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Our Favorite Sugar Cookies

A Bountiful Kitchen
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword sugar cookies
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
chill dough, cool and frost 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 57 minutes
Servings 30

Ingredients

Please read recipe notes before starting to cook!

  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup solid shortening or 1 cup additional unsalted butter softened
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 ¼-½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder (note TABLESPOOON)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (note TEASPOON)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • cup milk*
  • plus additional flour for rolling out cookies

Butter Cream Frosting

  • 1 cup butter room temperature
  • 6-7 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond flavoring
  • about 1/4 cup milk

Instructions

  1. Cream the butter, shortening and sugar together.
  2. Mix in vanilla and eggs. Beat on medium speed until incorporated.

  3. In a separate bowl, mix together 6 cups of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

  4. Add flour mixture alternately with milk. Mix at low speed just until all flour and milk are mixed into the butter mixture. Do not over mix. If the mixture feels too sticky, fold in another 1/4-1/2 cup of flour. I try to add as little extra flour as possible to keep the dough soft but not sticky!

  5. You may refrigerate at this point, overnight or up to three days before baking. It is best to refrigerate covered dough for at least 1-2 hours.

  6. Roll out on floured surface in batches about 1/4 inch thick*. Cut with cookie cutters into desired shapes.

  7. Place immediately on ungreased baking sheets about one inch apart.

  8. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes or until lightly golden on edges.

  9. Yields about 35-40 3x5 inch cookies

For the frosting

  1. Beat butter until soft. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar. Continue mixing on low.

  2. Add salt and vanilla. 

  3. Add 2 more cups of the powdered sugar. Mix until smooth. 

  4. Add the milk a tablespoon at a time, along with the last cup of powdered sugar.

  5. Scrape down sides of bowl, and mix until all ingredients are incorporated and smooth. Add food coloring if desired.

  6. Yields enough frosting for about four dozen cookies* see recipe notes.

Recipe Notes

  • The dough will spread and puff up. Do not place the cookies too close together. If the cookie dough is refrigerated, the dough will not spread as much.
  • There are many factors that effect the final product when baking. Some of those factors are: temperature of butter, mixer speed, temperature in the kitchen, altitude, if using butter or shortening or both. For this reason, I suggest baking a test batch of two cookies This will give you an idea of how much the cookies spread while baking, so you can make adjustments as needed. 
  • This recipe originally was given to me by a friend back in the 80's. Back then, many cooks used shortening in cookies. The shortening in this recipe will help the cookies hold their shape, but I prefer to make cookies with all butter. 
  • To get a muted frosting color, mix the food coloring at half strength. For instance; the directions to color a batch of orange frosting calls for 12 drops of yellow and 4 red. Use half of this amount.
  • Remember to save a little of the frosting to color for the stem if you are making  pumpkin shaped cookies!
  • If you are decorating the cookies using a large tip, make another 1/2 recipe of the frosting so you will have enough to decorate all of the cookies. If frosting the cookies using a knife, the amount in the recipe will be sufficient.
  • If you are using any type of sprinkles, make sure to have the sprinkles handy right after frosting and apply. If you wait, the frosting will set up and the sprinkles will not adhere to the frosting!