Sugar Cookies are one of those classic cookie recipes that are great 365 days a year. This versatile cookie recipe can be cut into different shapes and decorated for any holiday or party event. I’ve made flowers and bunnies for Easter, pumpkins and ghosts for Halloween, and even champagne bottle- shaped cookies to celebrate housewarming parties. No matter what the occasion, they are always a big hit!
Servings: 30 cookies
Prep Time: 1 hour 20 minutes | Cook Time: 10 minutes | Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- 2/3 cup vegetable shortening
- 2/3 cup butter
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 cups icing sugar
- 8 tablespoons water
In a large bowl, beat the butter and shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder and salt to the bowl and beat till combined. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla and beat until combined.
Add the flour to the bowl one cup at a time. Beat as much of the flour into the wet mixture as you can and stir in any remaining flour with a wooden spoon. Divide dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Cover and chill both halves of dough for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Using a rolling pin, roll one portion of the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of ¼ inch. Cut the dough into desired shapes using a cookie cutter. Place your cutouts on an cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes or till edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and let them cool completely for half an hour.
To make the icing, combine the icing sugar and water in a large bowl using a whisk. At this point, seperate the icing evenly in multiple bowls (if you are going to make different colours) and add the food dye to the bowls. Combine the dye into each of the bowls of icing using a whisk. To dye my icing, I used Wilton gel food dye. Many bakers use this food dye as it comes in many colours, can be stored literally forever, and is a good price. While I have used this brand my whole life, I am on the hunt for a natural food dye that doesn’t contain nasty high-fructose corn syrup and preservatives. If you have any good brands (or recipes) – leave a comment below!
To decorate my cookies, I used a professional set of piping tips and piping bags that I picked up for super cheap on Amazon. If you don’t have a professional set, you can use simple zip-top bags to pipe out your icing onto the cookies, or simply dip the entire cookie into the bowl of icing. I really like working with the professional set of piping tips and piping bags as they allow you to be very precise which means you can make many intricate designs. I also like the piping bags because you can simply rinse them out and re-use them so you don’t generate any waste!
Once your cookies have all been decorated, leave them to dry on cooling racks for at least 2 hours. Once the icing has hardened, you can store them in a air tight container for 4-5 days or you can freeze them for up to two months.