time: 10 minutes
  • Chill time: 15 minutes in freezer, 1 hour in fridge
  • Yield: 15 to 30 cookies, relying on dimension.

You may heat up the cream cheese shortly by reducing it into cubes and by inserting it in a microwave-safe bowl. Prepare dinner within the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds.

In case you are utilizing a hand mixer as an alternative of a stand mixer it would be best to use cool, however not chilly, butter at first. A stand mixer can cream the chilly butter however a hand mixer doesn’t fairly have the identical energy. Simply reduce the butter into 1/2-inch cubes and let the butter sit on the counter for about 10 to 15 minutes. That may take the nippiness off the butter and make it extra pliable for the hand mixer.

Elements

For the cookie dough:

  • 1 cup (225 g or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, from roughly 1 medium lemon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 ounces (57 g, or 1/4 cup) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 massive egg
  • 3 cups (420 g) all-purpose flour

To complete:

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, for reducing out the cookies
  • Coloured glowing sugar to brighten, optionally available
  • Royal icing to brighten, optionally available

Methodology

1 Combine the butter with sugar: In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, place the butter, sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract, lemon zest, baking powder, and kosher salt within the bowl. Cream at low velocity till the butter begins to turn out to be pliable, then enhance velocity to medium. Combine till a paste types that sticks to the facet of the bowl, about 1 minute. Scrape down the perimeters of the bowl with a spatula.

Add the cream cheese and beat till integrated. Repeat with the egg, scraping down the bowl between additions. Don’t fear if the batter seems damaged or “curdled” after including the egg. It would come along with the flour.

Sugar added to batter for Cut Out Sugar Cookies.Zest added to mixer bowl to show how to make Sugar Cookies.Egg added to Easy Sugar Cookie batter.Best Sugar Cookie dough mixed in the bowl of a stand mixer.

2 Add the flour: Add 1 cup of the flour and blend on low velocity till absorbed. Repeat two extra occasions, including 1 cup of flour every time.

Flour added to mixer bowl for Homemade Sugar Cookies.Cookie dough mixed in the bowl of a stand mixer to show how to make Sugar Cookies.

3 Roll the dough out: Divide the dough in half. Place half the dough on a big piece of parchment paper (don’t flour the paper). Press down with the palm of your fingers to type a disk. Place one other piece of parchment paper over the dough. Start rolling the dough out regularly with a rolling pin.

As you roll the dough, flip the parchment papers with the dough sandwiched between them to create a fair layer. Should you discover the paper begins to “wrinkle” simply peel again the paper after which lay it again down, smoothing it out along with your fingers. Proceed to roll and flipping the dough, till the dough is 1/4-inch thick.

Repeat with the second half of the dough.

Ball of dough to make Frosted Sugar Cookies.Hand presses dough dough to make the Best Sugar Cookies.Hand pressed dough circle of dough under parchment to make Easy Sugar Cookies.Rolling pin rolls out dough for Homemade Sugar Cookies that is covered in parchment.

4 Chill the dough: Stack the skinny sheets of dough, nonetheless sandwiched in parchment paper, on prime of one another, then place on a baking sheet. Transfer to the freezer and chill for 15 minutes or till the dough is cool and agency to the contact. Alternatively, let the dough chill within the fridge for 1 hour or in a single day.

5 Put together the baking sheets and pre-heat the oven: Whereas the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

6 Minimize out the cookies: As soon as the dough has chilled and firmed up, switch one of many dough sheets to your counter. Gently peel away the highest layer of parchment paper.

Place 1/4 cup all-purpose flour in a shallow bowl or pan. Dip the cookie cutter within the flour, then firmly reduce out cookies (plastic cookie cutters could also be stickier than metallic ones). Repeat, reducing out cookies till you possibly can’t match any extra onto the sheet. Flip the whole sheet over and peel away the “edge scraps” of the dough. Gently transfer the cookies to the ready baking sheet, leaving about one inch round every cookie.

Collect all of the scraps collectively and press to type a disk. Roll the scraps out between the parchment paper (you possibly can reuse the identical paper). Transfer to the fridge or freezer and chill as you repeat the method on the second sheet of chilled dough. This may enable the scraps to chill down and agency up.

Repeat with reducing cookies for the second sheet of dough, then refrigerate the rolled out scraps. Repeat till you’ve used up as a lot cookie dough as you possibly can. (Observe: Should you solely have one baking sheet, solely reduce out as many cookies as will fill one baking sheet, then chill the remaining dough till you’re prepared for the following batch.)

Removing parchment from rolled out dough for Sugar Cookies.Christmas tree cookie cutter pressed into rolled out dough to make Sugar Cookies.Pressing cookie cutter into rolled out dough to show how to make Sugar Cookies.Removing excess dough from around the Cut Out Sugar Cookies before baking.

7 Bake the cookies: Sprinkle the cookies with coloured sugar (if utilizing), then bake for 8 to 12 minutes, relying on the scale, form, and thickness of the cookie. Watch the cookies beginning at 8 minutes. As soon as the sides of the cookies begin to flip brown, that’s when the cookies are completed. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes earlier than transferring to a wire cooling rack.

If desired, frost or ice the cookies as soon as they’re fully cool.

Silpat lined baking sheet with holiday themed Cut Out Sugar Cookies.Candy cane shaped Homemade Sugar Cookies covered in sprinkles are ready to be baked.

8 Retailer: If frosted, wait till the frosting or icing is totally dry earlier than storing. Retailer in an hermetic container at room temperature between sheets of parchment or wax paper for as much as 5 days.

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