It’s a bold statement to call something “The Best” but when it comes to cut-out cookies I do think this recipe is tops.
To be honest, sugar cookies mostly taste the same, it’s just the level of sweetness that can vary. Despite calling for more than a cup of sugar, these aren’t sweet at all because they make such a large batch. You’ll likely be frosting them in a slick of sweet icing, so the less cloying the cookie the better, as far as I’m concerned.
If that hasn’t convinced you of its merits, how about the fact that the dough requires no chilling time at all. None. There’s nothing worse than getting the kids excited about a baking project, only to have to put it on hold for an hour while the dough chills. Where’s the fun in that? With this recipe, you make, roll and bake all at the same time. While the cookies cool you can make the 2-ingredient icing (recipe below) and before you know it you have decorated sugar cookies done in an entire afternoon if you like.
The frosting should be allowed to sit overnight to harden, but if you can’t wait that long – and who could blame you – the taste will still be great, they just might be a little messier than if the icing has a chance to firm up.
When it comes to decorating cookies, I usually add just a small amount of pizzazz via sprinkles. I can’t be bothered to tint the icing every colour of the rainbow. Alternatively, you can also brush the cookies with egg wash (1 egg + 1 Tbsp. water or milk whisked together) and top them with coarse/coloured sugar or crushed nuts before baking.
One quick note about the recipe: I call for almond extract because I like the flavour in this cookie. Be sure to use imitation almond extract and not the pure kind if you plan on passing these cookies around at school or gifting to families who may have children with nut allergies. Alternatively, you can also replace the almond extract with vanilla extract if you prefer.
The Best Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup full-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the sugar, butter and sour cream until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and almond extract and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.
3. Add in baking soda, salt and flour and mix just until the dough is combined, and the flour is fully incorporated. The dough will be slightly sticky, which is fine.
4. Generously flour your work surface. Roll out the dough about ¼ to ½ inch thick. Cut out desired shapes. Bake the cookies for 5 to 8 minutes, depending on their size and/or thickness or until golden brown on the bottom. Allow the cookies to cool completely and thoroughly before icing.