Holiday Sugar Cookies


This is the super-classic recipe for holiday cookies from my book American Bakery. The dough is simple to throw together and doesn’t spread during baking, so your cookies will hold their festive shapes perfectly. Have fun with these! Feel free to add flavoring to the dough: orange or lemon rind, candied ginger, vanilla beans, etc).

Meanwhile, I’m packing my bags for Texas! I’m excited to spend some lazy days on the ranch, but there will certainly be plenty of cooking and eating involved, so be sure to follow me on InstagramFacebook or Twitter for daily updates.

Holiday Sugar Cookies

for the cookies

  • 2 sticks plus 5 tablespoons of butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • a pinch of salt

for the Royal Icing

  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
for about 36 cookies

Beat together butter and sugar with a mixer until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and beat in egg. Gradually add flour and salt and mix slowly until combined. Shape dough into two disks and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm but still pliable, at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Transfer half of dough to a lightly floured piece of parchment paper and roll to just about a 1/4-inch thickness (refrigerate if the dough becomes too soft during this process). Cut out shapes using a cookie cutter and transfer cut cookies to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or sprayed with cooking spray. Repeat with other half of dough.
Bake until golden on edges, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks.

Per il Royal Icing

Beat the egg whites with the lemon juice with a mixer until combined. Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined and smooth. The icing needs to be used immediately or transferred to an airtight container as royal icing hardens when exposed to air. Cover with plastic wrap when not in use.

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