Dec 28

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Sugar Cookie Recipe

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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

 

Sugar Cookie Recipe

Yield: Makes about 30-35 cookies, but it will also depend on the size of the cookie cutter and how thick you make your cookies.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • seeds from 1 vanilla bean (or 3 tsp vanilla)
  • 5 cups all purpose 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Add eggs slowly and mix. Scrape down the bowl with your spatula at least once and mix again.
  4. Cut open your vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out. Add to mixing bowl. Alternatively, add liquid vanilla extract. Stir briefly.
  5. Sift your dry ingredients together. (Flour, baking powder and salt).
  6. 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 30 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).
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Preheat your oven to 350°F or 176°C.
  11. Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes or until the edges become golden brown. The baking time will depend on the size of your cookie.
  12. Let cookies cool to room temperature and decorate!

Notes

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.

*Amount of Butter - I’ve noticed some people who've tried the recipe who live in a warmer climate have trouble with 2.5 cups butter, and although the extra 1/2 cup butter taste is nice, to make the dough easier to work with in any climate, I edited the recipe to say only 2 cups of butter.

*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.

http://sweetopia.net/2009/12/sugar-cookie-recipe/

polar bear sugar cookies on a cake stand

 

A few notes about the recipe:

These have already been included in the recipe above, but just in case you didn’t see them, they are important to read, so I’ve included them again.

 

*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.

*Amount of Butter – I’ve noticed some people who’ve tried the recipe who live in a warmer climate have trouble with 2.5 cups butter, and although the extra 1/2 cup butter taste is nice, to make the dough easier to work with in any climate, I edited the recipe to say only 2 cups of butter. The printable version is uneditable, so still says 2.5 cups of butter.

*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.

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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1,254 Comments

  1. March 13, 2017 at 2:50 am | Permalink
    1077

    I tried to make it but the dough was not normal.I have no idea what went wrong.However thanks for publishing the recipe.I will try this once again.

    • Cecilia
      May 29, 2017 at 7:40 pm | Permalink
      1079

      Hi Marian
      Thank you very much for yor recipe and the tips, very helpful for me.

  2. Mariafer
    July 6, 2017 at 1:15 am | Permalink
    1080

    Hi, I tried the recepie and it was easy to do, I did it step by step but when I put it in the fridge about two ours and I roll it it becomes too soft… can you tell me what can I do?
    I used 4 butter sticks (2 cups)
    Thank you, regards

  3. Donna B.
    September 21, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink
    1081

    Your recipe states that it makes 30-35 cookies. Could you please tell me what size cookie are you basing that on? Thank you for your help. Love your site.

  4. Pri
    November 18, 2017 at 9:11 am | Permalink
    1082

    Hi
    I am a vegetarian. Can you please suggest a substitute that can be used instead of eggs.
    Thanks.

  5. Rheba
    November 21, 2017 at 8:55 am | Permalink
    1083

    Hi, thanks for all the baking tips for making cookies that won’t spread. Can I make this dough a day ahead and still be successful?

    • marian
      November 21, 2017 at 9:05 pm | Permalink
      1084

      Hi Rheba,
      Yes you can.

  6. Barbara
    December 10, 2017 at 1:38 am | Permalink
    1085

    Just made a batch of these cookies and they did not turn out great. Dough was sticky and then the biscuits spread even though i omitted the baking powder. Bit disappointed.

  7. Jay
    December 10, 2017 at 10:40 pm | Permalink
    1086

    I’m pretty sure that you meant to write 2 sticks of butter rather then 2 cups! They were very buttery and spread like crazy! Plus, the texture was bad. Kind of put a damper on my Christmas cookie baking with my grandkids.

    • marian
      December 16, 2017 at 7:15 am | Permalink
      1091

      Hi Jay,
      I’m sad to hear that it put a damper on you Christmas cookie baking! These cookies really do work out (I do not know the people who leave me comments saying they loved the recipe and they dough/cookies came out perfect), but baking can definitely be finicky and like a science… everything from measurements to the ingredients you use makes a difference. I’m not sure what happened in your case but yes, I do use 2 cups of butter. I follow these tips for preventing spreading as well; http://sweetopia.net/2011/04/top-8-tips-on-preventing-cookies-from-spreading/
      I hope you feel encouraged to try baking with your grandkids again, they are fortunate to have you!

  8. Kimberly
    December 10, 2017 at 10:58 pm | Permalink
    1087

    I’ve literally made hundreds of sugar cookies in the last two weeks with this recipe and they always come out perfect!!! Excellent recipe! My cookies kept perfect shape!

  9. Jennifer
    December 13, 2017 at 10:35 pm | Permalink
    1088

    This is my favorite sugar cookie recipe! I like soft thick cookies and these make the perfect cookies even with nice browned bottom they are still soft and sweet.

    • marian
      December 15, 2017 at 8:26 pm | Permalink
      1089

      Thanks Jennifer!

