When it comes to cookies, sugar cookies are some of the prettiest. Cut out into whimsical shapes, dusted with sprinkles, or covered in frosting and elaborate decor, there are all kinds of ways to dress up these sweet treats. The problem is some sugar cookies wind up being more fun to look at than they are to eat. There are thousands, if not millions of sugar cookies out there, but not all of them are decent. Too many sugar cookies are average at best, providing a blase eating experience that looks better than it actually tastes. This unfortunately leads the sugar cookie to be entirely underrated and overlooked. When given the choice, sugar is often the last kind of cookie that one would choose as their favorite.
Well, I happen to love sugar cookies. Why? Because when they’re done right, they are absolutely incredible. They’re simple, sweet, buttery, and classic, with flavors evoking the memories of Christmases long since passed and afternoons spent baking in the kitchen with my mother. You see, when sugar cookies are good, they’re really good. You’ve just got to find the right one.
These Chewy Sugar Cookies are exactly what one envisions a classic sugar cookie to be: buttery, subtly sweet, and crisp on the outside with a nice chew in the middle. They make beautiful cut-out cookies, which is essential for Christmas time. You can adorn them with festive and fanciful decorations or you can leave them plain.
I know what you’re thinking.
A plain sugar cookie? Yawn.
Don’t write these guys off just yet; they are good enough to stand on their own. I promise. This is a true sugar cookie recipe; the perfect chewy texture with just the right amount of sweetness, and a little something extra from a dash of almond extract. That’s my secret weapon. It’s not an overpowering amount; it’s just enough to make you ponder, “Hm, what’s that?”
I know you may have been wronged by a sugar cookie or two in the past, but these guys are downright delicious. You simply must give them a shot. Decorate them as you please or enjoy them as they are; they will be delectable either way. I provided a quick, easy, and completely delicious buttercream frosting as well if you’re feeling indulgent.
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking
- You can make these as cut-out cookies or merely roll the dough into a ball and plop it on the tray. It’s up to you.
- The frosting is so easy and delicious. I highly recommend it. Feel free to dye it festive colors!
- The almond extract is optional, but it really provides something special and depth of flavor.
- Remember, sugar cookie dough always requires chilling time! The more time you chill, the better flavor you’ll find. Plan ahead.
- These cookies freeze great. Store in an airtight container in your freezer for up to 4 weeks.
- Parchment paper is not prissy; it’s essential. Your cookies will come off the tray perfect every time, and you don’t have to wash the tray every time you bake!
- Besides the homemade buttercream frosting, I used Cupcake Icing by Betty Crocker for decorating because they come with different piping tips so you don’t have to get out a pastry bag or dirty your own tips. You can find them in the baking isle.
- The frosting recipe is easily cut in half; I did so myself.
Chewy Sugar Cookies
Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
- 2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling the dough
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
- 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- Buttercream frosting, optional (recipe follows)
- Cream the butter, the granulated sugar, and the brown sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the egg, almond extract, and vanilla; beat at medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl as needed.
- Shape the dough into a disk and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (You can refrigerate up to 2 days, or freeze it and take it out and put in the refrigerator about 12 hours before you plan to bake.)
- Remove dough from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, place baking sheets lined with parchment paper in the fridge to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Flour the counter, the dough and a rolling pin and roll the dough out to ¼-inch thickness. Dip a cookie cutter in flour and cut out your cookies.
- Take out each tray just as you need it. Place the cookies on the tray and bake for 8-9 minutes until edges are just ready to turn the slightest bit light brown (you really don’t want much coloring at all on these cookies), rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through baking. Keep an eye on them; it’s easy to burn sugar cookies.
- Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.
- Decorate as desired.
Easy Buttercream Frosting
recipe from Foodbeast
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 7-8 tablespoons milk
- Sift powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Add melted butter, vanilla, and milk to the bowl, whisking until smooth. If frosting is too thick, whisk in additional milk as necessary, 1 teaspoon at a time. If frosting is too thin, add additional powdered sugar.
Need more Christmas cookies? Head over The Smart Cookie Christmas Cookie Central!