I love baking during the holidays and my favourite thing to bake is good old-fashioned sugar cookies. Now I’m no chef, so they don’t turn out as pretty as some other, more talented people I know, but they taste good and my family loves them, so that’s what matters. Today on the blog, I’m sharing my favourite recipe for sugar cookies that is so dead easy, anyone can make it (even a less than stellar cook like me!).
A couple of quick notes: this recipe uses margarine, which I haven’t previously done (I’ve always gone old school and used butter), but I have to say, these are hands down my favourite cookies to date. Even the pickiest of my family members loved them (so long as I didn’t add any icing), and Callum and I gobbled them down pretty darn quickly. Definitely ensure you give yourself time to bring the eggs up to room temperature, it really is imperative to a successful cookie dough. I like to take the eggs and margarine squares out of the fridge at the same time, though you don’t have to soften the margarine nearly as much as butter. Use any kind of cookie cutters you want and definitely make sure you use either a silicone baking mat or some parchment paper to ensure the cookies cook evenly and without browning too much.
Also, I am most definitely not a food photographer, so forgive my amateur cookie pics!
Holiday Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs
(makes 3-4 dozen, depending on the size of cutter you use)
1 cup (2 sticks) margarine
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. almond extract (you can use vanilla if you prefer, but almond extract is honestly the best for sugar cookies and icing)
3 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
Beat the margarine (slightly softened) with the sugar in a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer, until light and fluffy (approximately 2 minutes). Beat in the eggs and almond extract until blended. Gradually add the flour and beat on low speed until blended.
Divide dough into quarters; wrap in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Personally, I don’t like to leave the dough in much longer than that, as it starts to dry out a touch.
After one hour, remove plastic wrap and roll each quarter about 1/8 inch thick on a floured surface. If the dough is sticky at all, you can sprinkle with more flour – this did not affect the taste at all, in my experience. Cut dough into shapes and arrange on baking sheets lined with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. These cookies should not spread, so you’re ok to space them a bit closer together than other types of cookies.
Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are just golden. Obviously, thinner cookies will cook faster, so watch them carefully. Mine normally took about 9 minutes. Cool on the sheet for one minute, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Decorate with Easy Cookie Icing. This icing is fabulous because it’s super easy to make and hardens enough to make your cookies stackable. I normally ice my cookies the next day and allow them to sit on the counter for about 12-24 hours to harden completely before stacking them in containers. These cookies keep well, unless you have no willpower, like me. And my son.
Easy Cookie Icing
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted (this is a must)
2 tbsp. milk (you may need to add more as you start mixing)
1/4 tsp. almond extract (or to taste – I literally never measure this)
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
Gel food colouring, as desired.
Sift the powdered sugar into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add milk and combine with a whisk, adding a bit more milk as needed to smooth out the mixture. Add almond (or vanilla, lemon, you name it) extract and corn syrup and whisk until smooth. If you choose to colour your icing, add a few drops of the chosen colour at this point and mix until blended. You can dip the cooled cookies into the icing or pour it into small squirt bottles (my preference) to decorate. Add sprinkles, sugar, you name it.
Eat as many as you like!
What are your favourite holiday cookie recipes? I’m always looking for a new recipe to try, so send me your favourites in the comments below!
Enjoy the pretty things in life,