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Frosted Sugar Cookies Recipe

Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" and "Taste of Home". She belongs to Cook's Recipe Testers for "Cook's Illustrated".

Frosted Sugar Cookies

Frosted Sugar Cookies

Soft Sugar Cookies and Frosting Recipe

As a child, shopping for school clothes bored me to tears. My mother's only recourse was bribery: the promise of a frosted sugar cookie from Mrs. Fields' cookie factory would always get me up and out the door.

Sugar cookies are one of my favorites, because they contain only a few ingredients that you probably keep in the pantry. You can easily whip up a batch in a few minutes, and they are so much more delicious than the store-bought variety. But plain ones can be boring without a little embellishment.

Buttercream frosting turns ordinary sugar cookies into something special. Stay around until the end of the article for easy techniques you can use to decorate cookies for any occasion. This basic sugar cookie dough is so versatile that it can be tweaked with a variety of ingredients for special tea cookies.

Keep cookie dough on hand for last-minute emergencies by double wrapping dough logs and freezing them for up to six weeks. Or store cookie dough in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Now let's make these delicious treats!

Tips

  • Choose real butter for best flavor.
  • Baking powder produces soft, cake-like cookies; choose baking soda for chewier texture.
  • Always use Rumsford brand baking powder, or another aluminum-free product, to avoid metallic-tasting cookies.
  • Cookie dough will keep for two weeks in the refrigerator. Wrap it well.
  • Freeze cookie dough for up to six weeks. Wrap in plastic and store in a Ziplock freezer bag so it doesn't absorb odors. Write cookie type and date frozen on the outside.
  • To thaw cookie dough: leave in refrigerator several hours.
  • Baked, unfrosted cookies can be frozen for up to four weeks.

Frosted Sugar Cookies

Frosted Sugar Cookies

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

15 min

10 min

25 min

32 cookies (3-inch)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 2 small eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Instructions

  1. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Using a spatula, mix with butter and egg mixture just until combined.
  3. To bake cookies: If using baking soda dough, form into 1-inch balls and roll in granulated sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. If using baking soda dough: chill dough, roll it out 1/4-inch thick and cut into rounds with a cookie cutter or drinking glass, or press balls of dough into flat, 1/4-inch thick disks. Place them on a cookie sheet.
  4. Bake at 375°F for 10–12 minutes, or until edges are beginning to turn golden. Remove cookies from oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Use a spatula to remove them to a cooling rack or the kitchen counter.
  5. Cool cookies completely before frosting. See below for buttercream frosting recipe.
  6. To store cookie dough: form dough into 2 logs and keep in the refrigerator until ready for use, up to 2 weeks.
  7. Cookie dough can also be frozen for up to 6 weeks.
  8. Serve sugar cookies with hot coffee, black tea or a tall glass of cold milk. Enjoy!

Delicious Variations

  • Roll cookie dough balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture before baking for snickerdoodles.
  • Drizzle melted dark chocolate over frosted sugar cookies.
  • Sprinkle frosted cookies with colored sugar.
  • "Paint" frosted cookies to suit the occasion.
  • For tea cookies, add to cookie dough: 1 tablespoon of orange zest, 1/2 cup slivered almonds and 1/2 cup Craisins (dried cranberries). Serve unfrosted.

Buttercream Frosting

Here's how to make some delicious buttercream frosting for your sugar cookies.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened or vegetable shortening (Crisco)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 4–4 1/2 cups powdered (confectioner's) sugar

Instructions

  1. Place butter and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Using a hand or stand mixer, whip until fluffy.
  3. Gradually add powdered sugar and whip several minutes, until light, fluffy and of spreading consistency.

Color frosting with a few drops of food coloring or wild berry sauce.

How to Decorate Cookies

Sprinkle colored sugar over buttercream frosting. You can also experiment with brightly colored candies or anything that strikes your fancy.

What Are Sugar Sheets?

Sugar sheets bridge the gap between cake decorating and scrapbooking. They can be used to personalize frosted sugar cookies for special occasions or just for fun.

Available in a variety of bright colors or elegant designs, they are edible and can be cut into any design you can imagine with a pair of scissors, X-Acto knife or a stamp. Lay the shapes atop frosted sugar cookies or cupcakes for professional results.

