Sugar cookies are easy to make. Cut-out sugar cookies are harder because you don’t want them to spread and need them to maintain their shape. But you also don’t want to eat a cookie that’s hard as a rock.
There are lots of methods that help a cookie keep its shape, like precutting it and then freezing for a certain amount of time. But, I find this to be the best approach. They don’t use any leavening agents (like baking soda or baking powder), they are kept cold from the start and they are baked quickly at a high heat.
Just so you know, they won’t have any color when they come out, which is what you want. They will look raw, but they’re not! This coloring is ideal for buttercream, cream cheese frosting or royal icing. I was baking this with a few of Amelia’s friends today, so I opted for a buttercream frosting for how easy it is to spread and how good it tastes.
Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
For the cookies
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 11 tablespoons (very cold) unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the vanilla buttercream
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons (homemade) vanilla
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and cornstarch and set aside.
- Chop very cold butter into cubes and add to mixing bowl with sugar. Blend until well combined and smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract until smooth. Add in flour mixture and beat until dough is smooth and combined.
- Dump mixture out onto a piece of parchment paper and cover with another sheet of parchment. Use a rolling pin to flatten dough (through the paper) into a flat disk (the parchment paper helps because it’s a sticky dough). Refrigerate 1 hour or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Once dough is ready, line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Remove from refrigerator and continue to roll out dough (between parchment) to about ¼” thickness.
- Remove top layer of paper, dip cookie cutters in flour and cut out shapes. Use a spatula to quickly transfer them to a lined cookie sheet.
- Bake 6-8 minutes or just until set but not golden. Allow to cool 2 minutes on cookie sheets before removing to a cooling rack.
- Make the vanilla buttercream: in medium bowl, mix powdered sugar and butter with spoon or electric mixer on low speed. Stir in vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the milk. Gradually beat in just enough remaining milk to make frosting smooth and spreadable. If frosting is too thick, beat in more milk, a few drops at a time. If frosting becomes too thin, beat in a small amount of powdered sugar. Enjoy!