Sugar cookies are a buttery cookie classic and perfect for the holidays. These buttery little gems are the ultimate for making cutout cookies in all kinds of shapes. They make the ideal holiday cookie when festively decorated with icing.
Get out your measuring cups, mixing bowls, cookie cutters, and baking trays and get started on your own batch of holiday treats.
This snowflake is prettier than a gingerbread house or gingerbread man and the sanding sugar atop piped royal icing gives it an icy sheen.
Christmas Sugar Cookies
adapted from Martha Stewart
- 1 1/3 cups blanched almond flour
- 2/3 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 stick buttery spread or 1/2 cup (or butter)
- 1 cup organic sugar cane
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 325° degrees. Line cookie sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
Sift flours and baking powder into a bowl.
In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy about 3 minutes (or mix by hand). Beat in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Gradually mix in flour mixture.
Turn out dough, and divide in half. Flatten each half into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
Let one disk of dough stand at room temperature just until soft enough to roll, about 10 minutes. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to just under 1/4-inch thick, adding more flour as needed to keep dough from sticking. Chill in refrigerator until firm, about 30 minutes. Cut out cookies using desired cutters. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets as you work. Repeat with remaining disk of dough.
Chill cookies in freezer until very firm, about 15 minutes.
Bake cookies, until edges turn golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Decorate with Royal Icing.
- 1 pounds confectioners’ sugar, plus more if needed
- 1/3 cup water, plus more if needed
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons meringue powder (Ateco)
- Gel-paste food coloring
Mix sugar, water, and meringue powder with a mixer on low speed until smooth, about 7 minutes. Icing should be the consistency of glue. (If icing is too thick, mix in a little more water. If icing is too thin, add more confectioners’ sugar.) Add food coloring, 1 drop at a time, until desired color is achieved; if making more than 1 color, divide icing and work in batches. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 1 week. Stir before using.
Tips for Decorating Cookies
Keep sanding sugar (a large-grain decorating sugar) in a variety of colors on hand. Place the unbaked cookie on a sheet of parchment paper, and sprinkle the sugar on top. Tip the cookie upside down to remove excess sugar.
Try coating your cookies with royal icing in a variety of colors. Use a #1 or #2 Ateco pastry tip fitted in a pastry bag. Once the cookies are baked and cooled. carefully pipe a border of royal icing. Then “flood” the outline using a thinner blend of royal icing to coat the cookies. Use a toothpick or skewer to help push icing into place. Allow the icing to dry completely, up to one day.
Dragging is the process of adding a second color through flooded icing. Use a toothpick to pull the icing, pull in alternate directions for a marbleized look.
Keep filled pastry bags upright in a glass lined with a damp paper towel or use squeeze bottles.
To create raised designs, pipe icing on top of dried flooded areas. Pipe icing onto the cookies, and sprinkle with sanding sugar for a sparkling effect called sugaring. Tip the cookie to remove excess sugar.