I always have loved soft sugar cookies. They have to be really good ones, though–not dry, hard, or flavourless. So many cut-out sugar cookies look lovely, but, often, the taste is disappointing. Not these cookies! They are soft on the inside, firm on the edges, and taste wonderful. They have an easy glaze icing. This is my go-to recipe for any occasion cut-out cookies.
Last year, my son and I used this recipe to make big heart-shaped cookies for Valentine’s Day. We had a lot of fun cutting them out, icing them in two shades of pink, and adding pretty sprinkles. Ok, really, I had fun doing most of the work, while he cut out a few cookies, then watched TV until it was time to do the sprinkles. He did sprinkles on one cookie and then wanted to eat it right away. How could I say no? These cookies are so good, it’s not easy to resist the temptation to eat one as soon as possible. I do recommend waiting to let the icing set up. They look prettier that way.
Enjoy the recipe…
Iced Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
Easy, delicious cut-out sugar cookies with firm edges and soft centers and a simple glaze icing. These cookies are great for any occasion!
This recipe was adapted from Holiday Cut-Out Sugar Cookies with Easy Icing from Sally’s Baking Addiction.
- 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, slightly softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg*
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional, but makes the flavor outstanding)
- 2 and 1/4 cups (281g) all-purpose flour (spoon and leveled)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 and 1/2 cups (180g) confectioner’s sugar/ soft icing mixture, sifted (must have no lumps)
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon light corn syrup*
- 2 – 2.5 Tablespoons (30-38ml) room temperature water
- pinch salt*
- food coloring, if using
- Plan ahead when making these cookies. Keep in mind that the cookie dough will need to chill, the cookies need to cool completely before being iced, and the icing needs 24 hours to completely harden. If you want to enjoy the cookies right away, and having hardened icing isn’t a priority for you, then you’ll only need about 4 hours to make these cookies.
- In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamed and smooth – about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 or 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and beat on high until fully combine, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Turn the mixer down to low and add about half of the flour mixture, beating until just combined. Add the rest of the flour and continue mixing until just combined. If the dough still seems too soft, you can add 1 Tablespoon more flour until it is a better consistency for rolling.
- Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Roll each portion out onto a piece of parchment to about 1/4″ thickness. Stack the pieces (with baking paper) onto a baking sheet, cover lightly, and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours and up to 2 days. Chilling is mandatory, for the dough to set up enough to hold its shape when making cut-outs.
- Once chilled, preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment/ baking paper or a silicone baking mat. The number of batches will depend on how large or small you cut out your cookies. Remove one of the dough pieces from the refrigerator and, using a cookie cutter, cut in shapes. Transfer the cookie dough shapes to the prepared baking sheet. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used. Re-chill the dough if it starts getting too soft and gooey. Then cut out more shapes until all the dough is used.
- Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, until very lightly colored on top and around the edges. Do not overbake! Make sure you rotate the baking sheet halfway through bake time, unless you have a fan-forced oven.
- Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before icing. There is no need to cover the cookies as the cookies cool.
- For the icing, whisk together the confectioner’s sugar/ soft icing mixture, vanilla, corn syrup (if using), and 2 tablespoons of water in a medium bowl. The icing should be quite thick. If it looks too thick, add 1/2 Tablespoon more water. If it looks too thin, add 2 more Tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar. If you drizzle a little of the icing with the whisk, the ribbon of icing will hold for a few seconds before melting back into the icing. That is when you know it’s the right consistency and is ready to use. If desired, add liquid or gel food coloring. You can pour some icing into different bowls if using multiple colors. If not decorating cookies right away, cover the icing tightly and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- Decorate the cooled cookies however you’d like. Squeeze bottles make decorating so easy. Enjoy the cookies right away or wait 24 hours for the icing to set and harden. Do not cover the cookies as the icing sets. Once the icing has set, these cookies make wonderful gifts. I find they stay soft for about 5 days at room temperature and up to 10 days in the refrigerator.
- Freezing Instructions: Plain or decorated sugar cookies freeze well up to 3 months. Wait for the icing to set completely before layering between sheets of parchment paper in a freezer-friendly container. Thaw cookies in the refrigerator or at room temperature. You can also freeze the cookie dough for up to 3 months before rolling it out. Prepare the dough through step 3, divide in half, flatten both halves into a disk, as you would do with pie crust, wrap each in plastic wrap, then freeze. Thaw the disks in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature for about 1 hour. Roll out the dough as directed in step 4, then chill rolled out dough in the refrigerator for 45 minutes – 1 hour before cutting into shapes and baking.
- Egg: Room temperature egg is preferred to be easily dispersed in the cookie dough. Good rule of thumb: always use room temperature egg if recipe calls for butter at room temperature or melted.
- Corn Syrup: This is what gives the icing fabulous shine. You may leave it out if you aren’t concerned about shiny, glossy icing. I have never seen corn syrup here in Australia. I’m not sure what could be used in place of it. I didn’t use it, and the icing still looked lovely.
- Salt: I know salt isn’t a typical ingredient in cookie icing, but I like that little pinch of salt. I use about 1/8 teaspoon. OR you can add 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the dry ingredients in the cookie dough. I like it better used in the icing, though.
This recipe was created by Kim Sequoia for a delicious moment.
All written content and photos are copyright Kim Sequoia 2019 for a delicious moment.