Easy to make classic cut out sugar cookies that are soft and delicious, iced with an incredible almond glaze, and perfect for the holidays.
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It’s been a tradition in my family to get together on a Saturday in December with my sisters and our children to bake Christmas cookies. We usually make peanut butter blossoms, pizzelles, Greek balls, and sugar cut outs with icing.
The kids, even as they’ve gotten older, love frosting the cut outs. It’s a fun afternoon that puts us all in the holiday spirit. If you are looking for a great recipe for Christmas cut out sugar cookies to begin your own family tradition, this is it.
Christmas Cut Outs as Gifts
The cookies we make on that Saturday afternoon in December get set out at our family holiday party on Christmas Eve. But they make great gifts, too.
I usually always make a few batches of cut outs on my own that I package as Christmas gifts. They make wonderful holiday gifts for co-workers and neighbors, as well as gifts for the gals in your book club or bowling league.
I like to use these cardboard cookie boxes for gift giving. They come in a package of 12 and hold about a dozen cookies each.
How to Make Christmas Cut Out Cookies
Making cookies around the holidays is supposed to be a fun activity, but let’s face it, we don’t all live a Hallmark movie life. The holidays are stressful enough without the added pressure to bake cookies (if you aren’t a natural baker, which I am not!).
Not to fear – this recipe is simple, and it doesn’t take all day. It does, however, require time to chill the dough before rolling it out and time for the cookies to dry.
Cut Out Ingredients:
2¾ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¾ cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp almond extract
Gather all your tools and ingredients before you get started.
In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set it aside for now. In a larger mixing bowl, add the softened butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Beat with a hand mixer until it becomes light and fluffy.
Now grab that bowl with the flour mixture and slowly fold it into the larger bowl, blending with mixer until smooth. I like to pull it out of the bowl and work it with my hands a bit. I’ll put the dough back in the bowl, cover it with a clean dish towel and chill in the refrigerator for about one hour, until the dough is firm.
Once the dough is firm, pre-heat the oven to 375°F. Place some parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Set it aside. Spread some flour out on your work area. Roll a small amount of the cookie dough at a time onto the flour to prevent sticking. Roll the dough out to ⅛ inch thickness. Cut your desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place the shapes on the parchment-lined sheet about two inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Repeat until all the dough has been shaped and baked. Allow the cookies to cool.
Icing Cut Out Cookies
There are a few different ways to frost your cut out cookies. In my recipe, we are going to use a simple glaze for the icing. It’s super quick and easy to work with.
If you want a fancier cookie, or for when you want to give the cookies as gifts, you may want to frost the cut outs with royal icing. My favorite recipe for royal icing comes from Sally at Sally’s Baking Addiction. It’s so good!
For my simple glaze, mix together the confectioner sugar, milk, and almond extract in a small bowl until there are no lumps. Feel free to mix in a drop of food coloring, if desired. You may need to make a few batches of this icing to cover all the cookies.
You can spoon a small amount of icing onto the cookie and spread it about or dip the top side of the cookie lightly into your icing bowl, allowing excess icing to drip back into the bowl. Or, add the icing to a piping bag.
This icing dries fairly quickly, so while the icing is still wet add any sprinkles or nonpareils to decorate as desired.
It does take quite a bit of time for the frosted cookies to dry completely. I leave the cookies spread out across a table until they are thoroughly dried, which usually takes several hours. Once dry, they can be placed in an airtight container and stacked on top of one another without sticking together.
Check out my other holiday favorite recipes!
This simple recipe for cut out sugar cookies with icing is a fun and tasty festive activity to add to your holiday traditions.
Tag @coolbeanliving on Instagram and show me your decorated cut out cookies!
Sugar Cut Out Cookies
- 2¾ cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ¾ cup butter softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp almond extract
- sprinkles optional
- nonperils optional
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In large mixing bowl, add butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Beat with a mixer until it becomes light and fluffy. Slowly fold in flour mixture, blending with mixer until smooth.
- Chill in refrigerator about one hour, until firm.
- Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Place parchment paper on cookie sheet. Set aside.
- Once dough is firm, roll a small amount of dough at a time onto flour to prevent dough from sticking. Roll dough out to ⅛ inch thickness. Cut desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place shapes on parchment-lined tray two inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes. repeat until all dough is shaped and baked.
- Carefully remove cookies from tray and allow to cool.
- When ready to ice, mix confectioners sugar, milk, and almond extract in small bowl until smooth. Dip front of cookie lightly into bowl, allowing excess icing to drip back in bowl. While icing is still wet, add sprinkles or nonpareils to decorate.
- Let cookies completely dry before storing in airtight container.