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Best Sugar Cookie Recipe For Royal Icing

Updated: Feb 21

Hey, y'all! Welcome to the Sarah Grace Cookie Co. Kitchen!

Today, I'm going to be walking you through my sugar cookie recipe that has worked for years for me! It's a really good sugar cookie recipe that's perfect for those flat cookies we want for decorating. I originally found this recipe on the Preppy Kitchen blog, but I’ve modified it slightly and changed the process a bit just so that it's better for sugar cookie decorators specifically, and I've found a few ways to save myself time over the years.

Now, you may have seen my original sugar cookie recipe blog post that I made when I first started my cookie decorating journey, but I thought it was time for an update! Over the last few years of having my website, Facebook page, and YouTube channel I've had several people ask questions and I wanted to include answers to those questions here.

If you'd like to find the printable PDF version that has links to everything that you may need, click HERE! My sugar cookie and the royal icing recipe is a printable PDF page with links to all the handy gadgets you need to make your own dough that's perfect for decorating as well as measurements for doubling the recipe.

Getting Started:

Click Below to watch the video version of the recipe

So, our recipe starts with my trusty PINK KitchenAid! We've got to have our paddle attachment and I like the ones with a silicone edge on them. I find it helpful when it comes to scraping all that dough up.

A lot of people have told me over the years that they enjoy a Bosch mixer as well. I've never tried Bosch, but I've loved my KitchenAid. I've recently had to have it rebuilt because I have used it so much!

I'm starting with half a pound or two sticks of butter that has been softened. This has been sitting out for a couple of hours at room temperature, just getting nice and soft and ready to go into the mixer.

Now, in my opinion, the key to a nice soft cookie is to cream the butter and sugar together until they're light and fluffy, and airy. When we say cream, butter, and sugar together, that's not just giving them a few whips and calling it good. That is letting this mixer go for a while and waiting until that butter has gone from a yellow color to a more heavy cream top white color.

Next, I'm adding one cup of white granulated sugar.

I'm going to allow those to cream for probably 1 to 2 minutes just so that they get nice and fluffy and incorporated together.

Now, along with the cup of white sugar, I'm adding a quarter cup of dark brown sugar. This gives the cookies a little bit more of a caramel flavor and a little bit more depth. It also helps the batter from tasting like a hunk of sugar and gives it a bit more flavor as well as creating a nice browning in the oven. I don't let mine get very brown when I bake them, I like them just shy of raw, but this still adds a great flavor.

You want it to look beautiful and a fluffy cloud. The butter has aerated through the sugar and you want it to be a light color and fluffy.

Next, into that same stand mixer, I'm adding two grade A extra large eggs. Now, my local hometown grocery store, the Piggly Wiggly, sells these extra large eggs that I found perfect for baking. They just add a little bit more and more moisture to anything that you're baking. But if you can't find an extra large, then just use your large. It will be fine! I just really love the extra large.

I do like to break my eggs into a separate bowls before mixing because I've just always heard that you want to make sure that you don't have a bad one before you ruin all the ingredients that you're working with. So, I'm going to add these one at a time and let them fully incorporate them. I let it go just a little bit longer than some because I want to make sure there are no little strands of yellow and there are no pieces where you can see egg remaining. You want it to be mixed.

I'm going to scrape down the sides of my bowl, then we're going to add our vanilla. I love Watkins vanilla. It's a really good brand of vanilla, but you can use McCormick whatever kind of vanilla you prefer. Some people even like a vanilla bean paste, But keep in mind that a paste is going to have a little bit stronger flavor. So, you might want to use slightly less now when I'm adding vanilla, I measure with my heart. I like it a lot of it. Don't come for me for not being exact! I just give it a good glug and call it a day. I think the recipe calls for a teaspoon, but you go with what you like.

Now that our ingredients are all mixed, it's time to measure out and sift our dry ingredients. Now, I love a little sifter. My mom got one for me, but I've seen them before at Publix and Walmart.

It has a little sifter inside and you turn the crank. I can only get two cups of flour in mine at a time, so I have to do it in batches by measuring my flour, always making sure to give it a little fluff with a butter knife or a fork. That way it's measured accurately because sometimes when it comes from the store in those packages, it can get packed down.

When you're measuring it, you want a nice, fluffy measure. Some people even say to spoon it into the cup, but I ain't got time for that, y'all!

I'm going to level this off with the flat side of my butter knife and we're doing four cups of all-purpose flour. It's very important to use all-purpose flour because self-rising flour contains baking soda and baking powder already, which is very handy when you're making something like a cake or pancakes and you need those ingredients.

But the thing about baking soda and baking powder is soda spreads and powder puffs. When we're making cookies that we don't want to spread in the oven because we want them to be nice and flat, we don't want them to spread or puff. A little bit of baking powder is okay because it'll add some height to your cookies I've used that before and it's not been detrimental to my recipe. The few times that I have in a pinch used self-rising flour, I have regretted it because I had to pretty much scrap the entire batch. So be sure and get all-purpose. My granny Lorraine says White Lily is the best, but you can use any bread you choose.

This is my favorite tip for getting soft, delicious sugar cookies that won't spread in the oven because we've all had a snowman that turned into an unrecognizable blob before, and that is not what we're going for here!

So, I've got a third cup of cornstarch going in with our other dry ingredients. Sift that, together with the flour and the salt. I like to give that a little whisk to make sure that it all comes together nicely. We don't want one cookie that has a big bite of salt or cornstarch in it.

Okay, now the key here is to add your dry ingredients slowly. So you're going to want to add these in batches.

It's okay if it doesn't come together right away. Start with one cup measure at a time. Something that makes this process easier is a cover for your mixer.

Mine broke from overuse.


