I love to bake cut out sugar cookies at any time of year, but especially during the holidays. The powdered sugar in this recipe gives the cookie a soft and tender texture so they just melt in your mouth, like shortbread cookies.
The dough is so easy to roll out and the options for shapes you can cut out are as endless as the cookie cutter shapes you have at home! For the holidays, I like to use my favorite tree and snowman cookie cutters, and a simple round or square shape would be great any time of the year.
Table of Contents
- All-purpose flour (look for one that contains at least 11% protein)
- Pinch of salt (*if you use unsalted butter to make these cookies, you will need to add a bit more salt to the dough – ¼ teaspoon in total)
- Baking powder
- Butter (*I used salted butter; however, if you use unsalted butter, just make sure to add a bit more salt to the dough. The butter should also be at room temperature, so make sure you remove it from the fridge at least an hour before you wish to use it.)
- Powdered sugar (also called confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar)
- Large egg yolk at room temperature (save the egg white to use in another recipe. See the FAQ section for some ideas!)
- Decorating sugar (you can often find this sugar in the baking aisle of your grocery store or most bulk food stores) or Sprinkles.
How to Make the Cookies
These cookies need 2 hours of chilling time in the fridge, so make sure you start making the dough ahead!
You’ll begin by whisking the flour, baking soda and salt together in a medium sized bowl. Whisking the ingredients makes sure there are no lumps.
In another medium mixing bowl, beat the butter until it is smooth and creamy. You can use an electric mixer or do this job by hand. Either way, you want to make sure that the butter is very smooth at this stage, which will take 1 – 2 minutes.
Next, you’ll add in the powdered sugar and continue to beat until everything is combined. Then add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat once more until smooth.
Now, you can add the flour mixture and mix to make sure everything is combined.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for 2 hours before rolling out and cutting out your shapes.
When you’re ready to roll out the dough, remove it from the fridge and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Lightly flour a flat surface, like your kitchen countertop, and roll the dough out to a ¼ inch thickness. You can also roll the dough out between two pieces of parchment paper if you prefer. Make sure to lightly wet the underside of the bottom parchment paper so that it clings to the counter and doesn’t slip around while you’re trying to roll out the dough.
Now here comes the fun part! Use your favorite cookie cutter shapes to cut out cookies and place them carefully on the prepared baking sheets. If you don’t have any cookie cutters, you can cut out rounds by using the top of a glass or cup. Reroll the scraps of dough and cut out additional shapes.
I like to sprinkle the cookies with decorative sugar or granulated sugar before I put them into the oven.
Place the cookies sheets into the fridge to chill while you preheat the oven to 350F (180C).
Once the oven is at the right temperature, bake the cookies, the cookies are done when they are lightly browned around the edges, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
The cookies are delicious eaten just plain, but if you would like to decorate them, here are a few options:
- Sprinkle on decorating sugar before you bake the cookies. This type of sugar comes in different colors and a variety of coarseness.
- Pipe on some royal icing for a crunchy sweet decoration. You can also color the icing with food coloring.
- Spread on some buttercream for a soft and creamy frosting
- Keep an eye on the sugar cookies as they bake. You’ll know that they are done when the edges start to brown slightly.
- The baked cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Make sure you store them in a cool and dry place.
- You can also store the cookies in the fridge in an airtight container for 7 – 10 days. To store the undecorated cookies in the freezer, place them in a freezer-safe container between layers of parchment paper.
- This dough can be stored in the freezer to bake later. Make sure you tightly wrap the unrolled dough in plastic wrap before placing it in the freezer. You can also roll out the dough and cut out your shapes before freezing them. Just make sure that you freeze the cookie shapes on a cookie sheet first before placing them in an airtight container.
How do I tell if my baking powder is still fresh?
Baking powder helps cookies to spread out and rise. You want to make sure that the baking powder you are using is fresh to get the results you want.
To check if your baking powder still has its bubbling action, place ½ teaspoon in a small bowl and pour over 2 tablespoons of boiling water. If you see a lot of bubbles, your powder is still good to use. If nothing happens, you should buy a fresh batch.
What can I make with leftover egg whites?
You will only have one egg white leftover from this recipe, so you might want to store it in the freezer to add to other recipes. Try placing the egg white in an ice cube tray and letting it freeze before adding it to a freezer bag. You can store egg whites in the freezer for up to 3 months.
You can use leftover egg whites in omelets, mousses, meringues, macarons, and more!
I hope you and your family enjoy making these sugar cookies together!
More Holiday Cookie Recipes
Cutout Powdered Sugar Cookies
- 1¼ cup all purpose flour (at least 11% protein)
- 1 pinch salt*
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup butter (softened)*
- ¾ cup powdered sugar (sifted)
- 1 large egg yolk (room temperature)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
*If using unsalted butter then add ¼ teaspoon of salt.
EXTRAS – sprinkles, coarse sugar, coconut, finely chopped nuts or even chocolate chips.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
- In the mixing bowl beat until creamy and smooth the butter, approximately 1-2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and beat to combine, then add the egg yolk and vanilla, beat to combine.
- Add the whisked flour ingredients and combine, cover and chill for at least 2 hours.
- Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured flat surface or between 2 pieces of parchment paper to ¼ inch thick, cut out with your favourite cookie cutters. Place on the prepared cookie sheets, sprinkle with granulated, decorating sugar or sprinkles. While the oven is pre-heating to 350F (180C), chill the cookies for approximately 15-20 minutes.
- Bake for 7-8 minutes. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes then move to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
Today is also Taste Creations Week! Please check out these other delicious Christmas Cookie Recipes from my Food Blogger Friends.
- Terri from Our Good Life – Gingerbread Small Bite Cup Hanger Cookies
- Nikki from Tikkido – Gingerbread Biscotti
- Lauren from Mom Home Guide – Christmas Spritz Cookies