Two words…Christmas. Cookies.
Tis the season for cookies galore, and all sorts of other delicious holiday treats. Above all cookies, sugar cookie cutouts are my favorite! Making these amazing sugar cookies has been a tradition in my family for as long as I can remember. Literally.
My grandma started a tradition when my sisters and I were young… that every year in December all the granddaughters (GIRLS ONLY) get together and bake and decorate sugar cookies along with other cookies. We have done it nearly every year since, well…forever. Of course since I love to be in the kitchen, it was one of my favorite things growing up. It definitely still holds a special place in my heart and I look forward to it every year.
Below are a couple pictures of years past cookie baking.
Everyone always loves these cookies!! The recipe my grandma uses is definitely the BEST. I have tried other recipes and they are not even close to as good! Also, it is not the same when you buy sugar cookie mix, or from a tube in the refrigerated isle at the grocery store. From scratch is the only way to go. The secret to this sugar cookie recipe is that it calls for confectioners sugar and cream of tartar. Also, both the cookie and frosting have almond extract instead of just vanilla.
When I was little I just assumed my grandma came up with this recipe…but it actually comes from good ole’ Betty Crocker… the recipe is called ‘Deluxe Sugar Cookies.’ I think a lot of people get intimidated with making cutouts because they are kind of tedious and require a rolling pin. I have made this recipe a hundred times…ok maybe not that many but enough to be an expert. So here you go, Deluxe sugar cookies 101:
Deluxe Sugar Cookies
- 1 C. Salted butter (at room temperature)
- 1 1/2 C. Confectioners sugar
- 1 egg (at room temperature)
- 1 Tsp. Vanilla
- 1/2 Tsp. Almond extract ( I use a little more)
- 2 1/2 C. All-purpose flour
- 1 Tsp. Baking soda
- 1 Tsp. Cream of tartar
**Frosting recipe below**
1. First, preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, add butter, sugar, egg, vanilla and almond extract. (SUPER important that the butter and egg are at room temperature.) Mix until combined.
4. Once the dough has chilled, take about 1/3 of the dough (leaving the rest in the fridge) and roll out onto a well floured surface. Make sure your rolling pin is floured too. Roll out to desired thickness…about 1/8″. When rolling make sure not to press too hard, and alternate rolling direction to ensure dough is even.
5. Once dough is rolled out, grab those cookie cutters and begin cutting out shapes. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (you don’t need to use parchment paper, it just makes baking easier.) Make sure to space cookies out so they have room to expand!
6. Place cookies in oven and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes…be sure to set a timer! REMEMBER, all ovens are different so the first batch watch carefully. These cookies are done just as they are turning ever so slightly brown on the edges…don’t over cook them. They don’t taste nearly as good! Place cookies on a cooling rack until completely cooled before frosting.
Now that the cookies are made and cooled, time to frost them! Here is how to frost them and make them beautiful.
Almond Buttercream frosting
- 1/2 bag of powdered sugar
- 5 Tbsp. Butter (at room temperature)
- 6-8 Tbsp. Milk/cream/half and half
- 1 Tsp. Almond extract
- Food coloring
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. You want it to be a good spreading consistency. Measurements are approximate so if it is too thin add more powdered sugar, too thick add more milk. I love the almond flavor, so I add more.
2. Separate into smaller bowls and add food coloring depending on what colors you want. Finally it is time to DECORATE!
It’s kind of therapeutic to sit there and concentrate on decorating each cookie. Your stress melts away and will make you feel like a kid again! ENJOY 🙂