One of the best things about sugar cookie cutouts is that they can be used for any occasion! You just choose your favorite cookie cutters and you’re golden! This is the best sugar cookies cutout recipe! They have the perfect hint of vanilla and are soft on the inside and have crisp edges on the outside. You can make these cookies as Christmas cookies, fall cookies, valentines cookies and more! they are perfect for the holiday season. Even days after making these cookies, they are still a soft sugar cookie like the day I made them! They really are the perfect sugar cookie recipe! And super easy to make too!
I remember as a kid making and decorating sugar cookies during the Christmas season with my mom and sister. It was our thing. Sure our cut-out cookies were not decorated with perfection, but we had fun doing it! It was our holiday tradition.
This is a great recipe to make with kids! When my oldest was just about 2 years old we made Christmas themed sugar cookies and let him decorate them. It was messy. It was unscripted. It was fun. He wasn’t sure how to act. He’s the kid that doesn’t like to get dirty and we had to teach him what dirt was. really I’m not even kidding. But at the end of it all, he loved decorating with momma, and definitely loved eating the finished cookies.
The boys tried this new recipe for the first time the other day and they all had big eyes! It was amazing! Lol really. My husband is the pickiest (mainly because he is not a sweets guy), so seeing him wide-eyed is pretty much fireworks in my eyes. ha.
Sugar cookie cutouts are not as challenging as one might think. Let’s talk about some of the ingredients you will need.
All Purpose Flour– You will need a few cups of flour, plus extra flour for sprinkling on the surface to roll out the cookies.
Baking powder- This will help fluff up your cookies.
Unsalted butter- You want to work with room temperature butter for this recipe. You can achieve this by setting the butter out on the counter the morning you want to make these cookies. Also keep in mind the temperature of your home. If your home is cooler, it will take longer to come to room temp. You can also pop the real butter in the microwave for 8 seconds or so to soften it. Be careful not to cook for too long as butter melts from the inside out.
Granulated sugar- Because who doesn’t love sugar!
Egg- You will only need 1 large egg for this recipe.
Vanilla Bean Paste- I love using vanilla bean paste for this cookie recipe because it adds a unique flavor and keeps the form of the cookie. Plus it will give you little vanilla specs in the dough (it’s cool to me!). If you do not have vanilla bean paste, you can substitute for vanilla extract.
How to make Sugar Cookie cutouts
Prepare your large baking sheets with a sheet of parchment paper. Set aside.
Next, you will use two separate bowls. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until the mixture is completely smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add the egg and vanilla. Beat on high speed until combined.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix on low speed until combined. It will be soft dough. If the dough is too soft, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. NOTE: If you want a different colored sugar cookie, add the food coloring here.
Lightly flour your prepared baking sheets. Place the dough onto lightly floured surface. With a little flour on the top of the dough and the rolling pin, roll the dough into about 1/4-inch thickness. NOTE: you want to use just enough flour to lightly coat. You do not want to add more flour to the recipe. If you like a thicker cookie, go for it! Whatever is your perfect thickness. Just note that baking time will vary.
If the dough seems too sticky, use more flour.
Cover the rolled dough with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
Once chilled, preheat your oven and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a cookie cutter, cut out the dough into the desired shapes.
Using an offset spatula move the dough shapes on the new prepared baking sheet. Re-roll the excess dough and repeat cutting out shapes.
Arrange the cookies on the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake cookies for 10 minutes or until lightly golden brown along the bottom edges. If you like your cookies on the softer side, bake about a minute less.
Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for 3-5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
Decorate the cookies or eat them as is! I promise they are excellent either way!
What to decorate sugar cookie cutouts with:
- Royal icing recipe
- Buttercream frosting recipe
How long to sugar cookie cutouts keep fresh?
These cookies will keep fresh in an airtight container for 5 days. You can also keep these cookies in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. If you want to freeze the sugar cookie cut-outs (if they last that long), Place pieces of wax paper in between cookies to prevent sticking together. Then store them in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to 1-2 months.
How to keep sugar cookie cutouts from spreading.
There are a few reasons why sugar cookies spread when baking.
- One of the main reasons is that the sugar cookie dough got too warm after being handled that they spread. If this happens, after cutting out your sugar cookie shapes, place the baking sheets back in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to chill back up.
- The other reason might be that they didn’t chill long enough at the beginning. So be sure to keep them chilled in the fridge for 1-2 hours before cutting out the shapes.
- The other reason might be that the butter was too soft. Butter plays a huge part in recipes, so make sure the butter is not to melted when you make this recipe. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to leave the butter out on the counter the morning you make these cookies. You will be more successful.
- Additionally, use a silicon baking mat or parchment paper when baking these cookies. Using cooking spray on the bottom of the pan can create too much grease for these cookies causing them to spread.
- Lastly, adding too much sugar and butter can make the cookies spread.
Why did the cookies come out too thin?
If the cookies came out too thin after baking but they kept their shape, then it means the cookies were rolled too thin. To ensure you have the right thickness you can use a ruler to measure or use wooden dowels at the end of the dough. Once the dough reaches the height of the wooden dowels, you have 1/4 inch thickness! NOTE: sometimes rolling the dough with the wooden dowels in place can be a bit cumbersome. Instead try using them for reference when rolling out the dough. For example, roll the dough until you think it is 1/4 inch thick, then place the wooden dowel at the edge of the dough, see where the dough lines up. If the dough is too tall, remove the dowels and roll a little more.
I cannot wait to see your cutouts!
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Coffee and Brownies,
- 2 and 1/4 cups-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until completely smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
- Add the egg, and vanilla and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. Dough will be slightly soft. If the dough seems too soft and sticky for rolling, add 1 more Tablespoon of flour.
- With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness. Use more flour if the dough seems too sticky.
- Cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours and up to 2 days.
- Once chilled, preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Using a cookie cutter, cut the dough into shapes. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used.
- Arrange cookies on baking sheets 3 inches apart. Bake for 11-12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Rotate cookie sheet halfway.
- Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.