Dec 28

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Sugar Cookie Recipe

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decorated polar bear sugar cookie

What would you choose for dessert; a sugar cookie or a slice of chocolate cake?  If you’re anything like me and those two items were in your home, the sugar cookies would be hanging around long after the chocolate cake was polished off.

Don’t get me wrong, I do like sugar cookies, but love them… Not so much.  But trying to decorate chocolate cake to give as gifts - that wouldn’t work as well as sugar cookies do.  Which leads me to the reason why I’m writing this post today – I’ve come up with a sugar cookie recipe by playing around with some favorite recipes.  It’s definitely tasty, although it’s still not in the ‘chocolate cake’ category.  If you try it out I’d love to hear what you think in the comment section below.

Before I get to the recipe, let me share a little introduction to the ‘Polar Bear Parade’ cookies with you.

pretty Christmas ribbon

When I saw this ribbon months ago at Michael’s Craft Store I just knew I had to make a cookie version of it.  Pretty colors, a simple shape and such a cute little polar bear.

polar bear parade of cookies

These were finished before Christmas, but I wasn’t able to post them in time.  If you’d like to create these, you could make just the polar bear or substitute another object for the gift instead.  It’d be a nice winter-themed cookie I think.  The ribbon is probably on sale now too!

polar bear sugar cookie

I used the KopyKake drawing projector to help me draw the image (believe me – I need it!), but you might be able to freehand as it’s a fairly simple shape.

polar bear gingerbread cookie_edited-5

decorated polar bear gingerbread cookie

Some of these are made of a new gingerbread recipe I found on-line, but I wasn’t entirely happy with the results (taste).

polar bear decorated cookie

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been playing around with some of my ’go-to’ sugar cookie recipes – a few of the main ones being Peggy Porschen’sand the NFSC (No Fail Sugar Cookie) recipe (from cakecentral.com), to come up with my own combination.  The latter two are still favourites for me, but now I’ve got a third choice.  This is what I’ve come up with (please also see notes at the bottom of the recipe):

Sugar Cookie Recipe

Ingredients:

2  1/2 cups unsalted butter (at room temperature)

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

seeds from 1 vanilla bean (or 3 tsp vanilla)

5 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder (*take this out if you don’t want your cookies to spread)

1 tsp salt

Instructions:

1. Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer on low to medium speed.  (Use the paddle attachment).  Mix until thoroughly incorporated – for about one minute.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula and mix again for a few seconds more.

Over mixing the butter and sugar in this step will cause too much air to be incorporated into the dough.  If you’d like a light and fluffy cookie, that’s ideal, however the dough will spread more during baking; not ideal if you’d like the cookie to hold its shape.

2. Add eggs slowly and mix.  Scrape down the bowl with your spatula at least once and mix again.

3. Cut open your vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out.  Add to mixing bowl.  Alternatively, add liquid vanilla extract.  Stir briefly.

4. Sift your dry ingredients together.  (Flour, baking powder and salt).

5. Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl.  Place a large tea towel or two small tea towels between the edge of the bowl and the electric mixer so that the flour won’t escape.  Mix on low speed for 3o seconds.  Remove the tea towels and observe the dough mixing; when it clumps around the paddle attachment it’s ready.  It’s also important at this stage not to over mix the dough (the glutens in the flour develop and the dough can become tough).

6. Roll the dough out between 2 large pieces of parchment paper.  Place on a baking sheet and into the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.

7. Roll out the dough further if you need to, and cut out cookie shapes.  Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Re-roll scraps and repeat.

8. Put cookie dough shapes back into the fridge for 10 minutes to 1 hour to chill again.  They will then hold their shape better when baked.

9. Preheat your oven to 350°F or 176°C.

10. Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes or until the edges become golden brown.  The baking time will depend on the size of your cookie.

11. Let cookies cool to room temperature and decorate!

polar bear sugar cookies on a cake stand

 

A few notes about the recipe:

 

*Butter – The butter needs to be soft, or room temperature.  I leave mine out the night before I do my baking.  If you forget, you can grate the butter on the largest hole of your box grater, so that the sugar and butter will mix together better.

*Baking powder – I hardly use any baking powder in my recipe because the dough will spread and rise more during baking, thereby making the shape of the cookie less crisp. The only time I use it now, is if I’m just making round shortbread cookies and I don’t care about the cookies spreading.

*Chill your dough if it gets too soft work with. It’s a softer, sometimes sticky dough (depending on your environment as well), but in my humble opinion, makes up for it in taste.

