Every Christmas and Valentine's Day we would always look forward to my Mom's old-fashioned sugar cookies. She made DOZENS of these every year and they have always been a family favorite! My Dad loved them, my brothers and sister loved them, EVERYONE raved about how wonderful her sugar cookies tasted!
From the time that they were little my kiddos have loved these soft and tender sugar cookies better than any other! Probably because it was the first cookie for each of them...
I was one of those crazy moms that didn't give my little ones any refined sugar until their first birthday. And Mom would always make it a special event by baking up a batch of these and giving them a simple sprinkle of sparkling sugar on top. Perfectly simple, perfectly wonderful!
If you are one of those people that prefer your sugar cookies on the hard or crisp side, these are not for you. These are thick and tender, soft and chewy! I generally use cookie cutters that have simple designs - no intricate edges or cutouts, as these cookies bake up soft and puffy.
And whether you prefer them simply sprinkled with sugar, or want to throw caution to the wind and decorate, these are the sugar cookies that always disappear first! When I'm decorating with little ones, I prefer to use a "bakery style" frosting and let them swirl and twirl the frosting and sprinkle with holiday sprinkles. So messy, and so dang much fun! And if I have an afternoon to myself, I love taking the time to frost and decorate with Easy Royal Icing. And have lots of fun with holiday sprinkles!
Any way that you decorate these, they roll out, bake and freeze like a dream! Simply make sure that the icing or frosting has had at least 3 hours to sit, and then place in single layers on top of parchment paper in an airtight container. They will stay soft and wonderful at room temperature for at least a week, or in your freezer for a month.
Mom also used these sugar cookies as the base for her Date Filled Sugar Cookies. Simply cut the cookie dough into 3-inch circles and place a spoonful of date filling between two cookies, sprinkle with sparkling sugar and bake just until the edges start to turn golden. So soft and good!
I also wanted to share my food color recommendations with you. For years I have used Wilton Paste Colour or Wilton Gel for cake and cookie decorating, but I've now switched over to AmeriColor Soft Gel Paste. You'll get a far more intense and superior color that doesn't separate or weep - the last thing you want to have happen on your beautiful sugar cookies!
And the next time you have one of those store-bought iced sugar cookies and wonder how impossibly hard it would be to make them at home, you've now got the perfect recipe for the perfect Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies, and our favorite Bakery Frosting and Easy Royal Icing.
Thanks Mom! Your sugar cookie legacy will live on and always remind us of you!
3 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (sifted, spooned & leveled)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (room temperature)
½ cup Crisco shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg (room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup sour cream (room temperature)
FROSTING: (Bakery Frosting or Easy Royal Icing – see SnowflakesandCoffeecakes.com)
½ cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
½ cup Crisco shortening
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla (use clear vanilla if you want pure white frosting)
Milk or half & half (add by tablespoons to desired consistency)
Food Coloring (optional)
FOR DECORATING: Holiday Sprinkles and Sparkling Sugar
HOW I MAKE THESE:
YIELD: Makes 24 (four-inch) cookies or 30-36 (three-inch) cookies.
NOTES: TO KEEP THESE COOKIES SOFT: I keep a slice of sandwich bread in the container to keep the cookies soft – replace every day or so, as soon as the slice of bread dries out. It’s a sweet little trick! These cookies will stay fresh in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to one week. Baked these freeze well – plain, or even if frosted or decorated!
Originally published December 2010, Revised & Republished December 2017
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