Questions & Answers

Question: What type of frosting can I make with white granulated sugar?

Answer: Epicurious has a very good recipe for French buttercream that uses granulated sugar.

Comments

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on November 10, 2014:

I agree, FlourishAnyway! They're best with frosting.

FlourishAnyway from USA on November 10, 2014:

With Christmas just around the corner, I can't wait for these! I don't eat them plain, but frost them and I'm all there!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 28, 2014:

VVanNess, thanks for coming by!

Victoria Van Ness from Fountain, CO on February 27, 2014:

Delicious! This is just a tad bit different than my sugar cookies. I'll have to give your recipe, and especially your buttercream frosting with wild berry sauce, a shot! Thank you!!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on December 05, 2013:

Deborah-Diane, sugar cookies are very popular this time of year. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

Deborah-Diane from Orange County, California on December 05, 2013:

I love frosted sugar cookies. I'm sharing this with my followers because this time of year many people have cookie exchanges or they give cookies to their friends and neighbors. Great info!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on December 05, 2013:

ThelmaAlberts, I think good quality butter really makes a difference in these delicately flavored cookies.

Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on December 04, 2013:

Yummy! I love baking cookies especially during Christmas time. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on November 19, 2013:

CraftytotheCore, I really appreciate that tip about Land O Lakes butter. I'll give it a go next time I make sugar cookies. Thank you!

CraftytotheCore on November 19, 2013:

I love frosted sugar cookies. I have tried all kinds of butter, and the brand I like best is Land O Lakes. But it's really expensive. So most of the time I use Blue Bonnet. They look delicious. I can smell them through the screen.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on July 05, 2013:

FlourishAnyway, frosted sugar cookies are one of my favorites. : ) I'm glad you approve! Thanks for the votes and comment.

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 05, 2013:

Oh, yum! Plain sugar cookies are not my thing, but put frosting on them and now you're talking! Thanks for the inspiration. Now I am hungry for these. Voted up and more.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 16, 2013:

NicoleS, thanks for coming by!

Nicole S Hanson from Minnesota on May 16, 2013:

Num this is wonderful! You can't go wrong with cookies :)

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on May 05, 2013:

Moonlake, thanks for the pin! These are such simple yet delicious cookies. I appreciate your support.

moonlake from America on May 04, 2013:

I came back to look at your cookie recipe and pin it to my cookie board.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on April 22, 2013:

PeggyW, thanks for the pin! Yes, the variation is delicious and one of my friends always asks for it when she comes over.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 22, 2013:

I like your tea cookie variation the best and now that I have joined Pinterest, will pin it into my Like Cookies? board.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 26, 2013:

ExpectGreatThings, I'm glad you're going to make the sugar cookies! They're great for kids and adults alike, and you can decorate them so that they're even more kid-friendly. Thanks for your kind words!

ExpectGreatThings from Illinois on March 26, 2013:

You have the best recipes. Can't wait to try this one. Hopefully tomorrow :)

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 26, 2013:

Thanks shanmarie!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 26, 2013:

Blond logic, I'm really glad I could solve your cookie dilemma. Enjoy the frosted cookies and thanks for coming by!

Shannon Henry from Texas on March 26, 2013:

What else can I say, but mmmmmmm? LOL Thanks for sharing!

Mary Wickison from Brazil on March 26, 2013:

Wow. You have answered questions I wasn't even asking. I always could taste something metallic in my muffins. I assumed I didn't blend the baking powder in well. Now I know this isn't the case, it is the aluminium ! I also didn't realize the different results for baking powder and baking soda.

Recently my cookies, which I love, have begun to even bore me! I will now try to jazz them up with frosting. Loads of good ideas and hints. Thank you.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 26, 2013:

Sgbrown, I'm glad you're going to try these cookies this weekend. They're so easy and children love them. Pastel frosting and jelly beans sounds beautiful! Enjoy and thank you for the votes and share!

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on March 26, 2013:

Just in time for Easter! I really like this simple recipe. The sugar sheets are something I have never heard of butI am going to try to find some this week. If I can't find them, some pastel colored frosting and jelly beans sounds like a good idea. These will be great for my grandchildren for an Easter treat! Voted up, useful and sharing! :)

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 15, 2013:

beingwell, this is the quickest and easiest cookie recipe I know. You can whip up the frosting in a flash and you can play with different decorating options. I hope you try it someday! Thanks for all your support.

beingwell from Bangkok on March 14, 2013:

Voted up, vespawoolf! You're an artist, you know that! Those cookie dough photos are just lovely. I hope I can bake someday. It's one of my frustrations in life. hihihi...