*Read these tips here on stopping dough from spreading.

Click here for a Printer-Friendly Version of the Sugar Cookie Recipe

I’ll do an in-depth tutorial with pictures on making the sugar cookie dough in a future post.

Hope you enjoy this recipe!

xo,

Marian

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956 Comments

  1. Amanda S
    February 3, 2014 at 5:17 pm | Permalink
    811

    Hi Marian, How many cookies (approx.) does this recipe make? Im about to make this recipe with a 4″ cookie cutter and was just wondering how many 1 batch makes. Thanks so much!!

    • Stephanie
      July 29, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink
      841

      Yes I am curious about this as well!

  2. February 12, 2014 at 5:24 am | Permalink
    812

    Hi Mariam
    again its me!
    my first sugar cookies that i had made was with your awesome recipe. each time i make these cookies i stop a while and smelling them. ummmmmmmmm they smell like heaven.
    love their smell, taste, texture….
    Thank you for your nice and delicious recipe.
    i have choose your recipe for my sugar cookies for ever.
    i know that there is a general rule for recipes in cooking world: you can divide or multiply you recipe and have minimum changes in the result.
    OK but i want to know if you have ever divided you sugar cookie recipe to “4″ and have successful results or not? cos i have to make some animal cookies that they are a little small and making sugar cookies with halved recipe will result in too many animals!!
    what do you suggest to me and how can i prevent to make over needed cookies?
    thank you for your kindness.

    • Gabriela Lopez
      February 20, 2014 at 8:32 pm | Permalink
      816

      Hello Ghazaal!

      I always freeze my cookie dough raw! I can make a couple of batches ahead of time, or make the cookie shapes freeze them on a sheet tray, freeze them and the placenthem on a ziplock bag.
      So whenever I need a quick cookie batch or just bake 1 I don’t habe to make the whole batch!

      Hope it helps.
      Gaby

  3. Carrie
    February 13, 2014 at 7:38 am | Permalink
    813

    Thanks for the tips! Is this 2 sticks (2- half cups) or is it 2.5 cups of butter?

    • Annette
      May 1, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Permalink
      830

      Stephany,

      The butter amount is correct as written.
      2 1/2 cups unsalted butter = 5 sticks of butter.
      Each stick of butter is equal to 1/2 cup of butter.

      I made these cookies last night as my “1st ever roll out cookies” they were perfect and tasted delicious. I baked them for 12 mins at 350 on the 2nd rack up from the bottom.

      I didn’t use baking powder, and I did roll out the dough to 1/4 inch between 2 sheets of parchment paper and chill it for 1 hr. I then cut out the cookies and chilled them for 20 mins in the fridge on the parchment paper lined baking sheets I was going to bake them on. I preheated the oven while the cookies were in the fridge and took out one tray at a time to back straight from the fridge to the oven. 20 mins is perfect so they don’t spread.

      This is now my go to sugar cookie.

      Thanks so much Annette

  4. barbara
    February 17, 2014 at 10:26 am | Permalink
    814

    Hello,
    First let me congratulate you on your website which I love consulting for ideas.

    I have made your sugar cookies using the conversions you have on your website (thank you by the way…great not having to look for them) and halved the recipe.
    The flavour is incredible but the consistency is too soft.can I correct the dough adding more flour once made, or will it ruin it?
    I need to make a cookie that does not crumble too easily as I need to place it in little boxes or silk sachets.Could you advise me on which of your recipe could I use Instead ?
    Thank you so much for your help
    I hope to hear your view.

    Ciao
    Barbara from Ireland

  5. Taylorbaby
    February 17, 2014 at 4:51 pm | Permalink
    815

    I made sugar cookies for the first time EVER and used your recipe as well as your RI recipe! FABULOUS! Everything turned out PERFECT! I made elmo, Cookie Monster, Sesame Street signs, and “2″ cookies for my daughters bday! HUGE HIT! Thanks so much!!! I’m dying to make more and decorate!!!

  6. Yael
    February 28, 2014 at 4:35 am | Permalink
    817

    Hi would using your recipe to make funfetti cookies work (adding sprinkles to the cookie dough mixture) I need a recipe that will hold it’s shape because I want to make bags of “magic star” cookies as a part of a fairy themed favor. I don’t want to start icing the cookies because there will be too many and I am making other things too.

  7. Fun
    March 5, 2014 at 11:51 pm | Permalink
    818

    Hi Mariam,
    From Sunny Singapore, I fell in love with your recipes, colours, blog and ALL.

