Frosted Sugar Cookies


I will always love a good sugar cookie recipe. The soft chew, the tender crumb, the absolutely delectable taste of sugar once the cookie hits your tongue. Before coming to this sugar cookie recipe, I was incredibly nervous to make them. I don't know if it's because I was scared to make cookies in general (true story), or I just had no idea where to start with making a sugar cookie. I know some people use way more sugar than I do, they can use crisco in their sugar cookies, vary the types of ingredients and make them gluten free, but I stuck to the classic sugar cookie, but added frosting (green in this case) and sprinkles on top.

The very first sugar cookie recipe originated in Pennsylvania in the 1700s and was actually called the Nazareth Sugar Cookie. It was said that the German Settlers in that time created and refined the recipe. Now, we have a variety of different interpretations of the classic sugar cookie, and man are they delicious.

What makes a sugar cookie different than other cookies?

Traditionally, other types of cookie creations have both brown sugar and cane sugar, plus a ton of other mixins and ingredients as desired. Sugar cookies traditionally rely solely on the cane sugar, keeping the end result a pale golden yellow versus a darker golden, with of course sans the brown sugar. Sugar cookies can also be a little chewier than other types of cookies, but it truly depends on the ingredients, the temperature your ingredients are when you bake, and if you chilled the dough or not.

Why would I need to chill cookie dough?

This is something I learned the hard way a LOT when teaching myself how to bake. When you let cookie dough, or really any dough (like galettes), it helps the fats to become solid again, which decreases the amount of spread that takes place when you bake the dough. You want some spreading of course, but you also don't want them super flat and spread out. Letting your butter and egg come to room temp in this recipe is important to keep the sugar cookie from spreading while baking.

How do you make sugar cookies?

You'll start by bringing the egg and the butter to room temperature. This should take 30ish minutes if the butter comes from the fridge, and longer if from the freezer (about double the time). I like to get all my ingredients prepared beforehand, a mise en place as they say. Once the butter is just soft, cut into cubes and add to a large bowl. Pour in the cane sugar and whisk together using a hand mixer (or electric stand if you have it). This process should take 3-5 minutes. Once this is done, add in the egg and vanilla and whisk again.

In the same bowl, pour in the baking soda (helps with the rise and spread - this recipe does not call for baking powder), pinch of salt, and flour. Gently and slowly, incorporate the flour until the mixture forms dough. Scoop the dough and place on a cookie tray. Let the dough chill in the fridge for at least an hour or so, even overnight works fine too! When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350º, bake 8 cookies at a time with enough room between each, for 12 minutes. Let the cookie rest before icing and serving.

Tips for making buttercream frosting:

Buttercream frosting is literally butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and a few tablespoons of milk. THAT IS IT. That's the recipe. I've tried it several times and have landed on my favorite ration for butter to powdered sugar.

  • To make the best buttercream, your butter needs to be soft, and I mean, soft. I let my frozen butter sit out on the counter for at least 3 hours before it was soft enough to blend together with the powdered sugar.
  • Add in more heavy cream or milk than you think, and add it in as you blend together the powdered sugar and butter. In my experience, this helps with keeping the powdered sugar in the bowl, and not flying around the entire kitchen forcing you to have to clean the entire kitchen. Again, experience.
  • Low and slow. Low speed, slow mixing. I find this works really well when working with powdered sugar.
  • Feel free to add in whatever flavors you want when the buttercream begins to form: citrus flavors and zest, poppyseeds, vanilla bean, or even swap out the butter for brown butter (OMG).

I love sugar cookies, and I love frosting these sugar cookies. Simple, relatively small batch (only yields approximately 16-18 cookies), and tastes fantastic. You can easily make half of the dough and freeze the rest for another day too. A HUGE win in my book! Happy baking!!

Frosted Sugar Cookies

You're going to fall in love with sugar cookies all over again with this recipe. Plus the best and easiest buttercream recipe you've ever seen. A literal match made in dessert heaven.



For the sugar cookies:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (256g)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 sticks butter room temp (8oz)
  • 1 ½ cups cane sugar (300g)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 large egg

For the buttercream:

  • 430g powdered sugar (approx. 4 cups)
  • 3 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 4-5 tbsp heavy cream


For the sugar cookies:

  1. Before making the dough, be sure to let your butter come to room temperature prior to creaming, this should take 30 minutes if the butter comes from fridge, approximately 45-60 miuntes if the butter is coming  from the freezer.
  2. Using a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together, let the batter get nice and fluffy, approximately 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add in the egg and vanilla and whisk to combine.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Slowly add in the flour half at a time and whisk again. Using a cookie scoop, scoop batter to a parchment lined tray. Let the dough chill for at least an hour or two.
  6. Bake 350° for 12 minutes. Let cookies cool completely before icing or serving, approximately 20 minutes.

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Shira Lavintman
March 27, 2022
How much kosher salt?