Looking for a Great Recipe for Cut Out Sugar Cookies?
Are you looking an easy, no fail recipe for cut out sugar cookies? I sure hope so, because I’m going to share with you the best no spread, no chill recipe, ever.
But first, we need to go back in time to 2003 to see where it all began! Check out the cookies from 2003!
A Little Bit of Nostalgia
The original recipe inspiration was in a Wilton Year Book, circa 2002. At that time, I had a home-based baking business in Overland Park, Kansas called The Red Hot Kitchen and loved to do decorated cookies! I had searched and searched for a good non-spreading cut out sugar cookie recipe.
Take a minute to think about searching in 2003? No Pinterest, goodness what to do? Also, most of the food/baking blogs didn’t exist or where just getting started. This was “back in the day” when we collected magazines, made scrapbooks and belonged to message boards. How far we have come.
Melissa’s Sugar Cookie Recipe
I took the recipe from the Wilton 2002 Year book and fiddled with it a bit. The new recipe had to be one that didn’t spread, so I just omitted the baking powder and left out the salt, because I used salted butter. The original recipe was for a small batch, so I basically double the ingredients to get “Melissa’s Sugar Cookie Recipe”.
Melissa’s Sugar Cookie Recipe, now that brings back memories. You can google still find links to threads and discussions on my recipe. What to see? Click Here. The original discussion board “That Cake Board” is long gone but I still have the transcript from the cookie chats that I used to do. I even started writing a book, The Red Hot Kitchen’s Iced Cookie Favors: The Sweetest Part of Planning.
Fast Forward to 2017
So, fourteen (14) years later. Let’s see, moved to the Beach, built and sold a bakery and started a blog. But what remains the same? Still making cut out sugar cookies.
Let’s Take a Look at the Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe
This recipe is super simple. Five (5) ingredients: Sugar, Eggs, Butter, Flavoring and Plain Flour. The dough comes together quickly and is best made in a stand mixer (I use a Kitchen 5 or 6 quart) with the metal paddle. Word of warning, I’ve broken my fair share of beater blades before getting it thru my head that they don’t work. Also, the recipe in this post is too much for the 4.5 quart mixer, but you can ½ the recipe and it works just fine. Yes, also found that out the hard way.
Let’s talk about some of the ingredients, starting with butter. I use salted butter but if you want to use unsalted, it won’t affect the structure of the final cookie. However, it will alter the taste just slightly. You can add a pinch or just salt to taste.
I prefer Land Of Lakes Salted Butter for the cut out sugar cookies. Nope, this is not a sponsored post or am I receiving any goods and services in return. I just love how this butter makes the cookies taste. I cannot even begin to count the number of batches of cookie dough that I have make with this recipe over the last 14 years, but I will tell you that the quality of the butter makes a huge difference in taste. I’ve used several other brands, but nothing compares in taste. But not to worry, I’ve made plenty of batches with other brands of butter and they still taste wonderful – Just a little bit better with Land of Lakes!
You Pick the Flavor
I flavor the cut out sugar cookies with pure almond flavoring. The most popular question is “how much flavoring”? I’m so bad with flavoring measures because I flavor to smell or to a count. I would start with 2 teaspoons and then add more if you like. How do I do it? I pour the flavoring and do a 1, 2 count! Then taste the dough. I like my sugar cookies to have a heavy almond flavor. If you don’t like almond, vanilla or lemon are great flavors to use.
As for the other ingredients, the eggs work best a room temperature. The flour is plain, not self-rising.
Making the Cookie Dough
The recipe for cut out sugar cookies is a standard mix the sugar with butter and add eggs mixture. For this recipe, it is not necessary to “cream” the sugar/butter – just mix it together until incorporated. Creaming will break down the butter too much, which causes spreading. When adding the eggs, just mix until incorporated.
Now we come to the flour. The recipe calls for 6 cups, give or take. When I say give or take, this recipe is Kitchen Weather dependent. Some day’s it might be more humid/dry, eggs a little bigger, butter have a little more water content or several factors that will contribute to “kitchen weather”.
Remember to fluff your flour before scooping, remember flour packs down. Level off the cup of flour and add to the mixture. Mix only until incorporated, don’t wake that gluten up! When you get to the 6th cup, slowly add to the mixture and test about every ¼ cup by pinching the dough between your fingers. The dough needs to be soft and thick enough to be handled for rolling. If the dough is too soft, that’s okay you will be adding flour as you roll out the cookies. Don’t over flour the dough or it will be difficult to roll out. Again, don’t over mix, this causes tough cookies.
