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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1,225 Comments

  1. Lauren
    March 28, 2016 at 11:02 am | Permalink
    1017

    I LOVE this recipe! It is definitely my go to sugar cookie recipe! Thanks!

  2. Melanie
    April 8, 2016 at 10:02 am | Permalink
    1018

    By far the best sugar cookie recipe I’ve ever used!
    They held their shape perfectly and super easy to make.
    THANKS SO MUCH for all the tips!!

  3. Cailin
    May 17, 2016 at 11:07 pm | Permalink
    1019

    Beautiful recipe. I worked with cold butter and left out the baking powder and they worked perfectly. Thank you so much 🙂

  4. Huma
    May 19, 2016 at 7:33 pm | Permalink
    1020

    Thank you a million times over Marian! My first ever attempt at making and icing sugar cookies – and I used your recipe and tutorial. Brilliant instructions that created perfectly formed shapes. Everyone thought I had gotten the cookies proffesionally made!
    I made mice and foxes for part of a Gruffalo themed birthday for my just turned 4yr old. He was the most excited 4 year old ever

  5. Michelle
    May 24, 2016 at 4:52 pm | Permalink
    1021

    Hi Marian,

    I just attempted to make these cookies and the batter was to dry.
    I have read comments and your responses and you talk a lot about humidity – would it be safe to say that maybe adding all 5 cups of flour at once is too much, especially if you don’t know much about humidity or about the water content in the butter being used.

  6. Paula
    June 10, 2016 at 12:07 am | Permalink
    1022

    I really enjoy making sugar cookies and decorating them. Would you be willing to share your recipe for icing your cookies? I think you referred to it as “Royal” icing? I would really like to have a recipe to try. Thx so much!!! Going to be hosting an open house soon and these would be wonderful to serve.

    • marian
      August 12, 2016 at 2:22 pm | Permalink
      1027

      Hi Paula,

      Yes, I share all my recipes in my recipe section. (Top of site). xo

  7. Stephanie
    June 17, 2016 at 12:35 am | Permalink
    1023

    I love this recipe. My cookies come out great every time!!!! Thank you for sharing!

  8. Maamaabear
    July 4, 2016 at 9:01 pm | Permalink
    1024

    I am loving all your tutorials and your blog. Thank you for sharing with us all!! I do have a question about your cookie recipe here and your royal icing recipe. Can both be pre-made and used later and if so for how long. Basically, how many days before hand can I make each and have them bake and ice as good as day one? Thank you so much!

  9. Kellee
    July 5, 2016 at 9:49 pm | Permalink
    1025

    Great recipe! Comes out perfect every time!! Thanks!!

  10. Santiago
    August 9, 2016 at 12:44 am | Permalink
    1026

    Hi Marian,

    I just happened to stumble on your site while looking for cookies and decorating them. It is amazing how you provide such detailed explanation.

    Cups measure changes from country to country between US, UK and Australia. Could you please provide this in grams to help beginners like me.

    Thanks a ton in advance.

    • Patricia
      September 3, 2016 at 2:58 am | Permalink
      1028

      Hi, I believe 2 cups of butter is 225 grams.

    • marian
      September 3, 2016 at 7:21 am | Permalink
      1029

      Hi Patricia,

      The package of my butter says 2 cups/454 grams. The scale says the same. 😉

  11. Lia
    September 16, 2016 at 4:49 pm | Permalink
    1030

    It makes a huge difference which flour you use. Canadian flour has lots more gluten than American flour. Had to adjust all my recipes use less canadian flour and more American flour could be the reason people having trouble. Plus flour has different results in different weather anyone who bakes bread knows you need to account for the humidity in the air. Hope this helps.

  12. Cheryl henderson
    September 20, 2016 at 7:49 am | Permalink
    1032

    Hi Marian

    Thank you for your recipe share i love all your cookies your my inspiration and I would love to be able to Create cookies like yours one day I ha e a couple of questions if that’s ok? How thin do you roll your dough? Do these cookies have a crisp or soft texture I love crisp cookies but am struggling to find one and finally when you are decorating cookies and you have to leave them out to dry before decorating other sections were do you leave your cookies I find if I leave the cookies out they go soft but if I put them in a container the icing smudges thank you so much Cheryl xxxx

  13. Erin
    September 21, 2016 at 1:07 pm | Permalink
    1033

    Hi Marian,

    After I bake the cookies, they are very soft, perhaps that’s the way they are supposed to be, but I find that it makes for a rather fragile cookie. Do you have any tips on how to make them less soft or less fragile? I mean they’re delicious, but scares me if I’m trying to transport them; I’m afraid they’re going to break.

    • September 21, 2016 at 1:18 pm | Permalink
      1034

      Hi Erin,

      Absolutely – Bake them longer and they’ll be crispier and more sturdy. If the room the cookies are sitting in is humid, you may need to put a dehumidifier on… The cookies could be absorbing the moisture in the air.

