These are the ultimate sugar cookie – thick and flavourful, with crispy edges and chewy centres. Perfect for the holidays, as they can be cut and decorated for any theme! I used a bunny-shaped cookie cutter and pastels for Easter vibes.
For some reason, I have had a lot of bad sugar cookies in my lifetime. I wasn’t sure if I was hanging out with the wrong crowd, or if these cookies were just a dud. So of course, I had to try to solve this issue myself. I came to two important conclusions: cookies must be THICK, to avoid being dry and crunchy; cookies must have FLAVOUR, to avoid being tasteless and unexciting.
This recipe has a few key steps that are really critical. Adding true flavourings is important – while butter and sugar taste great, they will not cut it. I like to use vanilla bean paste, as I find it packs the most punch; but vanilla extract can work as well.
When rolling out the cookies, I roll them out thicker than any other recipe I’ve made in the past. A full centimeter at least! This allows the centres of the cookies to stay chewy, while the edges get a golden brown crisp.
Another critical step in the process is chilling the dough. This lets the butter harden again, so the cookies don’t spread when they bake. This is important for two reasons: 1 – the cookies will hold their shape; 2 – the cookies will stay thick and chewy.
These cookies are legit delicious enough to eat plain! But if you do want to decorate, there are two easy ways to do so. First is the method I used all growing up: “easy icing”. This just involves mixing icing sugar and milk to form a paste, and spreading it on the cookies. Easy peasy!
Alternatively, you can make royal icing. There are plenty of recipes available to make this from scratch… But I do not have one. I use eggless royal icing mix that I get from Bulk Barn (see photo of package below). All you have to do is add water, and whisk! This is my preferred way to decorate, as it is much easier to pipe designs.
Whichever icing you choose to use, the cookies can be eaten right away; but if you want to package them up, let them dry out for at least 2-3 hours before putting in an air-tight container.
- ¾ cup butter softened (170g)
- ¾ cup sugar (150g)
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste I use Nielsen Massey
- 1 egg
- 2¼ cup flour plus extra, for rolling out dough (313g)
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp milk or milk alternative
Easy Icing (Option 1)
- 2-3 cups icing sugar
- 3-5 tbsp milk or milk alternative
Royal Icing (Option 2)
- 1 bag Royal Icing Mix
- 80-100 mL water
- Cream butter and sugar together in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for 3 minutes, until white and fluffy. This can also be done with a hand mixer.
- Add egg and vanilla bean paste, mixing until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
- Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix slowly (so the flour doesn't puff up) until just combined. Do not overmix!
- Sprinkle countertop with flour. Gather the dough into a ball and place on the counter. Lightly sprinkle the top of the dough ball with flour.
- Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to be 1cm thick (about the same as the width of your pinky).
- Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter, and place onto parchment or silicone lined baking sheets. Don't worry about how far apart they are – we are not baking yet!
- Gather remaining dough scraps into a ball, adding in 1 tablespoon of milk. Knead by hand on the countertop until combined, then roll out and repeat!
- Once all of the dough is used up, cover cookie sheets with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour (or up to 2 days if fully sealed).
- Preheat oven to 350°. Re-arrange cookies on the cookie sheets so they are a few centimeters apart. Bake for 13-15 minutes. The cookies are done when the edges are golden.
- Allow cookies to cool completely before decorating.
Easy Icing (Option 1)
- Whisk icing sugar and milk together to create a paste. Consistency is up to you! Add more icing sugar for a thicker icing, and more milk for a runnier icing. Add food colourings and brush on cookies with a pastry brush. Top with sprinkles if desired. Let cookies sit out for 2 hours to allow icing to dry before packing in air-tight containers.
Royal Icing (Option 2)
- Add bag of royal icing mix to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or to a bowl if using a hand mixer. The package recommends adding 56mL of water, but I find this is far too thick. Start with 80mL, mixing until combined. Check the consistency by pulling the whisk out of the bowl and watching the icing that runs off of it – it should form a line on top of the icing in the bowl, but disappear within a few seconds. Add more water and mix as required.
- Add food colourings and pipe onto cookies from a piping bag. Top with sprinkles if desired. Let cookies sit out for 2 hours to allow icing to dry before packing in air-tight containers.