I’m really picky about my sugar cookies.
Most sugar cookie recipes are made with granulated sugar, which I have done many times in the past.
But I have ultimately settled on my mom’s classic recipe from none other than Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book, which is made with powdered sugar and a little bit of almond extract (both of which are MUY IMPORTANTE).
I don’t think I’ll ever go back to using granulated sugar again.
Really, I don’t think there is one bad recipe in the Betty Crocker book. They don’t mess around.
All the recipes are online now of course, but I love looking through the original version published in 1963, which is complete with hilarious full-color photographs and how-to illustrations.
To this day, decorating sugar cookies remains one of my all-time favorite holiday traditions from my childhood.
So I thought I’d recreate the experience for a small gal pal get-together I was having on Monday.
What are some of your favorite holiday baking traditions?
peaches & cake
Best-Ever Sugar Cookies with Easy Creamy Icing
Recipe from Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book
- 1 ½ cups sifted powdered sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter (Land O’ Lakes is best), brought to room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 egg
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- wax paper (for refrigerating and decorating)
- parchment paper (for baking)
- cookie cutters
- Take butter out of fridge and let come to room temperature.
- Combine flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar together in a medium bowl. Combine powdered sugar, butter, vanilla extract, and almond extract together in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Add egg and beat until incorporated. Gradually add in the flour/soda/tartar mixture.
- Separate dough into two rounds, cover with wax paper, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Heat oven to 375ºF. Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Take dough out of fridge and let sit and soften a bit before rolling.
- Roll dough 3/16-inch thick on a floured surface. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Gently place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. *Tip: You can prevent cookie dough from sticking to the cookie cutter by dipping the cutter in flour between uses.
- Bake 9-10 minutes or until edges are light brown, rotating sheet once in the oven during baking.
- Remove from cookie sheet and cool on a wire rack completely before icing.
For Easy Creamy Icing:
- 4 cups sifted powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla or lemon extract
- 4 ½ tablespoons heavy cream or half-and-half (you may use water if you don’t have cream on hand)
- extra water
- food coloring
- butter knives and/or piping bags fit with couplers and decorating tips
- decorating sugar
- Blend powdered sugar, salt, flavoring, and cream with a mixer. Add water in 1-tablespoon increments as needed until smooth to make easy to spread.
- Separate icing into 3-4 bowls and dye with food coloring.
- Working quickly, spread icing on cookies with a butter knife or transfer to piping bags fit with couplers and decorating tips. Add decorating sugar if desired. Let icing harden completely before packaging up.