Less is more when mixing these cookies. For best results? Mix the flour in by hand. This will take longer, but you have much more control mixing by hand than mixer.
Let’s Cut Out Cookies
To roll the cut out sugar cookies, just pinch off a hand full of dough and move to the prepared surface. I have a dough board that is raised on all 4 sides to the perfect height of 1/3 inch thick. I like to roll my cookies thick. You can also use rolling guides or just roll by “eye”. I prefer to use a guide of some sort, because I like all my cookies to look the same and be uniform.
Use the minimal amount of flour when rolling, remember you just put almost 6 cups of flour into these cookies. Alternatively, you can roll between parchment paper. I do flour my cutters. Some folks will grease the cutters, but I prefer to flour and shake before cutting.
The Rule : No Brown Bottoms
The cookie sheets that I use to bake my cookies are from Wilton. Again, not a sponsored comment – When baking cookies, if you use a cookie sheet with sides, the heat will be held in and cook the cookies around the edges faster than the middle ones. I use shiny cookie sheets with only one side and line with parchment.
I’m a soft cookie no brown bottom girl. At the bakery, I had a rule. NO BROWN Bottoms! I know this is personal preference, but when the bottoms of cookies brown it caramelizes the sugar and changes the taste/texture. I like soft, tender and cake like sugar cookies – NO Brown Bottoms!
A Short Hot Bake
The oven temp on these cookies is high, 400 degrees. The baking time is short only 8 minutes. The cookies will be done with they just lose their glossiness. Remove from the oven and slide them off the cookie sheet. If you leave them on the HOT surface, the cookies will continue to cook – What’s the rule? NO Brown Bottoms!
The cookies may puff up slightly, but as they cool they will return to the size of the cutter. When I say puff up, it should be just barely. Let cool completely before decorating.
Ready to Decorate!
These cookies freeze beautifully. You can bake one day, freeze and then pull and decorate several days later. Decorating is easier if you let the cookies rest for a day either in a sealed container or freezer.
The cookies should be soft, tender and no brown bottoms. The texture is slightly dense because of no baking powder but oh are they tasty!
You can decorate with royal icing, fondant, modeling chocolate, buttercream or try my Iced Cookie Decorating Icing. I’ve also dipped the cookies in white and dark chocolate. So many choices! For such a great cookie recipe.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! I would love to see some of your cut out sugar cookies!
Here’s to many more batches of Iced Cookie Favors – 14 years and counting!
Cut Out Sugar CookiesPrint Recipe
- 1 Pound (4 Sticks) of salted butter, softened
- 2 cups of granulated sugar
- 2 eggs at room temperature, slightly beaten
- Pure Almond Flavoring, measure to taste
- 6 cups of plain flour, sifted
- Additional flour for rolling
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together until just blended.
Add eggs and mix until the eggs are completely incorporated.
For the flavoring, the standard measure is 2 teaspoons. However, I like my cookies to have a real strong almond flavor, so I just pour from the bottle until I can smell the flavoring or to the count of 2.
To the mixture add the sifted flour in level cup measure, 1 cup at a time to the mixture. Mix until the flour is just incorporated. Do not over mix
When you get to the 6th cup of flour, you are going to add just enough to make the dough stiff enough to pinch between your fingers and hold shape. You may not need all the last cup of flour. The amount of flour will depend on the “weather” in the kitchen i.e. humidity and other factors.
The most important thing, do not OVER MIX – This will make tough cookies.
Pull off a chunk of dough and place on the surface you have prepared to roll out the cookies. Lightly flour the space and roll out evenly to about 1/3 inch thick.
Cut out the cookie shapes and place on the cookie sheet prepared with parchment paper about ½ inch apart. These cookies do not spread, but still need room for air to circulate around while baking.
Bake at 400 Degrees for 8 minutes. The cookies will be just set at the end of the cooking cycle and NOT be brown on the bottom.
Slide the parchment paper off the cookie sheet to a surface to cool. Leaving on the cookie sheet will continue to bake the cookies.
Completely cool before decorating.
This recipe does not contain baking powder or baking soda making the cookies slightly more dense and cake like than normal sugar cookies.
Featured Download: Award Winning Triple Key Lime Pie Recipe