Sugar cookies have been a favorite in my family for years. About twenty years ago, I found this cookie recipe in a Betty Crocker Cookbook. Betty Crocker’s Ultimate Cookie Book is filled with beautiful cookie recipes and this is one of them. I’m pretty sure that the cookbook was a gift from my mom the first Christmas that I lived on my own. The cookbook is out of print but it looks like you can get a used copy on amazon.
The recipe is perfect. The sugar cookies are light in the middle, and delicately crispy around the edges. Powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar produces a tender texture. Vanilla and almond extract create a unique flavor for this much loved sugar cookie. The dough rolls out easily, and of course the kids love cutting out the shapes. We make this recipe around Christmas, but it is also a great recipe for making Valentine’s Day heart cookies, and Halloween pumpkins.
Make the dough in your KitchenAid mixer or using a handheld mixer. Separate the finished dough into two sections, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least two hours. At this point you can also freeze the dough, and then move it to the refrigerator a day before you plan to bake it. I like doing this to make baking easier, especially around Christmas time. Right now I have frozen dough for four different cookie recipes waiting for me in the freezer 🙂
Once the dough is chilled, roll it out and cut into desired shapes. We just got an awesome new set of Christmas cookie cutters made by Joiedomi from our friends Carla and Maisie. Bake the cookies at 375° for 7-8 minutes, cool completely, and then frost and decorate with your favorite buttercream and sprinkles.
The buttercream that I used for these sugar cookies is very similar to the buttercream that I use for cupcakes. I adapted the buttercream from my Vanilla Bean Cupcake recipe. I swapped the vanilla beans out for 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract and used a little less milk. Again, the comination of the almond and vanilla extracts make this buttercream irrisistible!
Enjoy the recipe and please, share the cookies that you make on Instagram so that I can see them! Even better, bring them over so that I can try them!
Click below to see the recipe…
Sugar Cookies with Buttercream Icing
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3 cups confectioner's sugar sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 3-4 tbsp whole milk
Make the Cookie Dough
- Mix the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of your standing mixer or in a large bowl. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract. Mix until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar.
- Add the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture and mix to combine.
- Divide the dough into two parts and wrap in plastic. Chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours before rolling it out.
Make the Buttercream
- While the cookie dough is chilling, go ahead and make the buttercream icing.
- In the bowl of your mixer, or in a medium mixing bowl, mix the softened butter until it is light and fluffy.
- Stop the mixer and through a sifter, add the confectioner's sugar. Then add the vanilla and almond extracts, and 2 tbsp of milk. Starting on the lowest setting, mix the icing together.
- Once combined, check your consistency and add more milk if needed. Scrape the sides of the bowl and turn the mixer up to medium speed. Beat the icing on medium for 2-3 minutes or until it is nice and fluffy.
- Reserve the icing until you are ready to decorate your cookies.
Preparing the Cookies for Baking
- Preheat oven to 375° Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Remove one ball of dough from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough until it is about 1/8 of an inch thick. Cut into your desired shapes.
- Bake for 7 to 8 minutes until cookies are barely brown on the edges. If you prefer your cookies crunchier, you can bake for a bit longer.
- Remove cookies from the oven and allow them to rest for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely
- Once the cookies are cool, have fun decorating. You can spread or pipe on the icing and cover with your favorite sprinkles. Enjoy!