Favorite Sugar Cookies + Fancy Icing

I hope you all had a great weekend! Ours was festive and delicious, just how I like it this time of year. Not only did I ingest far too many of these sugar cookies, but I topped it off with the most delicious gnocci from Wild Olive on Johns Island before cruising through the holiday festival of lights.

I also attempted royal icing for the first time this weekend, and though I got a little lazy with it at the end, I love how the cookies turned out! Royal icing is that frosting a lot of bakeries use... it hardens after an hour or two so you can stack the cookies easily. More on that later...

One of my favorite cookies this time of year are sugar cookies. The good news is, this recipe makes a lot of sugar cookies and you'll want them all because they are delicious. The bad news is, you end up decorating approximately 4000 of them. And if I'm being real, they just started looking sloppy by the end. But this preggo was not about to miss out on them this year!

Favorite Sugar Cookie Recipe
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsp. milk
2 tsp. vanilla
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Beat butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Then add eggs, milk, and vanilla to mixture. Beat on medium speed until well mixed.

In a separate bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add this to the egg mixture.

Once dough has formed, it will be sticky. Place on a large piece of clear wrap, cover and form a ball, then refrigerate for about 2 hours. You can also refrigerate overnight if you're not making the cookies immediately.

Once you're ready to cut out your cookies, roll half of the dough out to your desired thickness. (I like them to be thick like you would get them from a bakery.) Make sure to use lots of flour to make sure dough does not stick.

Bake on wax paper at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes (until edges are barely starting to brown). Leave on the tray for a minute or two before transferring to a cooling rack (I have this and I love it, total space saver!)

FYI these cookies freeze well. I made them last week and froze them in an airtight container until I had the patience time to start frosting them!

I always like funfetti frosting but if you're willing to give royal icing a try, it makes a less messy cookie in the end and you have a little more control over how you decorate them. And since I am by no means a pro at this, make sure you check out Annies Eats for really great instructions and a picture tutorial!

Royal Icing Recipe
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. meringue powder (find it in the baking section at Michael's)
1/3 cup water
2 tbsp. vanilla

This part is easy, the tricky part is getting the right consistency for piping and then flooding your cookies. Basically just mix all of the above ingredients on slow speed for 8-10 minutes. When its ready for piping, the frosting will form "peaks" when you pull the mixer or a spoon away from it. If its way too sticky to form peaks, just add a tiny bit of water at a time.

Separate the white icing into several different airtight containers and color with gel food coloring.

When ready to pipe, one easy trick is to put a small amount of frosting in clear wrap, twist the ends, and then cut one end to place into a pastry bag. I used a #2 Wilton tip for piping.

Pipe the edge of your cookies with whichever color you plan on using to fill your cookies. Allow to air dry for about an hour.

My white needed thinned with a tiny bit of water because it was a little tough to pipe. Once you're done piping, add small amounts of water gradually until the frosting becomes more like a maple syrup consistency. Then fill with a toothpick.

Make sure to let the icing harden for a couple hours before touching it, then you can stack the cookies in a container until ready to eat or serve.

You can do a marble effect with multiple colors like I did for the snowflakes, or stick to one color, throw some sprinkles on before it hardens, or come back with more detail after the first color has hardened. I was too lazy for that last option!

Royal icing is a little time consuming, but not difficult once you get the hang of it. Lets just say, I'm definitely still a beginner and my cookies were pretty and edible. Win!

And thank you for reading through this giant tutorial. :) Any other sugar cookie lovers out there?!


  1. gorgeous icing!! my mom makes the best sugar cookies... i'm planning on waiting for her to visit before i attempt to bake some :) xo jillian

  2. I am the worst icing decorator - but I never thought to outline the trim, either. What a smart idea!

  3. These are so pretty! Not to mention they look so delicious. I am impressed with your decorating skills!

  4. I just finished baking/decorating mine this weekend and am beyond pleased with them this year! We decided to pipe and fill them this year as well and I couldn't be more pleased! Yours look wonderful!

  5. These look so yummy!! I used to love to bake and then I got into cooking more and now I feel like I never bake! These look so pretty and fairly easy! Maybe Ill give them a whirl :)

  6. I LOVE sugar cookies but am soooo bad at decorating them haha! That Santa with the hat and beard is the cutest!

  7. I'm so impressed by your icing job! Mine never come out this pretty!

  8. Yum! Sugar cookies with icing are my fave! I am impressed with your decorating skills!

  9. Yum! I always stop caring what they look like halfway through decorating. lol. I just want to eat them! These look super cute though and I've always wanted to try out the royal icing technique.

  10. omg these are almost too pretty eat!!! Perfect!! (mail some! haha)

  11. OMG these look amazing! I feel like my icing would not turn out that good but you did a great job! Now I want cookies... LOL!

    <3, Pamela
    Sequins & Sea Breezes

  12. This is the time of year more then any that I crave sugar cookies

  13. I don't have a favorite sugar cookie recipe so I'm pinning this now! I want to make some this weekend and I usually used store bought, but I'm not really a fan.

  14. Thank you so much for sharing! Going to have to try this recipe this weekend. :)

  15. These are too adorable! Absolutely love them!
    xo Southern Style

  16. Ummm...yum! Sugar cookies are my fav! And how pretty do yours look?!

  17. Those are gorgeous cookies!! Too pretty to eat! Are you bringing them on Saturday?!

  18. These are adorable! It's been SO long since I've made Christmas cookies... I keep meaning to do it every weekend but they're all slipping away from me! How are we only 10 days away from Christmas?!

  19. love sugar cookies and always wanted to do the fancy icing!

  20. wow, your christmas cookies are so pretty! mine never turn out that good :)

  21. Hey lady! I am thinking about making some cookies for the first birthday party because I'm crazy. I was wondering, have you ever frozen these? I'd love to make them in advance if possible, but don't want them to taste like crap!


Powered by Blogger.