Holiday Sugar Cookies

Holiday Sugar Cookies

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  • Cookie Ingredients
  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Icing Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, plus more as needed
  • 3 tablespoons milk, plus more as needed
  • Assorted food colorings


In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt. Whisk until well blended. In a separate large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar until they are light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, milk, and vanilla until the mixture is smooth. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until smooth. Place the dough onto a lightly floured cutting board, and form into a ball. Divide the dough in half and form each piece into a thick disk, smoothing the edges. Place in a zippered plastic bag and refrigerate for a minimum of two hours or for up to two days.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove one disk from the refrigerator and let stand for five minutes on a lightly floured cutting board for about five minutes. Pound the disk a few times with a rolling pin to soften. Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/8 of an inch, turning it over and dusting it and the board lightly with flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking.
Using a metal spatula, transfer the cut cookies to an ungreased cookie sheet. They should be spaced 1 inch apart. Form the dough scraps into a ball, re-roll and cut into cookies. Repeat until all the dough is used. Bake the cookies until firm. They should be uncolored on the top and lightly browned on the bottom, about 10 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to wire racks and let cool. Repeat with the second disk of dough.

To make the icing, using a fine-mesh sieve, sift the 1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar into a bowl. Add the milk and stir until smooth. Add more sifted sugar or milk as needed until the icing is spreadable. Divide the icing into several separate bowls. Stir in holiday colored food coloring into each bowl, until a rich, deep color is achieved.
Decorate the cookies.
Put the icing into individual pastry bags fitted with pastry tip. Squeeze the bag until the tip is full. Holding the tip at a 45 degree angle, squeeze the bag to pipe the icing. Form an outline around the cookie, and then use a spatula to fill in the icing. While the icing is moist, sprinkle with colored sugars.