But you can use a kitchen towel or something to keep all that flour from splashing up onto your face. But if you'd like to use the cover, go ahead and place that now.

We're going to add our dry ingredients, 1 to 2 cups at a time, waiting until they're fully incorporated into the wet ingredients before adding the next addition. When our dough is fully mixed we are almost ready to roll.

By this point, if you are starting to get anxious about your messy kitchen, remember If your kitchen isn't messy, you aren't using it right!

So, now I'm going to get ready to roll the dough. And the way that I get my dough from the bowl to ready to roll is to scrape the sides with a spatula. I add a little flour to my work surface here. You don't need much.

This silicone baking mat is a game changer. It saves me so much time and countertop cleaning, so I'm just going to turn all that dough out and you may have to work with it just a little bit to get all of it out onto the board. But once you do, we're going to shape it into a ball and divide it in half.

Now, if your dough is for some reason crumbly, it may need to mix just a little bit longer. You may need to take your spatula and just rub down the sides of the ball a bit. So that it all comes together. If it still isn't coming together, you may need to add a little bit of milk just to get it fully incorporated.

So you can see here, I've got one large bowl, one large ball, and I'm just going to kind of karate chop that into sections. Now, if I were doing a double batch, I would do four sections, but I just do two pieces about like this and each of these is about a dozen cookies. I'm going to roll this out.

And by the time you reroll and recut and everything, this will make about a dozen three-inch sugar cookies. Now, we're ready to roll, so I'm going to grab some of my cake dowels, you can purchase these at Walmart. Usually, you can get them on Amazon, but these are just small. I think they're quarter-inch to half-inch cake dowels.

But I have also used pencils.

I've used free paint stains from the paint counter.

Whatever you have on hand where you can get two of the same size will allow you to roll the dough evenly by balancing your dough roller on the edge.

So we're going to place this on the other side of the dough and we're going to balance our dough Roller on each of these cake dowels so that we have a nice, even rolling space in between for the day. Now you can buy dough rollers with spacers on them. I've heard lots of people really like those. I have tried them and I wasn't a fan because I wasn't able to go in all the directions I wanted to go against. It would leave track marks on the dough where the little bands had been over the top.

But if that's something that you prefer, you do you when it comes to how you roll.

Just do whatever you prefer, but I find using something that is a uniform size underneath my rolling pin will help me create nice uniform cookies. I think these are about a quarter inch, a quarter to three quarters, or a quarter to a half an inch maybe.

I'm going to take half of my dough and I want to get it started a little bit before adding the parchment. If your dough is sticky, then go ahead and add your parchment first thing. So, I grab a sheet of parchment and then place it on top of the dough and then roll the dough between the parchment.

I get it rolled out enough that I can place my dowels on either side and then I can use the dowels to kind of guide me in how thick we want this to be. Come over to the other side and do the same thing. And then I've got kind of a lump up here that I want to even out, so I'm just going to bring my dowels around, place them this way.

And I'm kind of bracing my roller on this side of the dowel to ensure that even rolls. , okay, that looks great. And to get the dough from the baking mat to the sheet pan, I'm going to just flip my baking mesh a little way and lift the parchment paper. I'm going to add this to the baking paper and another set of parchment on top.

Smooth it down. Now this is ready to go in the freezer just like this. We're going to freeze it in a sheet for about 10 to 15 minutes before we cut our shapes. That way it'll be nice and solid, but you can also leave this in the freezer for a longer length of time. If you're going to leave it for more than a day or two, I recommend wrapping the entire sheet pan with plastic wrap so that you can avoid freezer burn.

And if you are going to leave it in the freezer for more than 15 to 20 minutes, I recommend that you bring it out of the freezer and allow it to thaw for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting your shapes. That way, you're not having such an arm workout when it comes to getting them cut out. Once my dough has been frozen for a little bit, like I said, about 10 to 15 minutes, I'll go ahead and preheat the oven to 375.

I like to have my and then preheat while I cut the cookies. That way it's just ready for me to pop that pan in. This sheet of frozen dough is still easily cut countable. I'm not having to press too hard to get that cutter through. I love these metal cutters for this. It just makes life easy.

But the 3D cutters that are plastic work well as well. Then I just place them on a sheet tray lined with parchment or a reusable baking mat. I love the ones that you can get at Walmart that are like copper baking mats and then I bake them for 7 minutes on 375 and I just pull them out when they're no longer shiny.

If they do have a little bubble in them, take a flat spatula and give them a little pat, pat on top and they'll be ready to go. And you can decorate them with royal icing or buttercream or whatever you choose.

I have some other recipes on my blog and YouTube Channel that kind of embellish this regular vanilla recipe, kind of take it into some different flavor choices, but you can do whatever you feel led to add something in to make it extra yummy and then roll that out.

Any time you're doing an addition to the dough, like adding candy or a chip of any kind, I do recommend either blending that up or cutting it up fine. That's always a good thing to do when you're doing a roll-out of dough that you want to be flat. But you can decorate things with royal icing. I have tons of decorating with royal icing videos.

Y'all know that's what I do!

If you're new here, I do have the cookie classroom program, which is a series of 16 cookie decorating workshops where I walk you through step by step exactly how to do all the royal icing techniques that you need to know to decorate cookies like a pro. It takes you through the basics of cookie decorating and beyond to be able to make your cookie dreams and visions into a reality.

You can join us over in the cookie confidence Facebook group for all the latest updates and sales and info on my cookie decorating classes. And just to be in a community of ladies who are learning together, and growing our cookie decorating and baking businesses together.

We love to share our work and get and give inspiration from each other. So thank you again for joining me here today and if you enjoyed this post, share it with someone who you think might enjoy a sugar cookie recipe. Have a great rest of your day!

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