So, let’s dive in and see how to make sugar cookies from scratch following this recipe, with lots of tips and tricks along the way to ensure cookie-baking success.
Use unsalted butter that’s just soft enough to be pliable, but not warm enough to be greasy. If you press your fingertip into the butter it should leave a slight indentation, but should not be soft and mushy.
Simply spoon white granulated sugar into your measuring cup and level it off with the flat edge of a knife, spatula, or bench scraper.
Use cool or room temperature large eggs.
For the best flavor, use real vanilla extract instead of imitation vanilla.
Use all-purpose flour. To measure flour, fluff it up with a spoon in the bag or container, then use the spoon to scoop it into the measuring cup and level it off. Don’t pack the flour into the measuring cup or the ingredient ratio will be off and your cookies may turn out too dry and crumbly.
Baking powder is a leavening agent and helps the cookie dough rise while baking.
Use regular table salt for this recipe.
Cream the butter and sugar
The first thing you’ll do is beat together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer (hand-held or stand mixer) until the mixture is light and fluffy. Depending on the mixer you use, this could take four to five minutes. Why do you cream butter and sugar in the first place?
It’s all about incorporating air into the mixture. The micro pockets of air you create by creaming cause the dough to rise as it bakes so your cookies will be light in texture instead of flat and dense. Cool (not cold) butter works best; butter that’s too warm won’t let you create the structure you need.
Add eggs and vanilla
After the butter and sugar are creamed, add the eggs and vanilla. Many home cooks like to add the eggs one at a time. You’ll want the eggs and vanilla to be thoroughly mixed into the butter and sugar before adding the dry ingredients.
Add flour, baking powder, and salt
Measure these dry ingredients into a separate bowl, whisk them together thoroughly, then turn your mixer to a lower speed and stir the flour mixture into the butter and sugar mixture. Be sure to scrape the sides of the mixing bowl a couple of times so there are no streaks of flour in the dough.
Cover and chill the dough
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. This firms up the butter in the dough and helps prevent the cookies from spreading as they bake.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes while you turn on the oven, prep your baking sheets, and gather your cookie cutters. By the time you’re ready to roll, the dough will be easier to handle.
Dust your countertop and rolling pin with flour to prevent the dough from sticking. Roll the dough into an even thickness, about ¼ to ½ inch. Dip the sharp edge of your cookie cutter into flour and cut out shapes. Place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving an inch or more of space between the cutouts.
This space allows the dough to spread slightly and the hot oven air to circulate around each cookie for even baking.
Good baking requires more than just popping something into the oven. For one thing, there’s the temperature. Every oven heats differently. That’s why we always recommend you use an oven thermometer to measure the real temperature before you start baking.
And then there are the oven hot spots. To make sure your cookies (or any baked goods) bake evenly, its a good idea to rotate your pan halfway through the baking time.
These sugar cookies take only six to eight minutes to bake. You want them to be slightly browned around the edges but still light in color overall. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely; they’ll firm up as they cool.
Note: Lining your baking sheet with parchment paper allows you to slide the cookies, paper and all, onto the rack so you don’t have to touch the warm cookies and risk bending or breaking them if you tried to pry them off the sheet with a spatula.
This is especially important if you’re baking sugar cookie cutouts with intricate shapes. After the cookies cool for about 10 minutes, you can slide them off the parchment paper itself and reuse the paper for another batch of cookies. Be sure your baking sheet is completely cooled before loading it up again. You don’t want to melt the cookies before they bake.
The main thing to remember is to let the cookies cool completely before applying cookie icing or frosting so the heat from the cookies doesn’t melt it off.
The best rolled sugar cookies has one simple recipe that will turn heads rolling and your family, large or small, will fall in love with every bite of it. As a cookie enthusiast, you can also try our sugar cookie icing.
The best rolled sugar cookie recipe serves everyone so right that once you are good at it, you’ll be frequenting your oven with some baking sheets full of cookies. You can try this on Christmas holidays and you won’t regret having learnt the best thing so far!