Who can resist the charm of beautifully decorated Christmas sugar cookies? These treats are the epitome of versatility, perfect for holidays, celebrations, or just a delightful afternoon snack. With a base of tender vanilla-flavored dough, you can choose to make them soft or crispy, and the icing options are limitless – from classic frosting to rich chocolate dips. Get ready to embark on a baking journey that will delight your taste buds and impress your loved ones.
Ingredients: What You’ll Need
Before you get started, gather these simple yet essential ingredients:
- 225g / 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (or use salted, skip salt)
- 1 cup caster/superfine sugar (granulated/ordinary white sugar is also suitable)
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large egg (55-60g / 1.9-2oz)
- 3 cups flour, plain / all-purpose
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
Step-by-Step Instructions: Crafting Perfect Sugar Cookies
- Cream the Butter and Sugar: Begin by preheating your oven to 180°C / 350°F (160°C fan). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper for easy cleanup. In a large bowl, beat the softened butter and sugar until creamy, which takes around 1 minute on speed 5. This step ensures the base of your cookies is smooth and delightful.
- Add Egg and Vanilla: Add the large egg and vanilla extract to the butter-sugar mixture. Continue beating until the ingredients are completely combined. This helps infuse the cookies with a rich vanilla flavor.
- Incorporate Dry Ingredients: Slowly add the flour, baking powder, and salt to the mixture. Start mixing slowly and then increase the speed until the flour is incorporated, resulting in a slightly clumpy dough.
- Prepare the Dough: Dust your work surface with flour and scrape the dough out of the bowl. Pat the dough together, then cut it in half and shape each half into a disc. This step ensures the dough is easy to work with.
- Cut Out Shapes: Roll out the dough to a thickness of either 0.3cm / 1/8″ for thin and crispier cookies, or 0.6cm / 1/4″ for thicker and softer cookies. Sprinkle flour under and over the dough as needed to prevent sticking. Use cookie cutters to press out shapes from the rolled dough. Use a knife or spatula to carefully transfer the shapes onto the prepared baking sheets. If you have excess dough, store it in the fridge while baking the first batch.
- Bake to Perfection: Place the baking sheets in the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remember to swap the trays halfway through the baking time. The cookies should have a pale golden surface with edges just beginning to turn light golden.
- Cool and Enjoy: Once baked, allow the cookies to cool completely on the trays. As they cool, they will continue to firm up and develop their signature texture. Now, they’re ready to be enjoyed!
Christmas Cookies! (Cut out sugar cookies)
FAQs – Your Burning Questions Answered
1. Can I use salted butter instead of unsalted butter? Absolutely! If you opt for salted butter, just skip the additional salt in the recipe.
2. Can I use regular granulated sugar instead of caster sugar? Yes, you can. While caster sugar provides a smoother texture, granulated sugar will still yield delicious results.
3. How do I make soft cookies instead of crispy ones? For softer cookies, roll out the dough to a thickness of 0.6cm / 1/4″. This will result in cookies with a chewier texture.
4. Can I freeze the cookie dough? Certainly! Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and store it in the freezer. When you’re ready to bake, let it thaw in the refrigerator before rolling and cutting.
5. What’s the secret to perfect icing? The icing possibilities are endless! Dip your cookies in melted chocolate, dust them with icing sugar, or try a simple glaze with powdered sugar and milk.
6. How long do these cookies last? When stored in an airtight container at room temperature, these cookies can stay fresh for up to a week. You can also freeze them for longer storage.
There you have it – a comprehensive guide to crafting delectable sugar cookies that will delight your taste buds and impress your friends and family. With simple ingredients, straightforward instructions, and the freedom to get creative with decorations and icings, these cookies are a true baking masterpiece. Whether you’re a baking enthusiast or just looking to enjoy a sweet treat, this recipe is a winner every time.
If you’re ready to embark on this baking adventure, gather your ingredients, preheat that oven, and let the aroma of freshly baked sugar cookies fill your kitchen. From soft to crispy, these cookies cater to every preference. So, roll up your sleeves, put on your apron, and let the baking magic begin!