I have been making these fun cut out sugar cookies with my kids their whole lives. A huge bonus of this messy project is that I love these cookies and can eat about a million of them. Only my daughter is still interested in decorating them with me, but I would make them even if she wasn’t because they are that good.
These are a typical butter sugar cookie but they have both almond and vanilla extract in them and that little touch plus the softness of the cookie make these perfect. This dough works best if you make it a day ahead and put in the fridge wrapped in plastic wrap overnight.
We typically make these for Halloween and Christmas because the cookie cutter shapes for the holidays make these more fun. I am not really a big fan of royal icing because I don’t think it tastes that good and I’m all about taste above appearance, so we use simple powdered sugar icing on these.
I think these are best slightly under baked, so I only bake them for 7-8 minutes depending on the thickness. We tend to make them on the thick side. The point at which they are done to me is fully cooked but just a tiny hint of brown at the edges, but barely. If you get a little crazy with the shapes like my daughter and I do and have smaller and thinner cookies baking with larger ones, those may get a little more brown, but they all taste good. 🙂
I use condiment squeeze bottles like this for the icing because it makes it easier to decorate the cookie. It is still messy, but less so than trying to use a spoon or an offset spatula. When the kids were younger, it really helped make it easier for them to decorate too.
I hope you make these with some kids in your life (or just for yourself) and enjoy the creative mess making!
Cut Out Vanilla Almond Sugar Cookies
For the cookies:
- 1 cup butter softened (salted or unsalted, I use 1/2 each)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg room temp
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
- 3 cups AP flour
For the icing:
- powdered sugar
- food coloring
- Cream the butter in a stand mixer with paddle until light and fluffy. Add the sugar, almond and vanilla and mix well again.
- Add in the egg and milk and beat until light and fluffy again.
- Whisk the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Add the mixture to the mixer and beat on low until combined well, but do not over mix or your cookies will be tough.
- Divide dough into 2 batches and wrap each in plastic wrap flattened into a square. Refrigerate overnight.
- When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Flour your countertop and roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Use cutters to cut out shapes. You can push the scraps together and reroll to make more cookies.
- Bake the cookies 1 inch apart for 7-8 minutes until just barely getting at touch of brown on the edges. Remove cookie sheet from the oven and allow to cool fully, or cool for a few minutes and move to a cooling rack.
For the icing:
- Pour a decent amount of powdered sugar into a bowl. If you are going to make colored icing, pour into multiple bowls. Add 1/2 tsp vanilla to each bowl. Add just enough water to make the icing about thick glue consistency. Thick enough that it won't just run off the cookies but not so thick you can't squeeze it out of squeeze bottles. Add coloring as desired.
- Put icing into piping bags or bottles for decorating. Use on the cooled cookies as desired.