Monday, February 3, 2014

Family Favorite: Perfect sugar cookies

I'm not exaggerating, these are perfect. Growing up, I remember making sugar cookies with my grandma, which usually meant rolling the dough out pretty thin, cutting them into shapes, and when they'd emerge from the oven they looked poofy and nothing like the shapes we started with. It was always such a disappointment. I can't say I ever really enjoyed the taste of them either.

These sugar cookies are nothing like that. These sugar cookies are moist, crazy delicious, extra thick, they hold their shape and sharp edges, and in the seven years I've been making them, they turn out perfect every time—they're no-fail! You can even flavor them to match the mood of that season; maybe peppermint for Christmas, lemon for Easter, or pumpkin spice for the Fall. I've learned a few tips along the way that I think add up to the most delicious sugar cookie recipe you'll ever need. I hope you enjoy them as much as our family and friends do.

Perfect Sugar Cookies
Makes about 6 dozen 3" cookies, recipe can easily be halved

6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups butter, I almost always use Kerrygold Irish Butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract* (the secret and important ingredient!), or another flavor extract like peppermint, lemon, orange, etc

*For a stronger, but not too strong, almond flavor omit the vanilla and use 2 teaspoons of almond extract. It's really good! Or, this is where you can experiment with seasonal flavors like peppermint extract or pumpkin spice.
1. Preheat oven to 350ยบ. It's best to preheat it for at least 30 minutes before putting your cookies in.
2. Cream sugar and butter until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and/or almond extract. Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add to butter mixture. Mix on low until just incorporated. The dough will be thick.
3. Put a hunk of dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll to desired thickness. I prefer mine extra thick, around 1/2". Thinner is fine, but I wouldn't go much thicker than 1/2". Cut into desired shapes. This dough can hold up to intricate cutters.*
4. Transfer shapes to a parchment or silicone lined cookie sheet and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or longer. Don't skip this step. This chill ensures your cookies won't spread in the oven.
5. Repeat with the rest of the dough (and scraps).**
6. Bake at 350° F for 8–10 minutes. Let cool before decorating.

*If your cookie cutter is very intricate, you may want to chill the rolled out dough for 15 minutes before  attempting to cut your shapes. You will still need to chill the dough after cutting your shapes.
**If you don't bake all your cookies at once and need to refrigerate or freeze the dough (freezes great), let it sit at room temperature until it becomes pliable again, then roll out. Or, roll it out in sheets to your desired thickness and refrigerate/freeze. You can then just cut your shapes and pop in the preheated oven.

Now go enjoy those perfect cookies. x's and o's,


  1. Love this post!! My great grandmother's sugar cookie recipe is very similar. Her secret ingredient - almond extract! These are one if my favorite treats but I really only make then around Christmas. Thank you for inspiring me to get in the habit of making them for other special occasions!

    1. So glad to hear you're inspired! The almond extract always leaves people curious about why they're so good! I haven't tried many other flavors yet, but the possibilities are endless. I'm thinking of trying coconut extract soon. Happy baking! xo


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