Decorated Sugar Cookies
These soft and thick decorated sugar cookies have the perfect sugar cookie flavor and texture, and are so easy to make!
Okay, raise of hands, who decorated their house for Christmas over the weekend? We decked the halls on Saturday as a family, and had a fantastic time. This year I decided to do a donut theme for our Christmas theme, and I hand sewed a bunch of felt donut ornaments to adorn the tree. It’s silly and adorable and sweet, all at the same time. 🙂 I made homemade hot chocolate and we cranked up the Christmas tunes, and it was about as perfect an afternoon as it could be!
When it comes to Christmas traditions, decorating cookies as a family is one of our favorites. My kids look forward to it every year, and even though I curse the idea of decorating cookies when I’m picking sprinkles out of the floorboards the next day, the joy on my kids’ faces makes it totally worth it. I’m not anywhere close to a professional cookie decorator, and I stick with buttercream frosting instead of the fancier royal icing, but I’m still able to produce adorable cookies. We like to take them around to share with friends and family (and sometimes I can convince my family to sing carols as well). It’s a fun way to celebrate the season!
We’ve done this every year since my oldest was a toddler, and I’ve figured out a few ways to make things easier over time. First (and I can’t believe it took me two years to think of this), give the kids rimmed plates (like the Ikea kids’ plates) to decorate their cookies on. That way, there are far fewer sprinkles rolling all over the table (and eventually getting stuck in my creaky old floorboards).
Second, put the sprinkles into a mini muffin tin to make them easier for little fingers to pinch. I can’t tell you the number of times my kids have dumped an entire bottle of sprinkles all over the table because it poured faster than they were expecting. This way they’re all easy and accessible. Putting them back into the sprinkle containers is a bit of a pain, but I just make a quick funnel out of a piece of paper, and use a spoon to scoop the sprinkles into it. It’s a little tedious but only takes a few minutes.
Third, let the kids get creative. My youngest absolutely has to put candy googly eyes on every cookie she ever makes. Usually her cookies are just a mound of frosting, packed with every kind of sprinkle, and topped with at least ten googly eyes. It used to drive me a little crazy, and then I realized that decorating the cookies that way truly brings her joy, so I decided to just let her be. My ten year old is super creative, and surprises me with all of her fun cookie decorating ideas. It’s hard for me, being the control freak that I am, to just let them decorate the way they want, but we get some pretty amazing results!
As far my own cookie ideas, I’m never very original, but they always turn out cute nonetheless.
The recipe I’m sharing below is actually the first cookie recipe I ever learned to bake, back when I was ten or so. It’s the one I have used for years and years, and I love it! It’s one of those never-fail recipes, and the cookies always come out great. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I do!
Decorated Sugar CookiesPrint Recipe
for the cookies:
- 12 tablespoons butter softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons butter softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1-2 tablespoons half and half
- food coloring
- sprinkles and candies as desired
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and almond extract, and beat until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix to combine. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate one hour. Toward the end of the chill time, preheat the oven to 400. After the dough has chilled, roll it out on a flour-dusted surface to 1/4 inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters and place on a parchment lined or greased baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until the cookies are just slightly golden around the bottom. Remove to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
- To make the frosting, beat together the butter and powdered sugar. Add the almond extract, and enough half and half to make the frosting come together. Beat the frosting on high for 3-4 minutes, until light and fluffy. Separate into bowls and add food coloring to make different frosting colors. Decorate as desired.