Decorating Mama T’s famous Holiday sugar cookies has been a tradition in my family before I could even say the word “butter”. Every year, my Mom whips out about four dozen of these bad boys and we go to town on making the most interesting frosting colors to decorate our cookies with. The highlight of this year was our Millennial Pink frosting, which I believe was aptly named. Once our cookies were frosted and beautiful looking, we would have hide them every year to keep them from my Dad, who would happily devour them all in one sitting.
The best part about these cookies is that they’re easy to make, easy to bake, and hilariously fun to decorate. Grab a few friends, give everyone a butter knife, and start frosting!
These recipes are adapted from the one and only Betty Crocker.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutters.
for the cookies
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 2 ½ cups flour + more for sprinkling
- 1 cup softened butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
for the frosting
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2/3 cup softened butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2-3 tablespoons whole milk
- Food coloring, sprinkles (optional)
Kitchen Tools: cookie cutters, whisk, hand mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, baking sheets, plastic wrap, nonstick spray, cooling rack
Whisk together all dry ingredients for cookies (flour, powdered sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar). Use your mixer to beat wet ingredients (butter, egg, vanilla) into the dry ingredients. Mix on medium speed until fully combined. Form your dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and let chill for about 2 hours in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 375* and lightly grease your cookie sheets with nonstick spray.
Divide dough into two equal balls and roll the first into a 1/4″ thick sheet on a lightly floured surface. Dip your cookie cutters in flour and cut your cookies, leaving as little space as possible between each shape. Place cookies onto the greased cookie sheets, leaving about 1″ between each cookie. Repeat with second ball of dough.
Bake for 7-8 minutes until sugar cookies are lightly browned on edges. Let cool on a baking rack for 30 minutes before frosting.
While your sugar cookies are cooling, beat butter and powdered sugar on medium speed until fully combined, then beat in vanilla and milk until smooth. The texture should be thick but easily spreadable. If mixture is too thick to frost the cookies, add milk in 1/2 tbsp amounts until desired consistency is reached.
Divide frosting into bowls for as many colors as you want to make. Use a few drops of food coloring in each to get your desired tints. Once your cookies have cooled, you can frost away!
Tips + Tricks:
- Dipping your cookie cutters in flour before making each cut keeps your dough from sticking to the cookie cutter and frankly just makes your life a whole lot easier.
- While you roll out your first dough ball, let the other remain wrapped in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
- The colder your dough is when it goes into the oven, the better your cookies will hold their shape throughout the bake. Don’t let your sheets full of ready-to-bake cookies sit out for too long before popping them in the oven.