I got the sudden urge to decorate sugar cookies last week. As you can see I got as far as making the cookies. :) But that was fun in and of itself. I did make one batch of the glaze and got approximately five cookies done before Max had already decorated (read: eaten) three cookies and Alli woke up wanting some attention. So I put that idea behind me and decided to freeze the rest in case the time ever came that I was able to decorate again (I am in no way a super mom and I’m ok with that).
- knead dough
- help roll out dough
- cut out shapes
- older kids can decorate with icing bags
- younger kids can spread the glaze on the cookies and decorate with sprinkles
I’m not usually a fan of sugar cookies. But these I can actually eat on their own without icing. I’m really into tea lately and these cookies are a perfect accompaniment to that.
These are the easiest sugar cookies I have ever made. Sugar cookies aren’t all that hard to make but there’s generally a lot of waiting time for the dough to chill before rolling, then trying to roll out a stiff dough or wait for it to soften before you roll it out. Simple enough really but it’s enough to stop me from making them on a whim. These cookies on the other hand were whipped up and baked in the time it took for James and Max to go grocery shopping. They left. I got the urge to bake. They came back. Half the cookies were baked and cooling on the counter while the remainder were in the fridge awaiting their turn in the oven.
The key to these cookies being able to be made so last minute is the fact that you don’t have to soften the butter. Cold butter means there’s no chill time before rolling it out which cuts the prep time down considerably. Plus they roll out like a dream. I made the original cookies at Christmas this year and knew they would be my sugar cookie of choice from then on.
I wanted the flavours to suite Easter so I opted to add some grated lemon zest to the dough. Delish!
Tips to Perfect Sugar Cookies
I’m no expert on sugar cookies but I do know a couple tricks to get them nearly perfect every time. At least it works for me!
Roll Out on Parchment Paper. Rolling the dough out on a floured piece of parchment paper means less flour is used (meaning softer cookies) and easier transportation to the baking sheet (which means less stretching and breaking).
Refrigerate Before Baking. Since this recipe is not refrigerated before rolling out you want to be sure to refrigerate it once the shapes are cut. That way it keeps it’s form and doesn’t spread.
Chill Before Cutting Out Delicate Pieces. If you’re wanting to make smaller cutouts in the cookie (like I did with the flowers) do so after they have chilled in the fridge, just before baking. This way you don’t have to worry about any delicate parts breaking when you transfer it to the baking sheet and it will hold it’s shape better.
The glaze for these cookies is lemony and sweet. Much sweeter then royal icing. You can’t really compare the two but it is much easier to make and decorates beautifully (just look at Amanda’s cookies). But, as I said it is very sweet so if you’re worried about that you may want to stick with royal icing.
Easy Lemon Sugar Cookies
- 3 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup cold salted butter, cubed
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- zest of one lemon
- Combine flour and baking powder.
- In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add egg, vanilla and zest. Mix until incorporated.
- Add flour in three additions, scraping down as you go. Beat until combined (will be crumbly).
- Divide dough in half to roll out. Knead each piece on counter top until smooth. Roll out on floured parchment paper. Cut into shapes. Place on parchment lined baking sheet. Freeze for 5 minutes (or refrigerate for 15 minutes) to firm up.
- Bake @ 350 for 10-12 minutes. Let sit for 2 minutes before removing to wire rack or paper towel to cool.
Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies
Lemony Sugar Cookie Glaze
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- Sift sugar into a bowl. Mix in lemon juice and corn syrup. Spread or pipe onto cookies.
Tip: If piping onto cookies check the consistency by doing the 10 second ribbon test. Drag a knife through the glaze and lift to make a ribbon. It should smooth out in 5-10 seconds. If the icing comes together before 5 seconds add more sugar. If the glaze comes together after 10 seconds add more liquid. This will ensure that it is firm enough to pipe but still loose enough to flood the cookie.
Makes enough for approximately 1 dozen cookies.