I will be the first to admit that decorating cookies is not my strong suit. But I’ve gotten more and more comfortable doing them and having tried a handful of recipes, I’ve decided that this recipe yields Perfect Roll-Out Sugar Cookies.
This recipe takes a few more steps than some other popular recipes, but that really doesn’t bother me because the results are so consistent. Every time I bake cookies, they come out perfect, they hold their shape and size, and they’re soft and delicious.
Now when I say “soft”, I don’t mean melt-in-your-mouth soft, like an old-fashioned sugar cookie, but also not a crispy crunchy cookie. They stay soft in the middle, with firm enough edge to hold up to decorating and transporting.
Oh, and let me get back to that “holds their shape” thing… I seriously mean they do! Let me show you…
That’s an unbaked cookie lying on top of a baked cookie. It barely changed shape or size at all! This is a very attractive quality in a cookie that you hope to decorate! Here’s another example… the first pic is the cookie dough before baking:
And here’s the baked & decorated cookie:
I used the same cookie cutter to cut out the fondant for Peppa Pig and it fit almost perfectly because the cookie held it’s shape beautifully!
Okay… so are you convinced? I hope so! I really hope you’ll give this recipe a try. Every client who orders them brags on how delicious they are – and beautiful!
Now, let me tell you one more trick that I do with these cookies. I never could get my dough the perfect thickness when rolling it out. Then I saw this thing about using thickness rails or cookie dough guides… basically sticks that you can use to roll out your cookie dough to a consistent thickness.
Well that sounded brilliant – except I don’t do enough cookies to justify the expense. So what do I use? My Tappit Cutters and my big Wilton 20″ Fondant Rolling Pin! Yep – I lay them down on either sides of my dough and roll it out to the perfect thickness! (I know that the rolling pin comes with guides that are supposed to do the same thing, but I just never could get those things to work for me!)
Here are some other cookies I’ve done (and you can see ALL of the cookies I have posted by clicking HERE):
Anyway… so here’s a quick rundown of how I do these cookies. The full recipe will be below!
- Make the dough, then wrap it in plastic wrap or put it in a plastic zip-top bag and press all of the air out.
- Let it chill for at least 2 hours (although I usually make it a day or two ahead and let it chill).
- Set it out for about 10-15 minutes.
- Roll out, cut into shapes and place the cookies on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Pop the pans in the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Bake for exactly 9 minutes.
- Let them rest on the pan for 5-10 minutes, then move to a cooling rack!
I know… the chilling, the freezing… it’s a long process. But truly – it works out so beautifully that it’s worth it! Plus, because of the drying time of cookies (if you’re decorating with royal icing), you’re going to need to start on these 2-4 days in advance anyway, so a little extra time for chilling and freezing really won’t make a big difference, right?
Okay – here’s the full recipe below. If you’re going to decorate with royal icing, I have a fantastic Royal Icing Recipe posted here and a tutorial here that sort of shows my method for decorating with royal icing.
- 1 cup salted butter (softened)
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 large whole egg
- 1 egg yolk
- ¾ tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ tsp. almond extract
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy with mixer (I use my Kitchenaid) at medium speed.
- Next add the egg yolk, beat it some more, then add the whole egg. Mix in the vanilla and almond.
- Add flour and beat on low until well-combined. Do not overbeat. The dough will be sticky!
- Divide the dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour, but I usually do mine the day before.
- When you're ready to bake, allow the dough to come to room temp for at least 10 minutes, then knead it until it gets back to a smooth texture.
- Preheat over to 375°. Sprinkle your work surface and rolling pin with flour. For best results, roll the dough to ¼ inch thickness.
- Continue sprinkling flour when needed to prevent dough from sticking. Use your cutters to cut the cookies into the desired shapes then place on cookie sheets covered with parchment paper.
- Now don't skip this step! Stick the cookies (on the sheets) back in the freezer for exactly 10 minutes to allow them to re-chill. This will keep your cookies perfectly shaped! When they're chilled, bake for 8-10 minutes (depending on size) for the perfect cookie!
- I rarely get browned edges with these cookies - they hold their shape, taste yummy, and are not crunchy! After trying multiple recipes, this has to be my favorite!