Easy Cut Out Sugar Cookies with Buttercream Frosting

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Would it be Christmas time without the addition of frosted sugar cookies? While there is an endless assortment of holiday cookies to bake, sugar cookies are always on my list. I finally found the perfect recipe for cut out sugar cookies that doesn’t require hours of chilling and results in cookies that keep their shape!

Even though this year isn’t really feeling Christmas, I’ll still take the excuse to do some holiday baking. These were especially fun to decorate, I kept it fairly simply and stuck to just two different designs. I decided to stick with buttercream frosting and not get into royal icing – there’s always next time for that. In the past when I have decorated sugar cookies I have spreads or drizzled the frosting, but piping it may be my new favorite.

Plus, can I admit that choosing to do only two colors is much easier than making an array of different colors. I recently made Snickerdoodle Sandwich Cookies with Whipped White Chocolate & Cinnamon Ganache and I loved the piping on those so much I decided to continue it! Do you prefer glaze or frosting on your sugar cookies?

Need More Holiday Baking Ideas? Try these!

Peppermint Bark Cookies

Snickerdoodle Sandwich Cookies with Whipped White Chocolate & Cinnamon Ganache

Pomegranate & Mandarin Scones

Easy Pumpkin Spice Biscotti

Grape & White Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Spiced Apple Cider Donut Muffins

Italian Lemon Cookies

Chewy Ginger Cookies

Why add cream of tartar to my sugar cookie dough?

You may find cream of tartar to be an odd addition, but it is becoming much more common in baked goods. Similar to making snickerdoodle cookies, the addition of cream of tartar stops the sugar from crystalizing, resulting in a softer, chewier texture. Cream of tartar also helps the cookies rise, when paired with baking soda or baking powder the result is a light, airy cookie!

For the Sugar Cookies:

In a small mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Stir to combine.

In a large mixing bowl of the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy and smooth. About 3-4 minutes. Add in the vanilla, almond, and eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the sides.

Add in the dry ingredients and mix on low until combined. The dough should be tacky but not too sticky, if it is too sticky add a tablespoon or two of flour.

Transfer the dough onto a flour surface and gather into a ball, slightly flatten with a rolling pin and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours, the longer the better. This dough can chill overnight if desired.

After the dough has chilled for at least 1 hour remove from the fridge and allow to set at room temperature for 10-15 minutes to soften slightly. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper, set aside. Transfer the dough once again to a floured surface and roll out to about 1/4″ thick. It may help to work the dough in batches.

Make sure the dough and your work surface stay well floured so the cookies don’t stick. Use cookies cutter to cut the dough into desired shapes. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets, and bake for 12-14 minutes until slightly golden brown the cookies will still be slightly soft. Allow to cool for 3-5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining dough. Once all of the cookies are baked, allow to cool completely on a cooling rack before frosting.

For the Frosting:

In the bowl of a stand mixer or if using a hand mixer, a large mixing bowl, cream the softened butter until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the vanilla extract and heavy cream, mix to combine.

With the mixer on low add in 1/2 a cup of powdered sugar at a time, mixing until combined each time. Scrape down the sides occasionally. Continue to add powdered sugar until you have reached a desired consistency, you may not need all 4 cups.

If your frosting is too thick, add more creamy, if it is too thin, add more powdered sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time. If desired, use food coloring to achieve a color of choice.

Transfer the icing into a piping bag fitted with a tip or you can spread the frosting on the cookies. Decorate with sprinkles of choice and enjoy! These will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days, but are best enjoyed same day.

The Best Sugar Cookies with Buttercream Frosting

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Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Cost: $
Servings: 2 Dozen

Equipment

  • Rolling Pin
  • Cookie Cutters

Ingredients

For the Sugar Cookies:

  • 2 1/2 cups All-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 3/4 cups Sugar
  • 2 Eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tsp Almond Extract

For the Frosting:

  • 1 1/2 sticks Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tbsp Heavy cream or Milk
  • 3-4 cups Powdered Sugar, depending on consistency
  • Food Coloring, optional
  • Sprinkles, optional

Instructions

For the Sugar Cookies:

  • In a small mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Stir to combine.
  • In a large mixing bowl of the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy and smooth. About 3-4 minutes. Add in the vanilla, almond, and eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the sides.
  • Add in the dry ingredients and mix on low until combined. The dough should be tacky but not too sticky, if it is too sticky add a tablespoon or two of flour.
  • Transfer the dough onto a flour surface and gather into a ball, slightly flatten with a rolling pin and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours, the longer the better. This dough can chill overnight if desired.
  • After the dough has chilled for at least 1 hour remove from the fridge and allow to set at room temperature for 10-15 minutes to soften slightly. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper, set aside. Transfer the dough once again to a floured surface and roll out to about 1/4" thick. It may help to work the dough in batches.
  • Make sure the dough and your work surface stay well floured so the cookies don't stick. Use cookies cutter to cut the dough into desired shapes. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets, and bake for 12-14 minutes until slightly golden brown the cookies will still be slightly soft. Allow to cool for 3-5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining dough. Once all of the cookies are baked, allow to cool completely on a cooling rack before frosting.

For the Frosting:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or if using a hand mixer, a large mixing bowl, cream the softened butter until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the vanilla extract and heavy cream, mix to combine.
  • With the mixer on low add in 1/2 a cup of powdered sugar at a time, mixing until combined each time. Scrape down the sides occasionally. Continue to add powdered sugar until you have reached a desired consistency, you may not need all 4 cups.
  • If your frosting is too thick, add more creamy, if it is too thin, add more powdered sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time. If desired, use food coloring to achieve a color of choice.
  • Transfer the icing into a piping bag fitted with a tip or you can spread the frosting on the cookies. Decorate with sprinkles of choice and enjoy! These will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days, but are best enjoyed same day.

Did you make this recipe?

I would love to see! Take a photo and tag @theheartylife on Instagram and hashtag #theheartylife!

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