  10. Cate
    December 18, 2017 at 5:31 pm | Permalink
    1092

    May I asked the brand flour and butter? Flour protein and treatment (bleached, unbleached, malted, unmalted) varies substantially by brand. And butterfat to water content also varies by brand. So brands really matters when it come to dough quality.

    I’ve use different three different recipes to bake sugar cutout cookies over the past three days. Not happy with the results, so still testing recipes. Yours has more butter than the recipes I’ve tried so far, so I’m hopeful.

    • December 19, 2017 at 8:20 pm | Permalink
      1094

      I’m in Canada so I’m not sure this is helpful for you, but for the most part, I use Lactantia or GayLea butter and Robin Hood all-purpose flour. Usually the more expensive butter (in whatever country you’re in) has more fat content so will work out better in terms of less spreading etc.
      Hopefully that helps!

    • Cate
      December 22, 2017 at 1:41 am | Permalink
      1097

      Marian, thank you. The information is helpful. I purchase a lot of my flours from a mill that supplies the top bakeries in the US. They are extremely knowledgeable so they can help me select a flour comparably in protein to Canadian flour. Likewise, I can choose a butter comparable in butterfat.

    • marian
      December 30, 2017 at 2:20 pm | Permalink
      1098

      Wonderful, you are definitely on the ball in baking! Enjoy! 🙂

  11. Beth
    December 19, 2017 at 7:28 pm | Permalink
    1093

    When I stumbled upon this recipe a few years ago, I knew immediately that it was a winner! I have shared your beautiful recipe with so many family and friends, who all agree, it’s the best rolled cookie dough! Following the recipe is a no brainer, follow it precisely, and the cookies will come out perfectly. I chilled the dough after rolling out my cookies for about 45 minutes and definitely skipped the baking powder. I even used your recipe to make decorated wedding cake cookie favors for my dear friends daughters wedding! Thank you for all your cookie “wisdom”, and that compliment comes from a very seasoned baker, me!

    • December 19, 2017 at 8:21 pm | Permalink
      1095

      Thanks for the lovely comment Beth, it really is wonderful to hear from you! Merry Christmas!

  12. Margaux Kirk
    December 20, 2017 at 11:38 pm | Permalink
    1096

    This is my go to sugar cookie recipe! I have tried so many others before this! The notes were very helpful. Thank you so much for posting!

    • marian
      December 30, 2017 at 2:21 pm | Permalink
      1099

      Thanks and happy baking to you Margaux!

  13. Lauren
    January 7, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink
    1100

    Hi! I am making cookies today (Sunday) that I plan to decorate next Saturday. I am going to freeze them until I am ready to use them. Do you typically bake and freeze, or freeze the cut outs and just defrost before baking? Thanks!!

  14. Alice
    January 18, 2018 at 7:43 am | Permalink
    1101

    Hello!! Can you freeze the dough?

    Thank you 🙂

    • marian
      January 19, 2018 at 1:55 pm | Permalink
      1102

      Hi Alice,
      Yes, you can!

  15. Trish
    January 20, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink
    1103

    Marian, You are absolutely right…measuring is key, I spoon my flour in, level it off. Mix only till everything is combined and NO more! As for me, I roll out my dough when it is soft, I can always add a little flour if its too sticky.I then freeze it in layers till stiff. Sooo much easier than playing with soft dough and getting mishapen cookies. Thank you so much for sharing all your recipes and techniques. You are my go to girl for sugar cookies 😉

    • marian
      January 24, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink
      1104

      Thanks Trish! I appreciate your feedback! Happy baking!

  16. Monica Lugo
    March 18, 2018 at 7:05 pm | Permalink
    1105

    I was a bit concern to try this recipe after reading that some of the ladies didn’t have success with it. I live in the south and it’s pretty warm and humid here.
    Well, I just made this recipe and it came out perfect!!!
    I refrigerated the dough overnight and bake the cookies today. I had to wait a bit to able to work the dough but after some 20 minutes I was able to cut the cookies and bake them with no problem.
    Thanks you Marian!

    • March 19, 2018 at 9:25 am | Permalink
      1106

      I’m so glad to hear it Monica! Thank you for sharing!

  17. Stephanie M
    March 29, 2018 at 8:27 pm | Permalink
    1107

    I wanted to thank you so much for this sugar cookie recipe! I have been using this recipe for over SIX years & it is best & the most consistent COOKIE recipes I make. I cannot even get the Nestle Chocolate Chip Tollhouse Cookie recipe to come out as consistent as your sugar cookie recipe! Yes, it is 2 cups of butter at room temperature & REFRIGERATION after making the dough AND cutting the cookies out is the key to making these bad boys, even in the dead of winter!

    Thanks for producing a wonderful blog and teaching me that, “YES, you can ice a cookie with royal icing and not make it look like a Pinterest fail!”

    • March 31, 2018 at 2:47 pm | Permalink
      1108

      Thank you Stephanie, that’s great to hear! xo

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