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 05, 2013:

GlimmerTwinFan, Thanks for the pin and comment. I often get requests for these cookies which is fine with me--they're so quick and easy to make!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 03, 2013:

tammyswallow, I'm happy to know someone else who enjoys sugar cookies year 'round! Thanks for coming by.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 03, 2013:

Alocsin, these are rich cookies so you only need to eat one or two to avoid a sugar overdose. : ) The great thing about these cookies is that they're quick and easy to make. Enjoy and thanks for your votes!

Tammy from North Carolina on March 03, 2013:

This looks wonderful. I love sugar cookies any time of the year. I love the idea of dried fruit in them. Fabulous hub!

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on March 03, 2013:

I've had sugar cookies before but never though to put frosting on the top, maybe because it's a sugar overdoes ;) But I love sweets so will forward this recipe to the family cook. Voting this Up and Useful.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 03, 2013:

I just made a batch yesterday and the family raved. This is a nice go-to recipe because it's so easy and quick. Thanks for your comment.

Tiffany Delite from Wichita, KS on March 03, 2013:

this looks easy enough...and very, very yummy! i love sugar cookies...thanks so much for sharing. blessings!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 02, 2013:

Ktrapp, you're right that homemade cookies are always so much tastier than the bland bakery items in the grocery store. I hope you have a chance to make them sometime during the year. You're right, you don't hae to wait for Christmas to enjoy frosted sugar cookies!

Kristin Trapp from Illinois on March 02, 2013:

Sometimes I see soft sugar cookies, topped with bright pink or yellow frosting, in the bakery section of the local grocery store. Your cookies remind me of those, though I'm sure yours are a thousand times tastier. I only think to make sugar cookies at Christmas time, cut in a variety of shapes and decorated for the season, so it never occurred to me to make them anytime of the year topped with butter cream frosting. Delicious.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 01, 2013:

lindacee, we hope you enjoy the sugar cookie variation as much as we do! Frosting and decorating them is a lot of fun with kids, too, especially when using the sugar sheets. Thanks for your comment!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 01, 2013:

JackieLynnley, this is a great last minute treat and so easy to make. I'm glad you can use the recipe...thanks for coming over!

Linda Chechar from Arizona on March 01, 2013:

I have always loved the simplicity of sugar cookies. However, your additional ingredients and embellishments move them into an entirely different category. Your recipe ideas make sugar cookies worthy of a special occasion. Can't wait to try the orange zest, dried cranberry and almond variation!

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on March 01, 2013:

I will copy and use this for a quick treat for company, it looks really easy and delicious! Love the variations too. Thank you.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 01, 2013:

RajanJolly, frosted cookies are so delicious and easy to make. Thank you for your visit!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 01, 2013:

PeggyW, I made the sugar cookies with craisins, orange zest and almonds for some out-of-town guests last week and they couldn't get enough of them. My husband is partial to the frosted cookies, though. Either way they're yummy! Thanks for the votes.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 01, 2013:

francisassissi, frosting is also one of my favorites. These give you a taste of frosting without all the effort of making cakes or cupcakes. The cookies are so fast and easy. Thanks for coming by and I hope you have a chance to try them.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 01, 2013:

Moonlake, I have to admit that I'm partial to chocolate chip cookies but it's hard to beat a frosted sugar cookie-- most everyone likes them. Thanks for the comment and vote!

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 01, 2013:

I love cookies with frosting. Thanks for sharing this. Voted up and useful.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 28, 2013:

While I have never frosted sugar cookies, I really liked your variation ideas. Just may have to give them a try! Up and useful votes.

moonlake from America on February 28, 2013:

They sound great to me. I love sugar cookies and will take them anytime. Now chocolate chip cookies I hardly ever eat. Voted up.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 28, 2013:

Unknown spy, it's such an easy recipe and you'll have plenty of cookies to share or cookie dough you can store for later. Enjoy and thanks for your comment!

