Wednesday, December 8, 2021

How to Make the Best Sugar Cookies

Make it a holiday to remember with these picture-perfect, buttery sugar cookies - all dressed up for the party!

It's so easy to get into the holiday spirit when baking - and EATING! - these butter and flaky sugar cookies ... all dressed up for the holidays!

In today's post you can find the basic, fool-proof recipe for irresistible sugar cookies, and a few easy ways to decorate them. 

You can of course use any festive cookie cutter available (tree, snowman, bell, snowflake...) and decorate them as you wish. Or more easily, you can just cut round cookies and display your creativity drawing snowflakes, reindeers or penguins ... just like these!

Super cute, right?!

These cookies are perfect not just to enjoy with some hot chocolate or eggnog under the mistletoe, but wrapped up in some festive paper to make edible stocking stuffers.

And if were wondering, while tradition has it that people kiss under the mistletoe ... I eat cookies :)

Here are some tips for you when baking these cookies.

First of all: Most (other!) recipes say to refrigerate the dough before you roll it out and cut into shape, but why?!?! 

It's so much harder to roll once it's cold. So here is what I do. Roll when still soft, and preferably on a piece of parchment paper or a silicone mat. Refrigerate (or freeze if you don't have much time to wait around) and cut into cookies. The edges will be perfect and the cut cookies will be so easy to move to the baking sheet without loosing their perfect shape!

Make sure to keep the cookie dough chilled. If it's taking you too long to cut, chill them again so they won't over-spread and loose their shape in the oven.

Roll out the cookie dough to about 1/4 inch to 1/6 inch thickness. Adjust baking time based on the size and thickness. Anywhere between 10 to 15 minutes. 

Oh, one more thing. Don't forget to roll out the scraps and make more cookies. And if you need, simply double up the ingredients and make even more. 

Find the recipe card to make these sugar cookies below!

Sugar Cookies Decorating Ideas:

To decorate, use melted chocolate in a piping bag and mark the edges first (pac-man shape!), pipe in the middle filling the whole area. Use a toothpick to smooth it out if you like. Draw three dots in the empty part. 
You can use a toothpick to clean up any spills. 
When still wet, add the googly edible eyes and half of a chocolate M&M's for the nose. Let set until it hardens. 

Snowflake Cookies:

For these cookies you need to make some icing to decorate. 
2 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon of almond extract
about 4 tablespoons of water
blue food coloring
If you have add 1 tablespoon of meringue powder (if not, the icing  still works!)

Sift the powdered sugar in a bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and mix well until smooth. 
Make some thick white icing and place some in  piping bag. You will need this to make the white drawing.
Add a bit of water to the remaining icing to make it a little more watery. Using a toothpick add a little bit of blue food coloring. You don't need to whisk it completely if you like the gradient white/blue color I have.
Dip one side of each cookie in the blue icing and place on a cooling rack to set. 
When dry, draw the snow flake using the white icing. 

NOTE: Reaching the right consistency for the icing is key. What I like to do is test the icing on a piece of parchment paper to see if I have what I need. If too watery (and spreads out) add more powdered sugar. If too stiff, add a tiny bit of water. 

Reindeer Cookies:

To decorate, I use a little melted dark chocolate in a ziplock bag (or piping bag) and drew on the cookies. One red chocolate M&M's for the nose kept in place by a drop of melted chocolate. When the chocolate hardens the candy will stick. 

Now, let's get baking :)

How to Make the Best Sugar Cookies

How to Make the Best Sugar Cookies
Yield: around 12
Author: Manuela Mazzocco
Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 12 MinInactive time: 30 MinTotal time: 1 H & 11 M
Make it a holiday to remember with these picture-perfect, buttery sugar cookies - all dressed up for the party!


  • 4 oz (115 gr) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (100 gr) sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/4 cups (150 gr) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Soften the butter by removing it from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before starting with the recipe.
  2. In a bowl, add the butter cut in small pieces and the sugar. Cream with a hand mixer until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg, almond and vanilla extracts and mix well.
  4. Scrape the bowl, add the flour and salt, and mix until the dough comes together. Knead with your hands if needed until smooth.
  5. Move onto a parchment paper or silicon baking mat lightly sprinkled with flour. Roll out to about 1/4 to 1/6 inch thick (4 mm). I covered with another sheet of parchment paper before rolling out.
  6. Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. If you are in a rush you can freeze for 10 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut into circles with a cookie cutter. Bake for about 12 minutes, depending on thickness and size, until the bottom edge is lightly golden.
  8. Let cool down before decorating!
Did you make this recipe?
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