“Cookies are made of butter and love.” -Norwegian Proverb
There are some recipes that I try once and instantly know that they will be in my “go-to” recipe book for quite some time. This was definitely the case with this sugar cookie recipe. I made it once and fell in love with it! I remember when I first baked these cookies I was so happy to find such a great recipe that produces soft and buttery sugar cookies. When I shared the cookies with my family, they all felt the same way and I knew I’d be making these more than once.
I’ve made this sugar cookie recipe enough times that I thought it would be appropriate (and fun!) to do a quick tutorial on my method for making perfect soft sugar cookies. For starters – it’s always a good idea to line up the ingredients ahead of time. I can’t count how many times I’ve been in the middle of preparing a recipe only to discover that I’m completely out of eggs, vanilla, sugar etc…so it’s just a quick tip to make the process as simple as possible.
To start: in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt until combined, then set aside. Next, with a hand mixer on medium speed, beat together the butter, powdered sugar and granulated sugar for about 30 seconds until mixture is light and fluffy. The powdered sugar is the secret to making these cookies so soft – probably my favorite kitchen trick I’ve learned so far.
Beat in the eggs and vanilla until combined. Then slowly add the flour mixture, and beat just until the dough comes together – it will be sticky.
Divide the cookie dough in half, and shape/pat the dough down into disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours).
Preheat oven to 325°F and once the dough is firm, remove from the refrigerator. Prepare a flat surface for rolling out the dough and cutting with cookie cutters. Sprinkle flour over a clean work surface (I’m obsessed with my new rolling mat from KAF!) Alternatively, I’ve also used silicone baking mats.
Roll dough to about 1/4 inch thick and cut into desired shapes with cutters. You want to work quickly enough so the dough remains chilled. If the dough gets too soft you can put it back into the refrigerator to firm up but this usually isn’t necessary.
There’s a few different ways to ensure perfectly shaped cookies. I don’t necessarily use the same method each time – it just depends on what I’m working with on that particular day.
The method I use most often is to cut the dough into shapes, and then lift the dough away from the cut out cookies. This dough is thick enough so that you can pull it up after cutting shapes with the cookies.
I recently started using silicone baking mats (again, obsessed!) and it makes this process easier. All you have to do is place a silicone mat on a baking sheet, then you can roll out & cut cookies on the mat, lift up the excess dough, and pop the cookies in the oven right then & there.
The last step is to bake the cookies in a preheated oven for about 12 minutes. You want to bake the cookies only just until they begin to brown on the bottom. I never bake the cookies for more than 12 minutes and if I’m using a smaller cookie cutter the baking time is usually 8-10 minutes, depending on size. Remove the cookies from the baking sheet and place on a wire rack to cool completely, then decorate! I always use this royal icing recipe for my cookies.
Note: Whenever I use a medium sized cookie cutter (like one of the hearts pictured above) I’m usually able to bake about 50 cookies, but it all depends on the size and shape of the cookie cutter being used.
Valentine’s Day Hearts (Soft Sugar Cookie Tutorial)
Adapted from, The Food Network
- Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. Beat butter and both sugars in another medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 30 seconds. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Slowly add flour mixture, and beat just until dough comes together. Divide dough in half, pat into disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours).
- Preheat oven to 325°F and sprinkle flour over a clean work surface. Roll dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes with cutters, working quickly enough so dough remains chilled. If the dough gets too soft you can put it back into the refrigerator.
- Bake cookies in oven until bottoms are golden, approximately 12 to 14 minutes depending on the shape of cookies. Cool until firm enough to transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Decorate as desired!