This is the best sugar cookie recipe I've ever tried. The cookies are soft and hold their cutout shape very well. They are perfect for holiday decorating.
Step 1: Sugar Cookie Base
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cream cheese
1 tb flavored extract (vanilla, cherry, almond, lemon) etc.
8 cups flour
1 tb baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 ¼ tsp salt
1. Cream the butter, sugar, and cream cheese together in a large bowl. Add in the sour cream, eggs, and extract. Mix well.
2. Sift the flour, salt, baking soda and powder into the butter mixture.
3. Form the dough in a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least an hour or overnight.
Step 2: Cutting Out and Baking
1. Remove half the dough from the refrigerated dough ball and return the other half to fridge. The dough is much easier to work with when it is cold.
2. Roll the dough on a floured surface to your desired thickness.
3. Cut out the cookie using shaped cutters. If you have a cookie shape you want, but don't have the cutter for it, you can make a template out of poster board or card stock. I wanted to make larger cookie houses, so I sketched out a basic shape with pencil and cut out the shape with scissors. I placed the template on top of the rolled dough and carefully cut around the template with a knife. Use a thin spatula to safely transfer the dough shapes to a greased cookie sheet.
4. Bake the cookies on the middle rack at 350 F for 10-12 minutes, until the edges start to brown.
Step 3: Frosting Base
You can also use any type of frosting or icing that you want. Here is a simple buttercream recipe.
1 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or other flavor)
4 cups powdered sugar
1 pinch of table salt
4-6 tablespoons whipping cream
1. Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the vanilla and then the powdered sugar.
2. Thin the frosting with cream to your desired consistency.
Step 4: Decorating
Food Dye (Red, yellow, blue, and black dyes with allow you the fullest range of colors)
Stain proof bowls or containers
Sprinkles, candy, coconut shavings, etc.
Piping bags and tips (or plastic sandwich baggies)
1. Divide the frosting into separate containers and mix whatever colors you want. I included an additive color chart in case you have no experience with color mixing. Mixing colors is all about balance. If you want a very dark violet frosting, you will want more blue than red food dye in your mixture. If you want a very pale orange frosting, you will want more yellow than red. Every color you mix will be a tint, since you are adding it to white frosting so if you want true colors like bright red or blue, I recommend getting gel-style food dyes, since they tend to hold color a little better than the liquid dyes. You can usually find these in a craft store that has cake decorating supplies.
2. You can use plastic baggies for dots and lines if you have a lot of icing colors and not a lot of piping bags. Just fill the bag no more than halfway and twist the bag to seal the frosting into one corner and snip a small piece off the end.
3.Let your imagination run wild. You can have hundreds of cookies and none of them will look the same! Allow the frosting to dry a little before storing the finished cookies in airtight containers. Add a layer of wax paper between each layer of cookies.