Getting started with sugar cookies: recommended recipe

Hello! Since you are here, I suppose I’ve managed to convince you through my previous post to try your hand at making making sugar cookies. Very well then! Let’s get started!

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Cookies for Valentines Day
Mini heart sugar cookies for Valentines Day

The first step to having a good sugar cookie is finding a good recipe. When I first started, I found Wilton’s rolled cookie recipe, and I have used it ever since. I did tweak the recipe a bit over the years to suit my own personal preferences.

Wilton’s Roll-Out Cookie Recipe

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

*Makes about 3 dozen 3-inch cookies.


Step 1: Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Step 2: In large bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extracts. Mix flour, baking powder and salt; add to butter mixture 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Do not chill dough. Divide dough into 2 balls.

Step 3: On floured surface, roll each ball into a circle approximately 12 in. diameter x 1/8 in. thick. Dip cookie cutter in flour before each use. Bake cookies on ungreased cookie sheet 8-11 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned.

Here are some of the tweaks that I’ve done to this recipe:

(1) I only use vanilla for flavoring. I do not like almond flavor. So that means I use 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract per recipe.

(2) I’ve reduced the sugar to 1 cup. I wanted to adjust the sweetness since these cookies will be decorated with Wilton color flow/royal icing, which is mostly composed of confectioners’ sugar.

(3) I add half a cup to a cup more of flour, especially during very hot days when the butter in the cookie dough tend to soften easily.

(4) I sometimes make chocolate flavored cookies. I simply replace half cup of flour with unsweetened cocoa powder.

Mickey and Minnie sugar cookies
Mickey sugar cookies in vanilla and Minnie sugar cookies in chocolate
Here are a few more things to note when preparing the dough:

(1) Butter needs to be soft, not melted.

(2) Add the flour in portions, and put your mixer at slow speed when you start mixing. This will ensure that the flour doesn’t fly out of the bowl and onto your face. You can increase the speed gradually.

(3) When I roll the dough, I don’t use a rolling pin. Instead, I place the dough in between two pieces of waxing/baking paper then I use a fondant smoother to flatten the dough. I find that this method ensures that the dough is compact and makes for a stronger cookie (no air pockets, less breakage).

(4) Dip your cutter in flour to ensure a clean cut when you punch out your preferred shape from the dough. You can add a bit more of flour to the dough when it becomes too sticky and difficult to handle.

(5) This recipe does not call for the dough to be chilled before shaping. However, you can chill and thaw it if you want. I do this when I have large batches to bake, and I prepare the cookie dough ahead of time.

Watch this video I prepared especially for you. I’ve shown the texture that you should achieve after mixing the dough.

Do you have questions regarding this post? Or perhaps you have other questions regarding sugar cookies that I have not yet discussed. Drop me a comment or send me a message, and I’ll answer them in my future posts. In my next post, I will talk about Wilton color flow, which I use to decorate my sugar cookies.



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