It never fails, this time of year I get requests from friends and neighbors for my recipe for “those delicious soft sugar cookies”. I have probably made thousands of them over the years for special occasions and as Christmas gifts for neighbors and co-workers, etc. It is one of those recipes that never fails to delight. :-)
I made these cookies today because a couple of neighbors I have made these for in the past were asking me on Facebook for the recipe. I thought as a bonus I would post the Step-by-Step instructions for them (and for you), because while they aren’t HARD to make…there are some definite tried and true TIPS that make them turn out PERFECTO!
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening (not butter!)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
(I usually DOUBLE this recipe when I’m making for gifts. A single recipe will make approximately 24 BIG cookies.)
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the shortening and sugar together on medium-high speed until soft and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the sour cream and vanilla and blend together until creamy.
With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients (I add it 1/3 at a time) mixing just until incorporated and evenly mixed. You will have a very sticky dough at this point so it is very important to CHILL THE DOUGH FOR AT LEAST 1-2 HOURS. This is the hardest part for my kids! When they see I making their FAVORITE cookies, they want instant gratification! (Who doesn’t???). I find setting the timer on the stove saves me from answering the question “has it been an hour yet?” at least a million times.
After the dough has chilled the rest is about technique. Here are the tips that will ensure your cookies come out PERFECT. :-)
Divide the dough into two portions. Roll out one section at a time. It’s easier to work with a smaller piece.
Roll out with plenty of flour on your board to avoid sticking issues. But don’t work the dough TOO much or it will get tough. Also make sure to flour your ROLLING PIN and COOKIE CUTTERS as well.
Don’t roll the dough too thin. I shoot for just a little over 1/4″ thick.
Once you have cut out as many shapes as will fit, scoop them off the board with a spatula and transfer to a cookie sheet. It helps if you nudge a little bit of flour under the cookie as you lift it off the board.
If you have silicone baking mats use those. You can also use parchment paper or aluminum foil (which I used). Cooking directly on the cookie sheet works too…it’s just more clean up. :-)
Bake the cookies for between 10 and 12 minutes at 350 degrees. Timing is CRUCIAL…so keep an eye on them. You are shooting cookies that are just BARELY, BARELY starting to brown on the edges.
Allow the cookies to cool completely before frosting.
My Powdered Sugar Frosting “Recipe”
I mostly “eyeball” these amounts.
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons softened butter
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 tablespoons milk.
food coloring (I usually use about 4 to 5 drops of just the regular kind you buy at the grocery store)
I start with 2 tablespoons of milk and keep adding about a teaspoon at a time after that until the frosting is at just the right consistency. Not too thick, but not too runny.
Then I pretty much GOB it on the cookie…and spread. Top it off with the decoration of your choice (I’m a sucker for these multi-colored nonpareils. They remind me of TINY little ornaments! I wish I could find plain white ones. I’m sure they make them…just haven’t found them yet.)
Now go and pour yourself a tall glass of ice cold milk and ENJOY the fruits of your labors! No doubt these aren’t the easiest cookies to make…..but OH SO WORTH THE EFFORT! I hope you will agree. :-)
Oh…if you make these and give them away at Christmas…or any other time…don’t be surprised if the recipients come knocking on your door wanting the recipe. :-)