It took me a while to find my Christmas spirit this year. Maybe it’s because I’ve had a hard month and a busy couple coming up (which I’m not ready for). Or it could be that my house has been devoured by the chaos that a rampant 11 month old brings, and if I were to put out decorations I might have to actually tidy in order to have space. Or perhaps my lack of Christmas spirit can be blamed on my husband, who took way too long to put out Phillip (our light-up dinosaur) onto the front lawn. But by some type of timely Christmas miracle I finally found some Christmas spirit and I managed to put up the tree, tidied the living room and put out decorations, mailed out most of our Christmas cards, and started my Christmas baking. Nothing will raise your holiday cheer like baked goods, especially Christmas sugar cookies!
Sugar cookies are the quintessential Christmas cookie. I love the nostalgia and whimsy surrounding sugar cookies, and I love to decorate them (and of course I don’t mind eating them. I can’t refuse any cookie- What am I, a monster?!) However all too often they are dry, brittle, bland, and over baked. Not these cookies though! I think every sugar cookie experience in my life was necessary to lead me to this recipe. These cookies are soft, fluffy, pillowy, hold their shape without being too firm, and they melt in your mouth- everything a sugar cookie should be!
If your old sugar cookie recipe is feeling a bit tired you should give these a try. I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Makes 2.5 dozen cookies
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons milk
- optional: food coloring and sprinkles
In a large bowl cream the butter and sugars together with an electric mixer until very light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in egg, sour cream, and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Mix in salt, baking soda, baking powder, then slowly add the flour on slow speed until combined, scraping down the bowl as needed. The dough should be moist, but firm enough that you can roll it out without it being too sticky- Add more flour as needed.
Divide dough into two sections and flatten until about 1/2 inch thick. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill in the freezer for 10-20 minutes, or if making the next day store in the fridge for up to two days.
Preheat oven to 425 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside. Flour a large work area generously and roll out dough with a rolling pin to approx 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with desired cookie cutter and transfer to baking sheet. Bake for 6-7 minutes until slightly puffed and pale golden. Immediately transfer cookies to a cookie rack to cool.
Make Frosting: In large bowl with an electric mixer beat the butter and vanilla until light and fluffy, then mix in the milk. Gradually add the powdered sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl often, until smooth and creamy. Add food coloring and beat until combined.
Allow cookies to cool completely, then frost and add sprinkles. Allow frosting to set before storing in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Freezing: This dough keeps very well in the freezer. You can either freeze the dough before rolling, or you can freeze pre-cut cookies. Let thaw completely before baking. Baked and frosted cookies also store quite nicely in the freezer.