Each holiday season I always make several different types of treats for family & friends. After watching the Christmas Cookie Challenge on Food Network, I convinced myself that I should try to make homemade sugar cookies this year (not as easy as it looks!). I wanted to go all out by making my own dough and icing, but honestly, it would work just as well if you used pre-made sugar cookie dough! I watched many videos and researched different recipes for each component before I came up with these exact recipes that are truly delicious!
- 1 1/2 Cups Softened Butter (3 sticks)
- 1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
- 3 Tbsp. Cream Cheese
- 1 Egg / 2 Yolks
- 1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 Tsp. Almond Extract
- 1/2 Tsp. Baking Powder
- 1 Tsp. Salt
- 3 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
- Cream together butter, sugar, and cream cheese for about 5 minutes. BE SURE BUTTER IS ROOM TEMPERATURE.
- Add in eggs, extracts, baking powder, and salt.
- Slowly mix in flour to avoid any clumps.
- Place dough in plastic wrap; refrigerate for 2 hours.
- After the two hours are up, remove dough from the fridge and unwrap.
- Roll out dough to roughly 1/4 inch. (To avoid sticking, I sprinkled flour on my countertop before putting the dough down.)
- Use cookie cutters to cut out any shapes you like.
- Once the shapes are complete, place them on a baking sheet to cool in the fridge for another 10-15 minutes while your oven preheats to 350 degrees.
- Bake cookies for approximately 10-12 mins on the same baking sheet.
Royal Icing Recipe:
- 4 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Pasteurized Egg Whites
- 1/2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 Tsp. Almond Extract
- Food Coloring (Optional)
- Mix sugar, egg whites, and extracts together to form a smooth icing.
- If your icing seems too runny, then add a bit more sugar; if it is too thick, you can add a bit of water to thin it out.
- Add desired food coloring to the icing.
To decorate the cookies, you can either dip them into the icing or hand-design each one. For dipping, you simply leave the icing in a bowl and dip the cookie face down into it. From this point you can add sprinkles, pipe designs with other colors, or just leave it with a plain coat of icing. If you want to pipe the icing on, fill bags with your icing colors and cut a tiny piece from one corner to make a small hole. You then outline the cookie in whatever color you decide. Once that dries a bit, you squeeze icing inside the outline, and spread all over the rest of the cookie. You can add other designs in different colors once this base coat is dry.
Piped outline first, then completely filled the inside with icing and let it harden.
The rest is pretty much just up to you and how you want your cookies to look! If you feel overwhelmed, maybe just try the dipping technique first and slowly practice the hand piping. This was my first attempt, so mine are not perfect, but it honestly was not quite as hard as I anticipated.
I’m also not a huge fan of using a ton of food coloring, so I opted for chocolate chips instead of black icing – but you can do either! A great place to find design inspiration is on Pinterest, so if you need ideas, check it out!
I honestly enjoyed the process of making these. So much so, that I am already planning to make more for my baby shower in a few weeks! Just be sure and take your time so you don’t feel overwhelmed with all of the details of each cookie.
I hope you all will give these a try and end up loving the look and taste of these treats!
Today in the town of David a savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
– Luke 2:11
With Love, Jeni