You can't have a holiday cookie swap without a tin of decorated sugar cookies. Instead of relying on the store-bought dough, impress your family, friends, and coworkers with these seriously delicious made-from-scratch cookies. Perhaps the best thing about this recipe is that you can transform this dough into just about anything, including snow-covered Christmas trees and tiny candy canes.
Before you bust out the cookie cutters (), take a look at these tried-and-tested tips from the pros. Once you've mastered these sugar cookies, try one of our other crowd-pleasing cookie recipes.
Always work with cold dough. It's easiest to cut and shape cold dough. If it warms up, freeze for 10 minutes and then get back to work.
Parchment paper is your friend. To avoid a sticky, doughy mess, place a disk of cookie dough between two sheets of parchment paper before flattening it with a rolling pin. Bye-bye messy kitchen counters!
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Coarse sugar crystals (optional)
In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. In separate large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat butter and sugar until blended. Increase speed to high; beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low; beat in eggs, almond extract, and vanilla extract until mixed, then beat in flour mixture just until blended, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces; flatten each piece into a disk. Wrap each disk with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove dough from refrigerator. Place dough disk between two sheets of parchment paper, roll dough until 1/8-inch thick. With floured , cut dough into as many cookies as possible; reserve trimmings. Place cookies, 1 inch apart, on two ungreased large cookie sheets. and sprinkle sanding sugar on top (if desired).
Bake until edges are golden, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating cookie sheets between upper and lower oven racks halfway through. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough.
Let cookies cool. Store in tightly covered container (with waxed paper between layers if decorated) at room temperature up to 2 weeks, or in freezer up to 3 months.