Every year I like to try a couple of new cookie recipes at Christmas, but these Soft Sugar Cookies are a given. This recipe came from a school fundraising book that my mom bought in the late 80s – the spiral bound sort that are a compilation of parent’s and grandparent’s recipes. Nicole G. is the author’s name, printed next to this recipe on a little scrap that I cut from the page – the only scrap left of the book. What Nicole doesn’t know is that she started a tradition.
I doubt a year has gone by since that I haven’t made them.
These Soft Sugar Cookies stay impossibly, melt-in-your-mouth soft. They’re just slightly sweet, the perfect vehicle for buttery sweet Sugar Cookie Icing or creamy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting. This recipe makes 24 cookies, but you can easily double it – the perfect treat to box up and deliver to your neighbors.
You’ll find the Soft Sugar Cookie dough is soft, supple and luxurious to work with. I’ve always assumed this is partly due to the sour cream in the dough? It’s also delicate, so try to work quickly as you roll out the dough then cut and transfer it to the baking sheets to prevent the dough from getting too warm. And if you’re cooking smaller batches be sure to keep any uncooked dough or cutouts refrigerated. And remember that it’s key to remove the cookies from the oven when they’ve puffed, but still look slightly underdone. This is the key to the sugar cookies staying soft.
How to Make Soft Sugar Cookies
Step 1: Whisk dry ingredients together. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla and sour cream, mixing between each just until combined. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined.
Step 2: Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours up to overnight.
Step 3: Preheat oven to 350˚F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness and cut into desired shapes with cookie or biscuit cutters. Transfer to prepared baking sheets.
Step 4: Bake 8-10 minutes and remove while cookies still look slightly undercooked. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
Step 5: Top cooled cookies with Sugar Cookie Icing and decorative sugar (optional) or Vanilla Buttercream Frosting and enjoy!
Soft Sugar Cookies Recipe Video
Soft Sugar Cookies
For the Cookies:
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 300g
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup butter 1 cube, ideally 85% fat European style butter
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 recipe Sugar Cookie Icing
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- With a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg and vanilla. Add sour cream and mix just until combined. Add dry ingredients to bowl and mix to combine.
- Transfer dough to a large piece of plastic wrap on a work surface and wrap to cover dough completely, shaping into a disc. Chill dough at least 2 hours or overnight.
When you're ready to bake:
- Preheat the oven to 375˚F.
- Lightly grease 2 large baking sheets or line with parchment paper. (see recipe note #1)
- Divide dough in half. Place one half back in the refrigerator; transfer other half to lightly floured work surface. Roll dough 1/4" thick (no thinner!) - cut with desired cookie cutters and transfer to prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 1" between cookies as they'll puff and spread.
- Bake 8 to 10 minutes until set, but look slightly underdone (this is key to the cookies staying soft). Remove from oven and carefully transfer to a cooling rack. Repeat rolling, cutting and baking process with remaining refrigerated dough.
- I like to have 2 baking sheets to work with so that each batch of cookies starts on a cool sheet. Alternating between sheets works well for 2 batches or 4 or more, which I often make for edible gift giving during the holidays.
- If you double this recipe, work with half of the dough at a time. Keeping the second half refrigerated until you've cooked all of the cookies from the first batch.
- When using Sugar Cookie Icing, be sure you give it ample time to cool and harden before stacking the cookies on a platter or in a gift box.
- Note that the nutrition information for these soft sugar cookies includes a full recipe of Sugar Cookie Icing.