Simple cut-out Sugar Cookies that hold their shape without chilling the dough.
- 170 grams (3/4 cup or 1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, cold
- 150 grams (3/4 cup) caster sugar or granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, cold
- 315 grams (2 and 1/4 cups) plain flour or all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Simple glaze icing
- 250 grams (2 cups) icing sugar or powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract or clear vanilla extract*
- 1 teaspoon glucose syrup or corn syrup, optional
- 2–3 tablespoons full fat or whole milk
- Gel food colour, optional
- Preheat the oven to 170 C (340 F) standard / 150 C (300 F) fan-forced. Line two large baking trays or cookie sheets with baking paper.
- Grab your butter from the fridge and roughly chop it into 1 inch cubes.
- Add butter, sugar and vanilla to a large mixing bowl. Turn mixer onto low speed and start to beat butter and sugar. It’ll take a few minutes for your butter to soften, but eventually it’ll come together.
- Turn mixer up to medium speed and beat just until your butter and sugar is combined and smooth. There shouldn’t be any lumps of butter.
- Add cold egg. Mix briefly on low speed just to break up the egg yolk. Then add flour, baking powder and salt.
- Continue to mix on low speed until a soft, but thick cookie dough forms. It may seem dry and crumbly at first, but just keep mixing and it’ll slowly come together. Shape cookie dough into a large round disc using your hands.
- Place a large sheet of baking or parchment paper on your bench. Place your cookie dough on top. Then, place another sheet of baking or parchment paper on top of the cookie dough. Roll out the dough until it’s 1/4 inch thick (or your desired thickness).
- Use cookie cutters to cut out cookies and carefully transfer them to your prepared trays. You can re-roll the excess dough once and cut out more cookies* (see notes below on re-rolling).
- Bake cookies for 10-11 minutes or until they are just starting to go golden on the edges. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To decorate, add sugar to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add extract, syrup (if using) and 1 tablespoon of milk and stir using a spoon.
- Gradually add more milk as needed, until you have a smooth and creamy glaze. Try not to add too much milk or your glaze will be too runny. Use a few drops of gel food colouring to tint your glaze.
- Transfer glaze to a piping bag fitted with a very small round tip. Decorate cooled cookies. Leave cookies at room temperature to set overnight or place them in the fridge for 3-4 hours or until icing has set.
Vanilla bean paste: I love the stronger flavour of vanilla bean paste (and I love the vanilla bean speckles it leaves in my cookies), but regular vanilla extract works just as well.
Clear vanilla extract: The only reason clear vanilla extract is recommended for the glaze is because regular brown vanilla will tint the colour of your icing. Clear vanilla extract isn’t that easy to find in Australia, so I usually use almond extract, or you can just leave it out.
Glucose syrup: Adding glucose syrup or corn syrup to your icing will give your cookies a nice shine. But it’s entirely optional, if you don’t have access to either, you can just leave it out.
Don’t overmix your butter and sugar: We don’t want to ‘cream’ the butter and sugar together. Mix the butter and sugar on a low-medium speed just until they’re combined.
Weigh your flour using a baking scale: This recipe relies on the careful ratio of butter and flour. Using cup measurements can result in adding too much flour, which will make your dough dry and crumbly and your cookies taste floury.
Rolling your cookie dough: Your hands are warm so the more you touch your dough, the warmer the butter will become. You can re-roll the leftover dough once but any more than that, I recommend chilling the cookies for 10-15 minutes before baking just to prevent any spreading
Worried about spreading? Bake one tester cookie and see how it goes. If you follow the steps above it should hold its shape, but if it does spread, don’t worry. Once you cut out your cookies, you can pop them in the fridge for 15-30 minutes before baking.