recipe

“The best part for me was decorating the cookies, except eating them, of course.” — Christopher, recipe tester, age 8

safety
  • Uses the oven
difficulty
  • Intermediate
time
  • 50 minutes, plus 1½ hours chilling time, plus 30 minutes cooling time
yield
  • Makes 12 to 18 cookies (depending on the size of your cookie cutters)

hey curious cook—

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Prepare Ingredients

Cookies

1½ cups (7½ ounces)
all-purpose flour
⅛ teaspoon
baking powder
⅛ teaspoon
baking soda
¼ teaspoon
salt
1
large egg
½ teaspoon
vanilla extract
½ cup (3½ ounces)
sugar
8 tablespoons
unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces and chilled

Glaze

1⅓ cups (5⅓ ounces)
confectioners' (powdered) sugar
2 tablespoons
milk
1 tablespoon
cream cheese, softened
1-2 drops
food coloring (optional)

Gather Baking Equipment

  • 3 bowls (2 medium, 1 small)
  • Whisk
  • Food processor
  • Rubber spatula
  • Parchment paper
  • Ruler
  • Rolling pin
  • 2 rimmed baking sheets
  • Cookie cutters
  • Spatula
  • Oven mitts
  • Cooling rack
  • Small icing spatula or spoon
1
 
1½ cups (7½ ounces)
all-­purpose flour
⅛ teaspoon
baking powder
⅛ teaspoon
baking soda
¼ teaspoon
salt
1
large egg
½ teaspoon
vanilla extract

For the cookies: In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In small bowl, whisk together egg and vanilla.

 
2
 
½ cup (3½ ounces)
sugar

Add sugar to food processor and lock lid into place. Turn on processor and process until sugar is finely ground, about 30 seconds.

 
3
 
8 tablespoons
unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces and chilled

Stop processor and remove lid. Add chilled butter to processor and lock lid back into place. Turn on processor and process until smooth, about 30 seconds.

 
4
 

Stop processor and remove lid. Add egg mixture and flour mixture and lock lid back into place. Turn on processor and process until no dry flour is visible and mixture forms crumbly dough, about 30 seconds.

 
5
 

Stop processor, remove lid, and carefully remove processor blade (ask an adult for help). Use rubber spatula to transfer dough to center of large sheet of parchment paper on counter.

 
6
 

Use your hands to pat dough into 7-by-9-inch oval. Place second large sheet of parchment on top of dough. Use rolling pin to roll dough into 10-by-14-inch oval (⅛ to ¼ inch thick), rolling dough between parchment.

When rolling out cookie dough, it helps to start at the center of the disk of dough and roll away from you, spinning the dough a quarter turn after each roll. This helps ensure every inch of dough is the same thickness. Try to apply even pressure as you roll.

 
7
 

Slide dough (still between parchment) onto 1 baking sheet. Place baking sheet in refrigerator and refrigerate until dough is firm, at least 1½ hours.

 
8
 

While dough is chilling, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Line second baking sheet with parchment.

 
9
 

When dough is ready, remove dough from refrigerator. Gently peel off top sheet of parchment. Use cookie cutters to cut dough into shapes.

 
10
 

Use spatula to transfer shapes to parchment-lined baking sheet, spaced about ½ inch apart. (If dough becomes too warm and sticky to transfer shapes easily, return it to refrigerator to firm up again, about 10 minutes.)

 
11
 

Place baking sheet in oven. Bake cookies until beginning to brown around edges, 18 to 22 minutes.

 
12
 

Use oven mitts to remove baking sheet from oven (ask an adult for help). Place baking sheet on cooling rack and let cookies cool completely on baking sheet, about 30 minutes.

 
13
 
1⅓ cups (5⅓ ounces)
confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
2 tablespoons
milk
1 tablespoon
cream cheese, softened
1-2 drops
food coloring (optional)

For the glaze: While cookies are cooling, in second medium bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar, milk, softened cream cheese, and 1 to 2 drops food coloring (if using). Use clean rubber spatula to stir until very smooth.

 
14
 

Use icing spatula to decorate cooled cookies. Serve.

Decorating Glazed Sugar Cookies

Use small icing spatula or back of spoon to spread glaze in even layer on cookie, starting in middle and working your way to edges.

While glaze is still wet, sprinkle with sanding sugar, sprinkles, crushed cookies, or candy.