If you’re looking for the best sugar cookie to cut out and decorate, this is the one for you. They stay soft for days and have a better and lighter flavor than most sugar cookies.
A few fun facts:
This post is actually a re-do from 3 years ago. There are some ridiculously ugly pictures from the original post down below that you’ve got to check out. Fun to see the improvement!
I have an obsession (jealousy issue) with royal-icing-decorated cookies and want so badly to have the talent and skill that so many other cookie decorators have.
I’m slowly but surely improving on my decorating skills though – if you want to see a fun (ie – totally embarrassing) comparison to how bad my skills were at one point, check out this fail from a few years ago.
I used to not be able to make or decorate a cookie to save my life. Seriously, it was embarrassing.
But now look. Look where I am. Look at these cute decorated cookies!
Far too often, we get stuck in the comparison game. Especially as bloggers. Our photography isn’t as good as so-and-so’s. Our styling isn’t as “moody” as that one girl’s. Our recipes aren’t as creative as his are. There is SO much comparison. And don’t even get me started on the numbers game. I just have to stick my fingers in my ears when I hear how many page views other bloggers are getting because it just feeds that ugly comparison game.
Instead, I try so hard to compare my current self with my past self. That’s all that I can do. Expecting myself to be at someone else’s level overnight is unrealistic. But expecting myself to be better than myself yesterday or a year ago is not much to ask for, and that is what I strive for in my work.
Improvement in my skills. Mentally, physically, and creatively.
I will say, there is one thing that has not required any change or improvement, and that is these sugar cookies. I have been making them for years, and I haven’t changed a thing because they are just that perfect! They hold their shape when you cut them out with cute cookie cutters. They don’t spread at all. Plus they stay soft for days and practically melt in your mouth with how light they are.
Do yourself a favor. Make these your go-to soft sugar cookie recipe for the holidays and all year long. You can bet I’ll be making them regularly to keep improving my decorating skills.
Check out my EGG-FREE ROYAL ICING RECIPE for the best decorating recipe and tips… without any weird meringue powder or egg whites!
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened to cool room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest (from about 1 lemon)
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Add vanilla extract, almond extract and lemon zest; mix. Add two cups flour, baking powder and salt. Mix. Add remaining flour and mix just until flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth and soft.
Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes. Dust a counter with flour and roll the dough to desired thickness.
Cut the dough into shapes. Place the cookies on a lined or lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes. Keep in mind that the cookies won’t appear browned at all when they are done baking so don’t let them ove-rbake!
Cool the cookies completely on a wire rack before frosting.
If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a picture, upload it to Instagram and tag me (@happyfoodholly) and use the hashtag #inspiredbyholly