I have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to share my absolute favorite sugar cookie recipe with you all. I had planned to make these over the holidays but didn’t end up doing most of my baking until after Christmas (but before family gatherings). This recipe has been my go-to sugar cookie recipe for as long as I can remember, and I really do not branch out after a gem like this has been found. In my opinion, they are the perfect texture, softness, and color that sugar cookies should be. It is safe to say that true love has been found in this recipe.
They are firm enough to be able to hold and decorate, but soft enough where you’re not getting a crumbly cookie. I do not like crumbly cookies. For me, the softer – the better. The hint of almond extract is also what makes these cookies to die for. I swear every time I open up almond extract, I want to drink it by the bottle. It. Smells. So. Good.
The trick with these cookies is to not over bake them. A mere minute can be the difference between a soft cookie and a crunchy cookie. I was going to say that this is a life or death situation, but I don’t need to get all dramatic when I’m talking about sugar cookies, now do I? Just be sure to keep a close eye on them between minutes 8 – 10 of baking. Once you see a very light golden brown color around the edges, take them out and let them continue to bake on the hot cookie sheet. They may almost appear to still be a bit doughy, which is okay. It took me a while to be able to eye-ball the doneness of these cookies, so don’t get discouraged if you over bake a tray. They will still taste good, they will just be crunchier.
One of the best parts about this recipe is that the cookies bake flat, so they are easy to decorate and smother in sprinkles. Because we all know that me + sprinkles = true love.
As for decorating, when I’m going all out to roll out the dough & decorate these cookies, I usually cheat on the frosting and use a tub of pre-made vanilla frosting. I have tried to make my own, but honestly, I prefer the taste of the store-bought frosting with this particular recipe. It holds up and doesn’t smear when I pack them up to travel.
I cannot tell you how many times people have told me to sell these bad boys. I made them for a friend’s graduation party in high school, and ever since then, I get requests to make them anytime I see old friends. So when it comes to my favorite sugar cookies, it’s safe to say that these are a match made in heaven.
Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies
A fun & easy classic to Valentine's Day cookies.
- 1 cup softened butter
- 1½ c. powdered sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- ½ tsp. almond extract
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
Cream the butter and powdered sugar together with an electric mixer. Once mixed, add the egg, vanilla, almond extract, and baking soda. Once incorporated, add the flour in one cup portions. When the flour disappears, transfer the dough onto a floured surface. Knead the dough until it forms a solid ball. Cover and refrigerate dough for 1-2 hours. (For more intricate cut out shapes, I highly recommend this refrigeration step. For regular circle cookies, refrigerating is not as important, but will result in a cookie that does not spread as much.)
Next, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to a ½ inch thickness. The thinner you go, the faster they will bake & the crispier they will be. I like them to be thick and soft, so I keep them around 1/2 inch thick and use a 2.5-inch circle cookie cutter or wine glass rim to cut them out.
As you are cutting them out, transfer them to a parchment paper covered cookie sheet, leaving about 2 inches between them (to allow them to spread).
Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are very lightly browned. Do not worry if they look underbaked, as they will continue to bake on the hot cookie sheet after it comes out of the oven.
Cool and frost with canned vanilla frosting or a homemade icing of your choice. Have fun with colors & decorations to make these match any occasion.