    Tempted to try your recipes but am having problems converting to grams. Via web conversions, **5 cups flour = 482gm, 496gm and 750gm ??
    I am so lost, which to follow.
    Please help!!!!

  8. Eileen
    March 11, 2014 at 12:52 pm | Permalink
    819

    Hi Mariam,

    I was wondering how thick to roll out the dough when I’m going to cutout the cookies. I’m excited to try your recipe! I also like to cut out the cookies and freeze them. Then I can have fresh cookies whenever I need them. Wonderful page BTW!!

  9. Kim
    March 17, 2014 at 5:02 pm | Permalink
    821

    Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe! I made sugar cookies for the first time last night using your recipe and they are absolutely perfect. I cut the ingredients in half and it was just right. I plan to try your royal icing recipe tonight, wish me luck! Thank you again for all the time you have put into your amazing website.

  10. Stacy
    March 29, 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink
    822

    Was this supposed to be STICKS of butter not CUPS?

  11. Amy
    March 30, 2014 at 2:29 pm | Permalink
    823

    Hi Miriam,

    I have what seems like kind of a silly question. After the dough is made, it is to be chilled. When I take it out of the fridge, it’s impossible for me to roll out because it is too hard. So I have to let it sit on the counter and warm up till it becomes pliable, which seems to negate the whole chilling process. What am I missing? I see other cooks on tv do this as well, they take out a big wheel of pastry dough, throw it on the counter and roll it out. How can they roll it out right away? Is that why you roll it between parchment before chilling? Is it able to be rolled further after you take it out or do you need to let it warm up a bit? Thanks!

  12. Sarah Stribling
    April 1, 2014 at 4:14 pm | Permalink
    824

    Hi There! I always recommend people to your website and think it’s such a staple!

    I’m actually tasked to do a party and need to make about 150 cookies. If we use about the same shape/size as your polar bear cookies, how many cookies does this recipe typically yield?

    Thanks so much!
    Sarah

  13. April 16, 2014 at 7:10 pm | Permalink
    825

    I love this site! I just can’t find the lemon flavored sugar cookie recipe! I looked all over and no luck!!!!! Help!

  14. Stephany Brisco
    April 18, 2014 at 4:39 pm | Permalink
    826

    I made your cookie recipe but the cookies spread WAY out. Is there a typo? Is it suppose to be 2 1/2 sticks instead of 2 1/2 cups? I’m living over seas and I’m pretty sure I converted correctly. 1/2 cup butter = 113 grams. I used 565 grams of butter. Baked them and I can’t even use them they’re so spread and thinned out.

  15. Stephany Brisco
    April 18, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Permalink
    827

    Is this suppose to be 2 1/2 sticks or cups? I used cups and my cookies spread out way too much. I can’t use the cookies.

  16. Maria
    April 27, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Permalink
    828

    Hi!
    I also think this recipe might be incorrect…. I think it should be sticks of butter not cups… My dough came out very sticky… Can you please clarify? I think is a typo…

    Thank you !

  17. Lisa Riley
    April 29, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink
    829

    Hiya, how long will the dough keep (if frozen) and the cookies keep (if airtight)?

  18. Annette
    May 5, 2014 at 2:13 pm | Permalink
    831

    Barbara,

    I put my sugar cookies in cello bags as a thank you gift. 3 per little bag – with parchment paper squares in between each cookie so that they logo didn’t scratch off the cookie. If you put these in the fridge to keep them cold – they won’t crumble. One of my bags fell off the counter as I was putting them in a box, and the cookies didn’t break. Yet they were perfect when left out for a bit to room temp for the guests to eat. Make sure you roll them 1/4 inch thick. Enjoy and good luck.

  19. Mary
    May 7, 2014 at 5:12 pm | Permalink
    832

    Hey my name is Mary and I did this for my sister-in-laws wedding shower. Instead of polper baers I did cutouts in circles and hearts shapes. Everyone loved them!! One tip is instead of using a rolling pin I just put the dough on the cookie sheet and flattened it with my hands so then I doesn’t make shuck a big mess and ps. Add flour to the dought if you do it this way!! Thanks y’all

  20. Elizabeth
    May 14, 2014 at 10:11 am | Permalink
    833

    How many cookies does this recipe make? I am working at a summer camp this summer and am looking to make about 50 of them.

  21. Oksana
    May 21, 2014 at 2:16 am | Permalink
    834

    Hi there,
    I live in New Zealand and I am not too sure how to measure out 2.5 cups of butter – it is not melted is it? Or do I just need to pack softened butter into 2.5 cups? Perhaps you could let me know what your sticks of butter weigh? Thank you so much!

