Start with 1 cup of softened butter. When I’m on my A game (which is basically almost never) I prefer to cut up my butter to let it soften. It just seems to be easier to cream together with the flour.
Beat in 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1 egg, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract & 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. No need to one ingredient at a time, go ahead and just throw them all in and mix. Note: the original recipe says to use almond extract or any extract of your choice but I just cannot imagine this cookie without almond extract, it just wouldn’t be the same. What I’m saying here is apparently I am a creature of habit and hate change and don’t be like me.
Beat ingredients until nice & creamy. That’s some beautiful stuff right there.
Add 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda & 1 teaspoon cream of tartar. This recipe does not require you to sift everything together first. If you are a recipe guru and think this recipe will really benefit from sifting, let me know!
The dough will be crumbly and you may be tempted to question why the heck you started down this road in the first place. I understand these feelings. Just stick with it, keep mixing and it will eventually come together.
At this point the dough needs to be refrigerated. The professional baker would probably pat the dough into a disk and wrap in saran wrap. However, I am most decidedly not a professional baker so I just throw some saran wrap over the bowl and call it a day. It needs to be chilled for at least an hour however it can be refrigerated for days. I kept this dough in my fridge for almost an entire week before baking the cookies.
When you’re (finally) ready to bake the cookies, roll out the dough on a floured surface. A word of warning that the warmer the dough gets, the stickier it will get and the more flour you will need to use. So try to handle the dough a little as possible. Place the cookies on a lightly greased cookie sheet. I used Wilton baking sheets and they work so great. If you’re making a thicker cookie, you’ll need to put a little more space between the cookies because they will puff quite a bit. If you’ve rolled your dough quite thin then they will not puff very much at all.
Bake at 375* for 5-7 minutes. The batch I rolled quite thin (approximately 1/16-1/8 of an inch) was finished baking in just over 5 minutes. The batch I rolled much thicker (1/4 inch) took 7-7.5 minutes. Bake until just set, not golden brown. Unless you’re my mom, then you leave those suckers in there until they’re black. She loves everything overdone. It’s weird. Related: I often wonder if I’m adopted.
To make the frosting add 1/8 cup milk & 1 tablespoon butter in a medium sized bowl. Microwave for 15-20 seconds to warm the milk and start melting the butter. Whisk to melt the rest of the butter.
Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Then start adding powdered sugar little by little, whisking as you go. I use a 1/2 cup measuring cup and keep whisking until I’ve added 1 1/2-2 cups and the frosting is the consistency I want. This time I was going for a thinner frosting much like my mother prefers. If you want a thick frosting then you’ll probably end up with 3 cups of powdered sugar or so.
Divide into smaller bowls and color. The joy that this picture brings me is nearly unspeakable.
This is my attempt to show you the consistency I was going for.
Professional decorator, I am not. Here is a visual representation of the difference between rolling your dough thicker or thinner. The same cookie cutter was used for these cookies, the one on the left is a much thicker cookie so it puffed quite a bit.
Enjoy my friends! It’s a family favorite!
Deluxe Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or extract of preference)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Preheat oven to 375*
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Set aside.
- Cream together butter, powdered sugar, egg, almond extract and vanilla extract. Blend in the sifted flour mixture. Chill the dough for at least 1 hour.
- Roll out onto a floured surface to use cookie cutters or drop by small spoonfuls onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. *You can also drop by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet*
- Bake 5-7 minutes. Frost when cool.
Quick & Easy Frosting
1 tablespoon butter
1/8 cup milk (I used whole)
1 1/2-2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine the butter and milk in a medium sized bowl. Microwave for 15-20 seconds until milk is warm and butter starts to melt. Whisk until butter completely melts. Add vanilla. Slowly whisk in powdered sugar until achieving desired consistency.