Sugar Cookie Recipe
- ¾ cups Butter
- 1 cup White Sugar
- 2 whole Eggs
- 1-½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract
- 2-½ cups All-purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- ½ teaspoons Salt
In a large mixing bowl, combine room temperature butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla and combine.
In a separate bowl, blend together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Slowly add dry ingredients into wet batter until fully incorporated.
Drop dough onto a large piece (or two) of saran wrap and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to roll out the cookies, generously flour a flat surface and roll out the dough to desired thickness (I like mine on the thicker side). You can use as much flour as you need! Side note: with other recipes I used powdered sugar to roll out on, but with this one I find the flour works best.
For best results, bake on silpat or parchment paper or well oiled cookie sheet.
Bake at 325 degrees for 5 to 8 minutes. You want to remove from the oven before the edges brown at all. Let sit about a minute or two before taking up from the cookie sheet, if they start to break, let them sit longer. I recommend using a metal spatula.
After I roll out the cookie dough and cut it out into the shapes I want I place them in a tupperware container lined with parchment or waxed paper and stack them in the container and refrigerate as long as I need to, usually over night. When ready to bake I simply place on the cookie sheet. If you're producing lots of cookies, or doing it with kids this usually make life much more simple.
After the cookies have cooled and you've gotten the flour off your shirt, apron, pants, floor, cabinets and sink you are ready to make the frosting. What, am I the only one that cooks messy?
I'll be straight with y'all, if you're going for taste (and most baking with kids is usually more about that) I would stay away from the royal icing and go with buttercream. One of the tastiest and easiest Christmas cookies I'll make is to make small sugar cookie circles, take buttercream and place it in the middle of two, slightly squeeze together and roll the edges of icing peeking out in Christmas sprinkles (sometimes I just mix red and green sanding sugar together for this). These will transport fairly well.
The other option is to just spread buttercream on top and cover with sprinkles. These will get messed up if touched so they are a bit more precarious for travel.
If you are interested here is a very general vanilla buttercream recipe (general because I can't give away my exact secrets!): 2 sticks room temperature butter, powdered sugar (2-4 cups depending on how sweet you like it), vanilla and salt. Blend butter and sugar first and then add other ingredients.
Now that I've given you the tasty easy way let's move on to the more involved but oh so pretty method:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon powdered egg whites (also called meringue powder, can be found at places like Hobby Lobby and Michael's, but take you 40% off coupon as the smaller containers will run you about $8 before hand. While it may be an upfront investment it lasts forever and really is the secret to safe, well made royal icing)
- 3 tablespoons warm water (guesstimate, may need more or less depending on humidity)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring
- Don't forget royal icing dries VERY quickly! Always keep it covered (even your frosting tips, a damp paper towel works well for this). I even rinse my beaters off right after I'm done making it so I don't have cement on my hands later. If you forget, a long soak in hot water usually does the trick.
- This requires a steady hand which is typically learned over time. While you are in the learning process a damp (not wet or it will mess up the icing) finger tip can smooth out quite a bit.
- Keep your tip clean. This helps to make those clean lines.