Amish Sugar Cookies

In honor of National Sugar Cookie Day, here’s an old recipe that I’ve really grown to appreciate over the years. It was given to me by a reader named John, whose version was actually double this.  These are crumbly and light and kind of fall apart when you eat them; but they’re not like shortbread and I wouldn’t call them butter cookies, either. They’re kind of boring on their own, but with frosting they are excellent.

Amish Sugar Cookies

The butter flavored emulsion is completely optional, but I bought some at Michael’s a while back and like to put it in cookies just for fun. I think it adds a little hint of flavor.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Happy Sugar Cookie Day -- Amish Sugar Cookies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Powdery light sugar cookies that are perfect with a thick layer of frosting
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 32
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (8 oz)** weigh for best results
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup salted butter or add 3/8 teaspoon of salt and use unsalted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon butter flavored emulsion such as Lorann (optional)
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 to 3 3/4 cups of powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of room temperature whole milk plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. In a small bowl, thoroughly stir together flour, cornstarch, baking soda and cream of tartar.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and both sugars until creamy. Gradually beat in the oil; beat in the egg and vanilla until smooth. Add some butter flavoring if you like.
  3. Gradually stir flour mixture into butter mixture. Batter should be too soft to roll -- it's similar to chocolate chip cookie dough in thickness. Chill the dough for about 30 minutes so that it's easier to shape into balls.
  4. When ready to bake, scoop up scant tablespoons of dough and shape into 1 inch balls. Arrange the balls about 2 inches apart on ungreased or parchment or foil lined (do not grease or use spray) baking sheets and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool slightly on baking sheets, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
  5. To make the frosting, put the room temperature butter in a bowl. Gradually add as much sugar as you can, stirring well, then add a little milk. Start beating with an electric mixer and continue adding sugar and milk until frosting is creamy. Add vanilla.
  6. Spread over cooled cookies
They tend to be puffier, lighter and crumblier when bleached flour is used, but you can use any flour you like. As for the frosting, this recipe only uses 1/2 cup of butter and the rest of the moisture comes from milk. Whole milk works the best. With a higher ratio of sugar, the frosting crusts over. However, if you want a richer frosting you can use 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter. The yield is approximate.


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  1. says

    Happy sugar cookie day! I’ve been wanting to try that emulsion. I’ll have to pick some up sometime. I think I might make these tomorrow but maybe turn them into a thumbprint cookie?

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