  22. Lisa
    May 21, 2014 at 11:02 pm | Permalink
    835

    Tried to make these for my daughter’s 2nd Birthday. I followed the written instructions, but had the same problem as some others with VERY sticky dough. Even straight from chilling in the fridge for an hour, the first few cookies cut out fine, but by the end of the sheet, they were already sticking to the parchment like a gooey mess. The final cookies spread into blobs and we’re very fragile, so I ended up not being able to use them for the party. They did, however, taste great. Any idea what might have gone wrong? I used the 5 sticks of butter, but am wondering if I used the wrong type of flour (all purpose), or if the flour should have been sifted into the measuring cups, or if there was another small detail I might have missed. Several people seem to have had great luck with this recipe, so I’d like to give it another shot. Thanks in advance.

    • Lisa
      May 21, 2014 at 11:15 pm | Permalink
      836

      Forgot to add: I live in Florida. Would the humidity cause this and, if so, what would I do to compensate?

  23. May 22, 2014 at 8:30 pm | Permalink
    837

    Hi Maria,
    I think your site is amazing and love your recipes! Can you help me find your sugar cookie recipe that uses lemon extract in it? I can’t find it any where??????!!!!!!! Thanks so much for all that you do! Jill

  24. Laura
    June 5, 2014 at 8:59 pm | Permalink
    838

    Hi Marian!

    Looking forward to trying this out for some snowflake cookies for my daughter’s Narnia themed birthday party.
    My questions:
    Do you use plain flour?
    Roughly how many cookies would this make if I use a 12cm (just under 5 inch) snowflake cookie cutter?

    Thank you!

    Laura (Brisbane, Australia)

  25. MimaiBeachMom
    July 26, 2014 at 7:10 pm | Permalink
    839

    Hello Marian!
    I just subscribed to your newsletters. Your website is a great discovery for me!
    I just tried your sugar cookie recipe (it’s actually my fourth attempt), I thought this would be the best and the only recipe I’ll use.
    What went wrong please give me e tip.
    I used the exact amount of the ingredients indicated, except of flour. It took 8 cups to stick the dough together and it was still ripping. I just divided it into two parts and put it into the refrigerator. I don’t think I’ll be able to use any cookie cutters on it. So frustrated :( Any advise, any tip will be so highly appreciated. Thank you!

    • MiamiBeachMom
      July 26, 2014 at 8:27 pm | Permalink
      840

      P.S. Do I need to use a white color to make a white icing? Thank you in advance!

    • marian
      July 30, 2014 at 8:28 am | Permalink
      842

      Hi MiamiBeachMom,

      It seems some people have no problems with the recipe, and some find it a wet dough… Adding flour is definitely a solution, but there must be some other factors happening. Since baking often needs to be so precise, I’m thinking some other things to consider are; what kind of butter are you using? Maybe the water content is high… Generally the more expensive the butter, the higher the fat content and lower water content. If your water content is high there will be more moisture. What is the climate like you’re working in? Is it warm or humid? How chilled was your butter when you began making your dough? Room temperature is what you need but if it’s a warm summer day, the butter might be too soft.
      This post may be helpful too: http://sweetopia.net/2011/04/top-8-tips-on-preventing-cookies-from-spreading/ Some of the factors could overlap.

      If you live in a warmer climate, perhaps using only two cups of butter would be helpful.
      Good luck! xo

  26. MiamiBeachMom
    July 30, 2014 at 11:45 pm | Permalink
    843

    Hello Marian!
    Thank you for you response!
    Yes, I do live in humid and hot climate – Miami, Fl.
    The butter was too soft (Canyon Creek Farms)
    Next time I won’t mix it too long cos I had air in the dough.
    I’ll make another attempt and will let you know!

    Thank you so much for all the information, communication and nice ideas. We all appreciate it so much!

  27. MiamiBeachMom
    August 3, 2014 at 8:56 pm | Permalink
    845

    Dear Marian!
    I’m going to give it another try :) )
    But before I start please, please suggest me what flour to use; Bleached, Unbleached, High Gluten or Whole-wheat flour?
    How to achieve that white-pail cookie color and the needed consistency?
    Thank you so much in advance!!!!!!!!!

  28. Mandee Johns
    August 28, 2014 at 11:17 am | Permalink
    846

    I am making these cookies for a babyshower, since I am doing them, along with everything myself, I was wondering if I made them a week ahead of time, if they would still be ok?

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