Do you have any holiday traditions that make you feel the joy of Christmas? Maybe it’s a scent that brings back the giddiness of being seven-years-old and knowing Santa was going to bring you some awesome toys this month. Or an event you go to every December that ushers in holiday cheer!
Growing up, my family had some awesome Christmas traditions. We got to buy a unique ornament for the tree each year. We also decked out our house with lights, singing bells, snowmen and garland. And we ALWAYS made my mother’s sugar cookies. It took the entire day because we would never just make enough for us…we had to make them for our neighbors and friends as well. But part of the joy of baking and decorating the cookies was being able to share our delicious labor of love with our friends.
In my opinion, this is the best sugar cookie recipe. Way better than that pre-rolled dough in the store and I’ve never had another sugar cookie that was quite as good. My mother’s sugar cookies are crunchy yet chewy and the perfect blend of almond and vanilla.
Items Needed to Make the Best Sugar Cookie Recipe
- Rolling pin
- Parchment paper
- Plastic wrap
- Cookie cutters
Ingredients for the Cookie
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 cups unsalted butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 4 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
Ingredients for Frosting
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3-4 tablespoons warm milk
- (Opt) food coloring
- Blend together the softened butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and almond extract.
- In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients–flour, baking soda and salt.
- Add the dry ingredients to the butter, sugar and egg mixture (I did this in Kitchen Aid).
- Take the dough and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter for the frosting in a pan over low heat. Whisk in the powdered sugar then the vanilla and almond extract. Add the warm milk a little at a time. The frosting can be fickle to get right so you might need to go back and forth between the powdered sugar and the milk to get the right consistency. It will be loose but not watery. If it’s transparent-looking then you need to add more powdered sugar. Pour the frosting into smaller containers or bowls and then add the food coloring.
- Preheat the oven to 350F, take out the cookie dough from the fridge and scoop out several spoonfuls onto a parchment paper that has some flour sprinkled over it. Place the plastic wrap over it and use your roller to flatten the dough out to about 1/4 inch. It’s important to keep the dough even so that one part of a cookie would cook too soon if it’s thinner in parts.
- Remove the plastic wrap. Dip the cookie cutter sharp end into flour and then into the dough. If you need help getting the dough off the parchment paper use a butter knife to skin it off the paper (You may need to add more flour on the bottom before making your next batch). You can also place the sheet of dough back in the fridge for 10 minutes to make it easier to cut.
- Lay the cut-out cookies on a baking sheet and place in oven for 10 minutes (thinner cookies may take less time). Keep your eye on the cookies and when the rims begin to turn brown that’s your sign to take them out. Let them cool on a cooling rack as you put the next set in.
- After cookies have cooled, you can decorate! Wohoo! Love this part! Besides frosting, my favorite cookie decorations are those tiny red cinnamon balls!
I would love to hear your favorite Christmas traditions in the comment below! Merry Christmas, friends!