I have been on a massive hunt for an outstanding sugar cookie recipe. I have found tons and tons of recipes that tasted great, but I wasn't ever able to use cookie cutters with them. Then magically one day as I was browsing around my friend's website (found here) she shared where she got her recipes from... and I just knew I had to try to make sugar cookies again. The actual recipe is from Our Best Bites.( If you haven't ever looked around this website, then you need to start! Immediately!) Now, back to the sugar cookies...
I tried the recipe, and I was scared out of my mind. I cannot tell you how many times I have tried new sugar cookie recipes and they have failed. Miserably. And, since my friend makes totally awesome sugar cookies, I was scared to even try because I just want mine to magically come out looking like hers... but I set my fears aside and I just went for it. First, I started mixing the butter and the sugar, just like it says to in the recipe. My children were watching (like they usually do when I bake.... they love to help me in the kitchen!) and I was reaching for something, and all the creamed butter and sugar fell onto my kitchen floor. Minor setback, I guess you could say... so I cleaned up all the butter and sugar and mopped the floor and started fresh. I made the dough just like the recipe said to, and I put it in the fridge to chill. After about 2 hours, I went to check on my dough and it looked a little funny. It didn't look like cookie dough, it had the consistency of frosting. What in the world did I do wrong? Oh yes, let me tell you what I did wrong. I had put in 4 sticks of butter (which equals about 2 cups of butter) instead of 2 sticks (1 cup) of butter. So, I got out all of the other ingredients again and doubled everything else. After the dough was done chilling, I made the cookies according to the directions, and I was just a bundle of nerves. I was so nervous that the dough would stick to the counter, but it didn't! This dough was terrific to use with cookie cutters, and it was easy to manage.
When the cookies came out of the oven, they were a little slice of heaven! Again, I used the recipe from Our Best Bites, but I decided to use a lemon frosting. Mmmmm..... it was so refreshing, my mouth is still watering just thinking about them!
Now, I know you are all just giddy with excitement to get this practically fool proof sugar cookie recipe. (And it is pretty much fool proof since I can make these cookies.) So here you go...
1 c. butter (remember, this is only 2 sticks of butter, not 4!)
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract (you can use vanilla if your heart desires)
3 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add in the egg and extract and mix everything together. Now, in a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to combine. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until completely combined.
Shape the dough into 2 flat disks and wrap in waxed paper and place in the fridge to chill for 1-2 hours. If you want your cookies to hold their shape well, then the dough needs to be chilled properly. (I just left my dough in the bowl and covered it with plastic wrap.)
After the dough has been thoroughly chilled, lightly flour your workspace and roll out the dough with a rolling pin.
Bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes. The baking time depends on how you like your cookies. I like mine really soft, so I baked mine for 8-9 minutes. But if you like yours crunchier, then bake them a little longer.
After the cookies are done baking, just set them on a cooling rack. Once they have completely cooled, you are ready to frost them!
I always love my sugar cookies frosted, and I think a plain buttercream frosting would taste delicious, but I really wanted something citrus-y, so I made a lemon frosting.
3 TBSP butter, softened
2 1/4 c. powdered sugar
2 TBSP lemon juice
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. grated lemon peel
1 TBSP milk
Cream the butter and the sugar in a bowl. Add lemon juice, vanilla, lemon peel, and milk. Beat until smooth. If the frosting isn't to your desired consistency, then add a little more powdered sugar for a stiffer frosting or add another teaspoon of milk if you want a runnier frosting. It all depends on what YOU like.
If any of you are inspired to make sugar cookies now, I would love for you to comment on how they turned out!!