It’s that time of year again, when people bust out their best holiday treats. You may or may not know that I am not much of a baker but a few year’s ago my friend Susan shared with me the magical ways of the sugar cookie, and I was hooked.
Every time I share a photo on Instagram, I get asked for the recipe and while I’ve posted about it before, I’m sharing it again today in the spirit of Christmas cookies.
The recipe I’m sharing today originated from Sara Fehling, who shared it with Susan, who passed it along to me! I am literally no baker but this recipe makes it seem like maybe I am.
The original post (with a few updates!) is below!
(I got the adorable Christmas bulb cutter here.)
I know what you’re thinking. They are the very essence of cookie perfection. How could a self-proclaimed non-baker like myself achieve such a high level of excellence? Two things. First, a great recipe, and second, a little life-changing gadget called The Cookie Thing.
Unfortunately, since this original post in 2015, it appears her website is now closed. This is what it looked like:
The Cookie Thing has one purpose: to help you roll out perfectly even dough in the thickness of your choosing. That’s it. You can also use 5/16″ dowels from the craft store to achieve the same end. True, they are much cheaper than The Cookie Thing, but some of us are suckers for a well-designed product.
I don’t have any well lit shots of me rolling out the dough but if you want to see this thing in action, watch this, made by The Cookie Thing’s creator. (This was the video that made me click BUY.)
Note: I used the second smallest of the slats to make my cookies. I always think I should go up to the next depth of slat. But nope, it’s that second to narrowest slat that works like a charm. It measures 4/16, for those who are curious.
2020 UPDATE: I purchased this Precision Rolling Pin from The Cookie Countess. My daughter did the rolling for the year and said it worked like a charm. It’s SO much easier on the wrists than The Cookie Thing and it achieves the same purpose: perfectly even depths for your rolled out dough.
I also used cookie cutters and icing bags from Holly Fox. I adore her designs! We also picked her her bag clips and they are fantastic! We used her icing bags without tips in 2020, and they worked fine! Just snip off a tiny bit off the end, and you’re good to go!
Next you need to have the tools of the trade. Now I ain’t gonna lie. My KitchenAid stand mixer makes the process so much more do-able. I have bird wrists. I’m not a good by-hand mixer kind of gal.
OPTIONAL (Now that we use the Holly Fox bags!) But for achieving that smooth, flooded cookie look you need to have the following:
I had to look up how to put the bags together on the YouTube. (This video is helpful, if this concept is new to you.)
So now that you have all the tools and you’re ready to go, how ’bout I give you the recipe?
HERE YOU GO: SugarCookieAndIcingRecipe
A few extra things to note:
• When I make this cookie recipe, I halve it and make a double batch. Twice. As much as I love my mixer, it has a harder time handling the full 6 cups of flour the recipe calls for. I much prefer to make a half batch, roll out the dough, pop it into the fridge to chill and then tackle batch no. 2. Yes, it makes for more clean up (I start each batch with a clean mixer bowl and paddle) but it’s easier for me to manage.
• I prefer to roll out the dough using parchment paper versus wax paper. It’s less apt to stick to the dough.
• The icing recipe calls for almond extract, but I always flavor with vanilla. It’s a personal taste. I can’t stand the taste of almond extract in anything, though I adore almonds. Go figure.
• In the icing recipe, Sara divides her icing while it is still thick, then adds water to each bowl as she goes. I tend to get my icing a bit more fluid before I divide and conquer. So I add successive tablespoons of water to the mixer until it gets a bit thinner. The danger is that you’ll get it too runny, which you don’t want. I find the icing making stage is the most tedious. Both from getting the consistency right to getting the colors right. It takes time and if you get it too runny, you can always add more powdered sugar. There is a great tip for the right consistency in the PDF.
• Tie off your pastry bags very tightly. What has happened to me on numerous occasions is that I’m so focused on piping on that frosting, I don’t notice that I’m squeezing it up and out of the bag. And yes, that’s a messy clean up.
• Lastly, have fun. Experiment. Make mistakes and practice. Making cookies with Aidan is such a joy, especially on the holidays, so get a partner to help and have at it.
This photo was from Christmas. It’s a total set up. You put wet paper towels in glasses to keep the icing from caking up and you get to work. We keep toothpicks handy to create fun designs. Susan explains how to do that in the PDF. It’s truly an all-day affair. I like to make the cookies the night before, and get to frosting the next day.
Of course, the best part about all of this is that if you like sugar cookies, you are going to love how they taste. Seriously. I don’t make these often because as was the case on Valentine’s Day, I pretty much ate cookies for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
What’s a few days out of the year lost to sugar coma, right?
Note No. 2: I may have left the smaller cookies in the oven about a minute too long. I always tend to want to see brown edges, but honestly? They’re done before that happens.