Rolled Sugar Cookies are great anytime of year for all types of celebrations because you can cut and decorate them to fit any theme that you can imagine. Sugar cookie recipes range from cardboard like or chalky and tasteless to delicious, perfectly textured bites of deliciousness so, if you think you don’t like them, try a new recipe.
I like to add a little cardamom to my cookie dough because it adds a subtle flavor that isn’t overpowering and makes them just a little more interesting. If you are decorating your sugar cookies with royal icing the possibilities for flavoring and coloring are endless. I most often stick to vanilla, almond or lemon.
The available choices for decorating just keep getting better and I have many of my favorites compiled in my Cookie Decorating list on Amazon. There are edible glitters, dusts, sprinkles, markers and so much more.
A great way to get kids involved with out making a huge mess is to have them help with cutting and baking. After the cookies are baked, ice the entire cookie with royal icing and let it dry. Once the cookies are dry give the children edible food markers and let them draw away. This makes a great activity for parties and family gatherings because it is relatively mess free and lets the children be as creative as they want to be.
Rolled Sugar Cookies
Whisk together the flour, cardamom and salt. Set aside
Place the butter and sugar in large bowl of an electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add the eggs and vanilla, beat to combine.
Put the mixer on low speed, gradually add your flour mixture, and beat until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
When ready to roll, dust the counter and surface of the dough lightly with powdered sugar. Roll the dough to 1/4” thickness. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking.
The dough is extremely forgiving, you can piece together scraps of dough to re-roll it numerous times without compromising the quality. If dough has warmed too much during rolling, place cold cookie sheet on top for 10 minutes to chill or place it back in the fridge for a few min.
Cut into desired shape, place at least 1-inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment, or a silicone baking mat.
Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack.
Frost with royal icing and let dry at least 8 hrs. before covering. Once dry these cookies will hold for 2-3 weeks at room temperature if sealed in an airtight container or individually wrapped.
This is the only royal icing recipe that I use for cookies, gingerbread houses and fondant cake detail work. It’s easy to work with, sets quickly, and doesn’t use raw egg whites. Best of all, it dries just hard enough to paint on and package but not so hard that it will break a tooth.
In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat all of the icing ingredients together on medium speed for 5 minutes - start the mixer on low to avoid being covered in powdered sugar.
I start with 6 Tablespoons of water, you may need to add more if you live somewhere that is dry or you like a looser icing for flooding cookies.
When lifting the paddle up off the icing, the icing should drizzle down and smooth out within 10-15 seconds. If it's too thick, add more water. If it's too thin, add more sifted confectioners' sugar.
When you're not working directly with the royal icing (for example, if you are dividing your icing to make multiple colors), place a damp paper towel directly on the surface of the royal icing. This prevents it from hardening.
This icing dries in about 2 hours at room temperature but I usually leave my cookies to dry 8 hours or overnight if I am packaging them for gifts or for children to decorate with edible markers.