      Hope that helps!

  14. amie
    September 27, 2016 at 6:39 pm | Permalink
    1036

    I wanted to make your sugar cookie recipe, but there is an advertisement blocking half of the recipe.

    • marian
      September 28, 2016 at 7:32 am | Permalink
      1037

      Hi Amie,

      I’m sorry, my site has been “experiencing difficulties” since Thursday… This is not how it’s supposed to look. The ads are supposed to be in the sidebar and it the whole design was lost and I had to “activate” an old blog theme (long story), so I really hope it will be back to normal in the next few days. I have someone looking into it.

      I have changed the format of the recipe so that the print button is on the right, hopefully that helps!

      Sorry for the inconvenience!

  15. natalie
    October 2, 2016 at 1:54 pm | Permalink
    1038

    Hi! I love this recipe and have used it in the past with great success. I am about to make these for my son’s football team (shaped like helmets) and was curious if you have ever used food coloring in them to change the color? I was hoping to make them black for the helmet and then decorate from there. Or do you have a chocolate sugar cookie recipe? Thanks!!

  16. Patricia Respers
    October 7, 2016 at 5:52 pm | Permalink
    1040

    HI i want to make your cookies for a halloween party. How far in advance will be ok to make them if I am going to put them in bags with tags.

  17. SK
    October 17, 2016 at 5:47 am | Permalink
    1042

    Hi Marian,
    This recipe looks perfect for what I need to do and I really want to to make it. Would you by any chance have this converted into metrics because im afraid to convert it and mess it up. Thanks

    • marian
      October 27, 2016 at 10:27 am | Permalink
      1045

      Hi SK,
      I don’t right now but I do have my conversion charts in the sidebar (right side) of the blog. xo

  18. Carol
    October 26, 2016 at 1:48 pm | Permalink
    1043

    I can’t wait to try these. Just one question, to give these a lemon flavor how much extract or zest would be good. Thanks.

  19. Carol
    November 4, 2016 at 11:31 pm | Permalink
    1046

    Thanks so much for your reply.

  20. Kirsten
    November 14, 2016 at 4:38 pm | Permalink
    1047

    Hi Marian

    I love this recipe and have made it before but I can’t remember what type of sugar I used. Do you use white, brown or raw sugar for your recipe?

    Thanks 🙂

    • marian
      November 15, 2016 at 6:26 am | Permalink
      1048

      Hi Kirsten,
      I use white sugar. Not the confectioner’s sugar, but the granulated sugar. Have fun baking!

  21. Erin
    November 17, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Permalink
    1049

    Hi Marian,

    Do you recommend using the convection setting to bake these cookies? If so, do you still use the same temp 350 f?

    • November 17, 2016 at 1:52 pm | Permalink
      1050

      Hi Erin, I do like the convection setting and yes, I do keep it at 350. Happy baking!

  22. Sladjana
    November 28, 2016 at 2:13 pm | Permalink
    1051

    can you give me recept in grams? Tnx

  23. Lee
    November 30, 2016 at 9:18 am | Permalink
    1052

    Hi Marian

    Just testbake ur cookie recipe for my boy’s bday, and it taste amazing

    Thanks for the great recipe
    Do u have any recipe for a good icing without white egg
    Thx

  24. Michelle Evans
    December 9, 2016 at 2:00 pm | Permalink
    1053

    I’ve been using this recipe for the last 3 years. I don’t change a thing and every party I’ve ever made these for, EVER PERSON that tries them LOVE them!!!!

  25. Michelle Evans
    December 9, 2016 at 2:04 pm | Permalink
    1054

    I’ve been using this recipe for the last 3 years. Every party I make them for, every person that tries them LOVES them!!!

    • marian
      December 9, 2016 at 6:47 pm | Permalink
      1055

      Hi Michelle,

      I’m so glad to hear it! Thanks for taking the time to come and let me know!

  26. Jennifer
    December 14, 2016 at 7:40 pm | Permalink
    1056

    Hi Marian, I just made a batch of your cookies and I have a quick question on saving the excess dough for a later date? Like within the week (more or less), have you ever saved your dough?

    I made the recipe out of excitement for my new mixer (haha) and I have soooooo much dough!!

    Thank you!

    -Jennifer

    • marian
      December 15, 2016 at 6:52 am | Permalink
      1057

      Hi Jennifer,
      Absolutely, I just freeze mine!

  27. Rachel
    December 15, 2016 at 4:38 pm | Permalink
    1058

    Do you think the batter would freeze well and then thaw? I want to make a few cookies with the kids tomorrow and then make the majority on Saturday morning for a cookie decorating party

    • marian
      December 15, 2016 at 5:14 pm | Permalink
      1059

      Hi Rachel,

      Yes this freezes well. Happy baking!

