These Watermelon Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese are my go-to recipe for the softest, thickest and most perfect sugar cookies for decorating - and the easiest Royal Icing.
Thick and soft Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies (my Mom’s recipe made with fresh sour cream) will always be our favorite, but for those times when you need a perfect sugar cookie that has an easy dough to roll out and work with, will hold its shape and edges, and have a wonderful surface for fun decorating, this is the one I use. Perfectly simple and wonderful!
WHAT IS THE SECRET OF PERFECT SUGAR COOKIES?
These Watermelon Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing are ONE IN A MELON! Perfect for summer picnics, baby showers, and adorable birthday parties! To ensure the wonderfully soft sugar cookies of your dreams, you want to roll the dough about ¼-inch thick. This may seem too thick when you are rolling and cutting, but it’s absolutely key if you want perfect sugar cookies for munching and decorating!
If you’ve found your cut-out sugar cookies lose their shape in the past, it could have been due to a few factors (too much butter in the recipe, dough too warm, dough not rolled thick enough, etc.), but I can tell you that this recipe yields absolutely beautiful edges that do not spread if you take care to roll to the appropriate thickness (if rolled too thin then they can spread) and chill the cut-out dough before baking.
SUGAR COOKIE TIPS & TRICKS:
CREAM CHEESE SUGAR COOKIES:
3 cups + 2 Tablespoons (390g) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter (softened to room temperature)
4 ounces block cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
1 large egg (room temperature)
2 teaspoons Rodelle Pure Vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Rodelle Pure Almond extract
FROSTING: (for Bakery Frosting see SnowflakesandCoffeecakes.com)
EASY ROYAL ICING:
4 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons Wilton Meringue Powder
1 tablespoon corn syrup (Karo)
2 tablespoons flavoring (I use clear vanilla)
8-10+ tablespoons water (room temperature)
AmeriColor Soft Gel Food Coloring (strongly recommended!)
FOR DECORATING: Holiday Sprinkles and Sparkling Sugar (both optional)
HOW I MAKE THESE:
YIELD: Makes about 36 (three-inch) cookies
NOTES: These cookies will stay fresh in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
MAKE AHEAD TIP: Plain baked cookies freeze well up to 1 month. Thaw overnight UNOPENED on your kitchen countertop before decorating.
FOR PARTIES: I package cookies individually in self-sealing clear cellophane cello bags (Pack It Chic are my favorite brand). Make sure cookies are completely dry after decorating before packaging. To make ahead, place individually wrapped and sealed cookies in a larger airtight container and freeze. Thaw on your countertop before serving - do not thaw in refrigerator (you are trying to minimize moisture during defrosting, which can cause your frosting designs to run or bleed).
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.
Originally published December 2010; revised & republished August 2020.
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