Life Under Construction from Neverland on February 28, 2013:

wow wow wow, i love this recipe. it looks so good!! its 11 am here and i already wanted a frosted sugar cookie for dessert later.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 28, 2013:

tipoague, please let me know if you have a chance to try the cookies. They're so quick, easy and satisfying. It's one of my favorite go-to recipes. Thanks for coming by!

Tammy from USA on February 28, 2013:

Yum! I haven't done any baking in awhile. After reading this, I may have to do some tonight. I will be sure and try out your recipe.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 28, 2013:

Om Parampoonya, the sugar sheets are a lot of fun. I felt like I was back in Kindergarten, making a craft for my mom. : )

Om Paramapoonya on February 28, 2013:

Thanks for your lovely recipe and useful tips. I've never used sugar sheets to decorate my cookies, but they surely sound like fun! Thanks for mentioning them. :)

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 28, 2013:

Randomcreative, I love storing cookie dough in the freezer as I often give cookies as gifts, etc. It's so convenient. I'm sure you'd enjoy decorating them with the sugar sheets since you're so creative, too!

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on February 28, 2013:

Mrs. Fields, yes! Your sugar cookies are so beautiful. I love the idea of freezing cookie dough and would love to get better about doing that.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 28, 2013:

Mary, I'm sure you're a great baker! This recipe isn't for the roll-out type of sugar cookie, as this dough spreads when baked. It bakes up well either straight from the mixing bowl or cold from the fridge. I love these soft sugar cookies with chewy texture, and the frosting makes them extra nice. Yes, the sugar sheets are a nice way to decorate them. Thanks for your comment!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 28, 2013:

Yes, we have a silpat (silicone sheet) and use it all the time. I find it especially useful since our gas oven is harder to regulate than an electric one and tends to burn cookies more easily. Great stuff, lemonkerdz!

Mary Hyatt from Florida on February 28, 2013:

I just learned about "sugar sheets". I consider myself a good baker, too. I do differ with most bakers about putting cookie dough in the refrig. before rolling them out. I like my dough on the soft side. I find it rolls out better and I put the dough between waxed paper to roll.

I do like your recipe, though. Good ideas here.

Voted UP.

lemonkerdz from LIMA, PERU on February 28, 2013:

These sheets really are the business and seem to stop the bottom of your cookies from burning as well. The great thing is you can scrunch the sheet in your hand straight from the oven it doesn´t get hot.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 28, 2013:

Lemonkerdz, thanks for the mention of silicone sheets. What a great tool, and I hadn't thought of using them to avoid contact with the metal. Thanks!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 28, 2013:

Carol, I like that sugar cookies are so fast and easy. The frosting makes it special! Thank you for all your support.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 28, 2013:

Suzie HQ, chocolate chip is probably my favorite but frosted sugar cookies are a close second. A creative person like you would enjoy the sugar sheets. They're fun to use and your guests will be impressed! Thanks so much all the comment, vote, pin, share.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 28, 2013:

Thanks DDE. Even if you're not a baker, sugar cookies are super easy and quick to make. I appreciate your comment!

lemonkerdz from LIMA, PERU on February 28, 2013:

Wow that looks like a real sugar rush cookie. I like your tips for freshness but especially avoiding the aluminium, that's why i use silicone sheets to line the baking sheet to avoid contact with metal.

carol stanley from Arizona on February 28, 2013:

I almost took a bite out of the page here. Great and sweet recipe..Easy too. Thanks for this. I am going to vote up and pin.

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on February 28, 2013:

Hi vespa,

What a cool idea to add frosting. The Sugar sheets was really interesting as I was not familiar with them! I love cookies particularly choc chip but eat them all so this recipe is right on point for me!! Thanks vespa, another great one from your collection of delicious recipes!! votes, shared and pinned!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 28, 2013:

Wow! Incredible photos and looks so tasty, makes me want to get into baking right away, thanks for sharing such a lovely idea for a perfect treat.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 27, 2013:

Billybuc, you made me laugh! I know what you mean--my husband turned up his nose at a plain sugar cookie just today, so I had to whip up a quick batch of frosting. It really does make all the difference in the world. Thanks for coming by--have a great day!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 27, 2013:

Okay, here is an insight into my personality and character. I do not like plain sugar cookies, but put frosting on them and I'll devour the plate. I wonder what that says about me? LOL

I'll be trying this recipe my friend.