  28. December 15, 2016 at 9:06 pm | Permalink
    1060

    My dough is suuuuper wet? Do I need to add more flour?

    • marian
      December 16, 2016 at 8:37 am | Permalink
      1061

      Hi Melissa,
      Yes add 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup at a time until it’s soft but not sticky to the touch.

  29. LaTara
    December 18, 2016 at 7:08 pm | Permalink
    1062

    I am done mixing everything together but my dough it very soft and crumbly 🙁

    • marian
      December 18, 2016 at 8:41 pm | Permalink
      1063

      Hi LaTara,

      It’s so interesting, baking is like a science. If you look two comments above yours, you’ll see someone made the recipe but they said theirs was super wet.

      It’s difficult for me to say without having been with you to see your ingredients and measurements etc., but it’s important to have all the measurements etc. right. Not to despair though… A few things you can do… Keep mixing and see if it just takes more time for the dough to come together and if that doesn’t work add a little bit of water or milk until the dough forms into a ball.
      xo

  30. Ali
    December 18, 2016 at 10:21 pm | Permalink
    1064

    My all time favorite recipe … I have made it a million times and get compliments each and every time. I make cookies for all my friends and family now and come straight to your blog for every recipe and idea! Thanks for all the help!! Please continue to share! Love!!

    • December 19, 2016 at 8:49 am | Permalink
      1065

      Hi Ali,

      Thank you so much for sharing. I’m glad you like it and appreciate the time you took to come back to comment! Merry Christmas!

  31. Ashley
    December 19, 2016 at 6:34 pm | Permalink
    1066

    Far too much flour! Had to throw out my dough. Will be trying again with less

    • December 19, 2016 at 7:54 pm | Permalink
      1067

      Hi Ashley,

      It’s interesting that some people say the dough is too sticky, some people say it’s too dry, and many say it’s just right. It’s hard to say without being there and seeing the ingredients, measurements etc., what the differences are, but baking is very precise and almost like a science. Perhaps even how soft the butter is makes a difference in how well the dough comes together. Please do try again, I’ve done a lot of experimenting, and this recipe is one of my cut-out cookie favorites. And yes, absolutely, try less flour… Maybe add 3/4 of it and then slowly add the rest until you’re happy with the texture. The dough should be soft but not sticky. I hope that helps and all the best to you!

  32. Jackie
    December 22, 2016 at 1:08 am | Permalink
    1068

    Hello! I made this recipe last week. I still have extra dough in that’s been stored in the fridge for about 7 day. Is the dough still good to use?

    • December 22, 2016 at 8:24 am | Permalink
      1069

      Hi Jackie,

      The dough might be a little dry, but yes, it’s still good to use. In the future, just an fyi, you can freeze it.

  33. Kiki
    January 11, 2017 at 1:28 pm | Permalink
    1070

    Hi, I’ve been seeing these delectable cookies on my pinterest page for quite sometime and I think I’ve fallen in love with these.Unfortunately I have an egg allergy. Is there any way to make these without egg/ I’m from India and I haven’t found any of those egg replacer things you get in the market. Please, pretty please lemme know how I can make cut out cookies without egg or replacer (maybe use aquafaba?)Thanks a ton!!

    • marian
      January 17, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink
      1071

      Hi Kiki,

      I haven’t tried it but I’m sure you could use aquafaba! As long as you have about the same amount of moisture/binder, it should work!

  34. Kiki
    January 18, 2017 at 1:20 am | Permalink
    1072

    Thanks I’ll give it a try and see if that works 🙂

  35. Jayme
    January 24, 2017 at 10:41 pm | Permalink
    1073

    I followed the recipe and all of the notes exactly (including no baking powder), but when I just pulled my first batch of cookies out of the oven they spread more than any recipe I’ve ever tried! They are not usable. I did refrigerate cut cookie dough over night. Could this be the reason? Any advice is appreciated, I think I will need to scrap all of my cookies.

  36. Jacqui
    January 31, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink
    1074

    Can I double the recipe or should I make 2 separate batches?

  37. February 11, 2017 at 3:21 am | Permalink
    1075

    Hi Marian
    I have made one batch using your recipe. Im in Australia and wondering how should i go about the conversion? should I just use the cups i have or do you suggest I use a weight by grams? when i look up conversions from US to AU there are so many variations.Would the difference in the cup size from US to AU matter that mush to your recipe? looking forward to your reply : )

  38. Joan
    March 12, 2017 at 10:38 am | Permalink
    1076

    Hi Marian – I’d like to try your cookie recipe using the 2.5 cups of butter…sounds yummy and I’m not in a warm climate. Would I just increase the butter or do I change anything else? Thanks so much.

    • marian
      March 13, 2017 at 7:57 pm | Permalink
      1078

      Hi Joan,
      I’d still do the 2 cups of butter. Happy baking!

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