Pulling a sheet of cookies out of the oven and having to tell a couple of seven year old girls “Sorry ladies, your cookies didn’t turn out” is no fun, and I know because I had to do it this morning after trying out a new sugar cookie recipe – one recommended as melting tender and thin and crisp. Well, that’s all well and good, but if the cookies spread like crazy and all your carefully cut Christmas trees come out looking like scorched shmoos, then light and tender doesn’t matter. I suppose if we’d cut the cookie dough in a big pool of flour we’d have had better luck, but I hate getting flour everywhere and losing track of how much gets absorbed into the cookies. So that brings me to today’s recipe which is a fool-proof, always works cookie that is great for little girls and boys.
As for taste, there’s quite a bit of baking powder but most kids probably won’t care. The cookies still taste good , they hold their shape beautifully and are sturdy enough to put on sticks, which is why I use this recipe for Cookies on a Stick. I now think it will be my go-to recipe for making any cut-out cookies with seven year old girls.
The exact yield will vary depending on the size you make your cookies. For the icing, I used Amy Sedaris’s recipe which is really just the recipe on the side of the Domino powdered sugar box but more interesting when you call it Amy Sedaris’s. What happened with me was I pulled out Amy’s book to get her icing recipe then started making it and realized the recipe on the box was almost the same. So it’s a trusted formula. I put the grams in for people who use metric and for people who like accuracy. I’ve about had it with measuring flour by volume.
About the lemon extract, you can leave it out if you don’t have any, but I find it adds a mysterious undertone. It certainly doesn’t make the cookies taste lemony, but it’s a good “Oooooh. What’s that flavor?” ingredient. Almond works too, but some people really hate anything with almond extract so use with caution.
No-Fail Cut Out Sugar Cookies with No-Fail Icing
3 cups all purpose flour (380 grams/13.5 oz)
1 teaspoon baking powder (5 ml)
2 sticks butter, unsalted, cool room temperature (230 grams/ 8oz)
1 cup granulated sugar (7.5 oz/210 grams)
1/2 teaspoon salt (2.5 ml)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (5 ml)
1/8 teaspoon lemon extract (or almond) (dash)
1 large egg
Thoroughly stir together the flour and baking powder; set aside.
Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the salt and extracts. Scrape sides of bowl and beat in egg, beating only until egg is blended in.
Add the flour mixture gradually (1 cup at a time) and stir until incorporated
Form the dough into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Roll the dough onto a lightly floured surface to approximately 5/8″ thick. Cut the cookies into shapes and place the cut cookie shape on a parchment lined cookie.
Bake the cookies for approximately 10 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden brown in color. Remove cookies from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
Yield will vary depending on how big you make the cookies
1 stick unsalted butter (4 oz/114 grams)
1 box confectioner’s sugar (1 pound)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup half & half or milk
Mix the softened butter and confectioner’s sugar together in a bowl, then add in the vanilla extract. Beat with an electric mixer until it all comes together. Slowly add the milk or half & half and beat, beat, beat until creamy.