Sugar cookies are one of the simplest cookies out there, but just because they’re simple doesn’t mean they’re easy to get right! If you have had cookies fail on you before, becoming too doughy, too sweet, too dry, or too crumbly, you need this recipe for the perfect sugar cookies! We make these rolled sugar cookies any time of the year, but they’re especially fun at Christmas or Valentine’s Day in this heart shape.
This recipe is perfectly balanced, not too sweet, and oh so buttery! The vanilla really comes through but doesn’t over-power the delicate flavor. They are great on their own or with icing or jam.
How to Make the PERFECT Rolled Sugar Cookie
You will need:
- 3 Cups flour (sifted and spooned into the measuring cup. DO NOT PACK.)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 Cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) at room temperature
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (I use all natural)
If you are like me and don’t want to wait for your egg and butter to come up to room temperature, you can fudge it a little by chopping the butter into small pieces. Don’t microwave it though, you don’t want it too soft.
In your mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy.
While that’s running, whisk up your flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. I always whisk my dry ingredients because it helps to aerate the flour and keep it light.
*Little trick: if your flour is in an air tight container, turn it upside down a few times before measuring the flour so you fluff it up a bit! Just don’t let the lid come off and end up looking like it snowed in your kitchen! Yikes!
After the butter and sugar are creamed, mix in the egg and vanilla.
Slowly add the flour mixture. You may want to switch to the dough hook for this part.
As soon as the dough is evenly mixed, pick it up and move it to a *lightly* floured cutting board or clean countertop.
Knead the dough by hand until it comes together. It may be a bit crumbly, but as you work it, it should start to form a ball.
Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 20 minutes. You want that butter to firm back up.
How to Roll Out Sugar Cookie Dough
Roll out the dough with a sheet of parchment paper underneath and waxed paper on top. The waxed paper keeps the dough from wrinkling and the parchment keeps it from sticking. It’s also helpful as you can just move the parchment to the baking sheet to avoid stretching or tearing the dough in transition.
For regular cut cookies, you’ll want them about 3/8″ — 1/4″ thick (about like a pencil). For the stacked heart cookies, I roll them quite thin, more like 1/8″.
Gently move them to a parchment or silicone lined baking pan.
Place the pan in the freezer for 2 minutes.
Move straight to the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. They need to bake until they are just set, about 8 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let rest on the baking pan for about 2 minutes until they firm up. Then move to a cooling rack.
Heart-Shaped, Jam-filled Cookies
When we make these for Valentine’s Day or our How the Grinch Stole Christmas Family Movie Night, we make them in heart shapes with strawberry jam filling.
You’ll need a set of graduated heart shaped cutters like these:
You’ll cut big hearts and medium-sized hearts with a tiny heart “window”. The tiny hearts end up being a tasty extra treat, like doughnut holes!
Kids love helping with the cutting out of the cookies. Just be sure they place the cutters in the right spot and make the same number of each size. My 3 year old was able to do this with help.
He also loved putting colored sugar on top! Of course, this is optional, but just do it on the medium hearts if you’re going to.
After the cookies are cooled and firm, you can spread them with strawberry jam and stack them up.
We squish the jam out on the edges for Grinch cookies so you can see how the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes!
Store these in an airtight container for up to 4 days (that’s as long as they’ve ever lasted without being eaten up here!).
- 3 C flour
- 1 C sugar
- 1 C unsalted butter
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 egg
- optional: colored sugar, strawberry jam
- Preheat oven to 350*
- Whisk together flour and baking powder
- Cream butter and sugar in mixer. Add egg and vanilla.
- Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture.
- Finish kneading dough by hand.
- Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- Roll dough out between parchment and waxed paper.
- Cut cookies out and transfer to parchment or silicone lined baking sheet.
- Freeze for 2 minutes.
- Bake for approx 8 minutes, until just set but not browning.
I suppose you could use different flavors of jam for filling…. What would be best, do you think? Oooh, I bet lemon curd would be delicious! Join me on Facebook and let me know how your family likes to cookie!
These cookies are just perfect, hold their shape, and satisfy your craving for buttery, vanilla laden sweeties.
Toddler hands and licking the spoon,