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Cut out sugar cookies decorated with honey bees
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5 from 2 votes

Cut-Out Sugar Cookie Recipe

A GREAT sugar cookie recipe that's easy to make, tastes fantastic, and one that holds its shape when baked.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Chilling8 hrs
Total Time8 hrs 30 mins
Course: Cookie, Dessert
Servings: 42 cookies
Author: Tricia

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (226g)
  • 1 ounce cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (222g)
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 2 ¾ to 3 cups all-purpose flour (352g to 378g)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl beat butter and cream cheese together with an electric mixer until well blended. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla and almond extract and beat until combined.
  • In a small bowl whisk together 2 ¾ cups flour, baking powder and salt. Add half the flour mixture to the butter and sugar and blend on low until incorporated. Add the final half of the flour mixture and beat until a soft dough forms. Add up to 1/4 cup additional flour if needed, 1-tablespoon at a time until the dough is soft and no longer sticky. For best results, do not exceed a total of 3 cups of flour.
  • Gather the dough into a ball and cut in half. Press one half of the dough into a thick round and wrap in a large piece of plastic wrap. Repeat with the remaining half of the dough. Refrigerate the two discs for at least 8 hours, or up to two days.
  • When ready to bake, remove one disc of cookie dough from the refrigerator and allow it rest at room temperature for 15-20 minutes for easier rolling. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Roll out the dough on a well floured, clean work surface to ¼-inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut the dough into the desired shapes and place the cookies 2-inches apart on a cool baking pan. Repeat until the pan is full. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes (depending on the size and thickness of the cookies) or until very lightly browned around the edges and bottom. For best results, do not over-bake! Cool on the pan for 3-4 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Frost the cookies with your favorite glaze, royal icing or buttercream.

Notes

  • Substitute additional vanilla for the almond extract if desired. Vanilla bean paste is also a great option for these cookies.
  • When rolling out the cookie dough if it starts to split or crack, it’s just a little too cold. Let it rest another minute and try again.
  • After rolling scraps a few times, the extras may become a little too soft to use. Place the scraps of dough in the refrigerator for a few minutes before rolling again.
  • Do not put unbaked cookies on a hot cookie sheet until ready to bake. It will cause them to spread.
  • DO NOT OVER-BAKE! The bottoms should be very lightly browned and just starting to show color around the edges. Baking time will vary depending on the size and width of the cookies.
  • Baked, cooled cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months. I’ve even thawed and refrozen plain unfrosted cookies with good results.
  • GLAZE: For a simple glaze we use powdered sugar, a drop or two of vanilla and boiling water, milk or cream. Mix until smooth and spread on cooled cookies. Add more sugar or liquid as needed for desired thickness. I make this in small batches as it dries quickly.
  • To decorate the cookies I use a small batch of Royal Icing. Wilton makes a good meringue powder with instructions for Royal Icing on the container that is very easy. No egg whites needed!