Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies

Total Time:
4 hr 40 min
10 min
4 hr
30 min

3 dozen cookies, depending on the size of the cutters

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Colored sugar and milk, for decorating, or Royal Icing, recipe follows
  • Royal Icing:
  • 2 pounds confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons meringue powder (egg white powder)
  • Food coloring, as desired

Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a second large bowl and mix well. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture 1 cup at a time. Chill the dough for 3 to 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment. Roll out the dough and cut it into shapes with cookie cutters or a knife. Place the shapes on the prepared cookie sheet. If decorating with colored sugar, brush the cookies with milk and sprinkle with colored sugar (if using royal icing, leave unfinished). Bake until the cookies are just beginning to brown around the edges, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies.

Remove the cookies to a rack to cool completely. If using royal icing, decorate the cookies as desired.

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Royal Icing:

Combine the confectioners' sugar, meringue powder and 3/4 cup water in a large bowl. Mix slowly with an electric mixer until stiff enough to form peaks; the icing should be pure white and thick, but not fluffy and bubbly. If the frosting is over-beaten, it will get aerated which makes it harder to work with. If this happens, let the frosting sit to settle, and then use a rubber spatula to vigorously beat and smooth out the frosting.

Add up to 1 tablespoon food coloring and mix with a rubber spatula until the color is uniform. Gels are best with royal icing. You don't want to thin them with liquid colors. Be careful of adding too much color, which reduces the sheen of the frosting and can break down the consistency of the frosting over a couple of days. Store the icing at room temperature, covered, with plastic wrap on the surface.

Yield: 3 1/2 cups icing

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    Absolute WORST recipe for sugar cookies I have ever tried!! One poster said they tasted just like how their grandma used to make......ewww, you can't be serious. These "cookies" were nasty and as several people have said, they are more like biscuits rather than cookies. Even my 4 year old son hated them. The dog would not even eat them, either. OMG, they were that bad. I threw out the cookies and the remaining dough. What are you trying to do? Poison people?
    If your looking for a traditional sugar cookie dough recipe this is it! It was so easy that my 11 year old son made these for our family using fun shapes that he detailed himself. We will definitely be using this recipe again and again.
    The Yummiest & easiest cookies ever!! I adjusted the sugar to 1 1/2 cups and 2 tsp of vanilla, as stated in other reviews. I wanted simple undecorated sugar cookies, so the increase of sugar made them perfect by themselves. My two super picky boys, age 7 & 6, loved them. If your going to decorate them I would leave out the extra 1/2 cup of sugar, unless you like them very sweet.  
    My mix came out moist and not too sticky. I had no problem handling it in my hands. I made a big ball out of it and wrapped in plastic wrap. Chilled for 3-4 hours. It does come out pretty hard. I cut it in half and placed the other part in the fridge until I was ready to use it. I use powder sugar to coat the surface of my counter to roll out the dough instead of flour. Do not crowd them on the cookie sheet. I also rotated the cookie sheet halfway through the baking time.  
    The end result was a light crispy edge with a slightly chewy center with a lot of favor and sweetness. They were even better the next day.
    These were SO easy and very yummy! As stated in some of the reviews others have left, they aren't super sugary, but once you load them with frosting and decorations, that will no longer be a problem! :) These taste exactly like how I remember my mom making them when I was little. I'm keeping this recipe! :)
    lets try this out!
    These cookies tasted just like my grandma would make. I used real butter and rolled them out between wax paper. They make perfect cut out cookies.
    I think this is one of the best recipes for Sugar Cookies! And does it ever make the house smell like Christmas..
    LOVED IT!! Added 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla per the review recommendations and it was perfect! Very easy to make which is a HUGE plus in my book especially during the busy holiday season!
    Just looking at the recipe - I haven't tried this one - I would add a lot more vanilla.
    Why don't you try it and get back to us with a more definitive outcome.
    Easy recipe to follow with ingredients I had on hand. I had to make these for school lunch treat and I used all organic ingredients. Followed recipe exactly. Nice, crunchy texture and buttery flavor. I will make these again.
    Try adding a teaspoon of brown sugar and cinnamon
    This recipe is horrible and I was very disappointed. If you notice, everyone who rated this any higher did not actually follow the recipe but instead added more of this and that. I did not read the reviews before I did this and the recipe made the cookies taste more like biscuits/short bread cookies- not impressed at all. I always use this website and this is the first time I have been disappointed. Will definitely not be using this recipe again.
    Easy to prepare dough and delicious!
    After pulling the cookies out of the oven, I eagerly took a bite only to realize they tasted nothing like sugar cookies but instead like biscuits. However I didn't let this ruin my day instead I made a trip to Popeyes picked up an order of spicy chicken tenders. I came back home and enjoyed my biscuits with popeyes. All in all horrible cookies but delicious biscuits.
    I knew this recipe sounded off-too much flour and baking powder, etc. but decided to try it anyway and ended up with bland sugar biscuits, not cookies!
    I used more sugar and vanilla, just like everyone else and I rolled it in cinnamon sugar, this was the best sugar cookie I've ever had. Oh and I also used salted butter. My only complaint was the very limited window in cutting the dough before it warms up and becomes gooey even after I chilled it for 3 hours and flour my rolling pin. I'm letting the rest of the dough chill overnight hoping that will help.
    I did what everyone kept repeating which was to add an extra half cup of sugar. I had no trouble making these cookies. This is the first time i ever made sugar cookies and i was so excited to see the end result. Actually this is the first time i every used a rolling pin lol. ^_^
    I've made these sugar cookies several times and they are great. I always also add more sugar (1/2 cup more like the other reviews state. I then ice them with a lemon icing from a the iced lemon cookie recipe by Rachael Ray. The cookies from that recipe didn't rate well but the icing is great with these cookies. When guests eat these I get tons of compliments.
    This was the WORST cookie recipe I have ever made! I let the dough chill extra and still it stuck to EVERYTHING! And then when I put them in the oven they didn't set in their shape and spread all over the pan. DO NOT USE THIS RECIPE!
    these are great if you add half a cup of sugar maybe a pinch more and i always put in more vanilla extract and people always compliment on them also great if you frost and make them cutouts, baking on a silicon mat gives them a softer middle too
    Added 1/2 tsp more vanilla and 1/2 cup more sugar after reading other reviews. Great tasting cookies!
    I had to add a lot more vanilla and 1/2 cup more of sugar. They came out soft and really delicious.
    NO, these cookies weren't tasty at all. Im sorry. From now on im reading reviews before i use new recipes or ill keep to my own old recipes.
    Try using buttermilk instead gives it a nice flavor.
    Tasty,awsome,yummy i have never had a cookie like this
    Tasty,easy to make.
    They were a hit at Thanksgiving dinner. Made them in the shape of turkeys and pumpkins, of course. Also added sanding sugar, lovely. A great recipe for a first-time baker. Makes for good practice for making them even in thickness, too. I'm happy I listened to previous reviewers, please add that extra 1/2 cup of sugar.
    These were delicious. I used vanilla sugar and cake flour.
    Really good if you add more sugar. I added just over a 1/2 cup more sugar and they were perfect. Also, I didn't have time to chill the dough, so I mixed and dropped them on a pan and they turned out really good at a total cook time 12 minutes for large cookies.
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