How to: Make Perfect Sugar Cookies

It’s the perfect dessert for any party favor. Something you can make match any occasion, any theme, any sweet tooth.  And it’s so incredibly fail-proof.

Little leaves made in the fall.

Umm, wrong!!!  There is a LOT that can go wrong with sugar cookies.  …trust me.

In this post, we’ll cover how to get bakery ready sugar cookies.  And when you show them off to your friends, you can brag that you’re the expert chef that created them. No store bought cookies here!

  1. Find a good recipe.
    This is half the battle with any baked good. Seriously, it is my pet peeve when things look amazing but taste like cardboard. No worries, I’ve collected a few good sugar cookie recipes for you. 🙂   Click here and here.
  2. Make sure your butter is softened, but not too soft.
    There is nothing more frustrating than cutting out a perfectly shaped cookie, only to have it become a blob in the oven. Having the butter softened, but not melted, will ensure proper distribution of the butter throughout the batter, while leaving little pieces of butter throughout.  These pieces of butter will slowly melt in the oven, leaving pockets of air (a fluffier cookie) and the cookie will hold its shape if the butter doesn’t melt and cause it to spread. But it’s VERY important you also read #3!
  3. Chill out.
    Like I said, you don’t want your dough to spread too much.  So be sure to chill it in the refrigerator for at least 30min before you roll and cut the dough.  Then, put the dough into the oven when it’s COLD.  Why? The butter won’t melt as quickly, the dough won’t spread as badly, and the cookie will keep its shape.  Voila! You’ll also want to chill the dough again if it becomes warm or sticky when you’re rolling and cutting, AND between batches.  Don’t let it sit at room temp for longer than 10-15min if you can help it.
  4. Make a mess.
    Use a lot of flour to roll out your cookies.  No one is getting an award for cleanest kitchen here. So don’t be afraid to get a little messy.  This includes the counter, floor (if you’re like me), clothing, whatever. The important part is making sure your cookie dough doesn’t stick to the counter top.  Cookies just don’t look the same after they’ve been scraped off of the counter…
  5. Add some flour to your cookie cutter.
    Dip your cookie cutter in flour between each cookie you cut out.  This will ensure the dough won’t stick to the cookie cutter.
  6. But keep it clean.
    Keep your baking pans clean and the cookies from sticking to the baking sheet by using parchment paper.  Line your baking sheets with the paper to be sure your cookies come off clean. You do not have to change the parchment paper between batches, either.  Another option would be to use a silicone baking mat…but I’ve never liked the smell those put out when they’re in the oven.
  7. Don’t over bake.
    I don’t know about you, but I like my cookies a little soft on the inside.  Achieve this by not over baking.  Leave the cookies in just until they’re brown around the edges, then take them out and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes.  Transfer to a baking rack to finish cooling.
  8. Allow pans to cool between batches.
    I know you’re tired of me talking about cookies spreading too much, but this goes back to that point.  If your cookie sheets are still hot when you put the next batch of cookies on, you’re asking for the dough to heat and spread prior to baking.  Don’t do it!! Either stock up on cookie sheets or wait a while between batches.
  9. Choose the right frosting.
    This is fairly self-explanatory.  Too runny and your design will be ruined.  Too thick and it will look gloopy (technical term) and will take a lot longer to harden. I love Wilton’s cookie icing.
  10. Accentuate your design, but keep it simple.
    Designs and decorations are great, but you’re working on a cookie, not a wedding cake. Simple and clean designs are great for cookies.  Too much detail and intricacies may make your cookie look too busy.

Bam! Now you’re a sugar cookie pro! Go forth and conquer, LBSters.

Still think it’s too difficult or too much work?  I won’t tell anyone if you go to a bakery to buy them. 🙂

Share your pictures or cookie-making experiences below!

Don’t want to roll and cut them? No worries. They’re just as delicious if they’re round.

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