No Fail Sugar Cookies

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This recipe is GREAT when using complex cookie cutters. The dough holds its' shape and won't spread during baking. Make sure you let your oven preheat for at least 1/2 hour before baking these or any other cookies.

6 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder (I prefer to use only half this amount-1 1/2 tsp for cookies that spread less)
2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups sugar (white granulated)
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. salt

1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Mix dry ingredients and add a little at a time to butter mixture. Mix until flour is completely incorporated and the dough comes together.
2. Roll to desired thickness and cut into desired shapes.
3. Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until just beginning to turn brown around the edges.
This recipe can make up to 5-dozen 3" cookies.
1. HINT: Rolling Out Dough Without the Mess - Rather than wait for your cookie dough to
chill, take the freshly made dough and place a glob between two sheets of wax paper.  Set on top of silpat so the wax paper will not slide when you roll it.
2. Place a 1/4"thick Paint Stir stick (or wooden dowel) on either side and use rolling pin to glide over top until the rolling pin rests on the stir sticks.  This gives you perfectly even thickness for all of your cookies!
3. Roll out remaining dough this way (I usually roll out 3 times for this recipe).  Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
4. Remove from refrigerator once chilled- cut shapes and bake right away.  The chilled dough helps to keep the shape of the cookies.
5. *An added bonus is that you are not adding any additional flour to your cookies so the last will taste as fluffy and light as the first!

1 lb powdered sugar (approx 4 cups)
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup light corn syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract (or almond, if desired)
1. In a mixing bowl, mix sugar and milk first. Add corn syrup just until combined. Divide to flavor and add color as needed.
2. Ice cookies as desired. **It is very helpful to use a squeeze bottle for this part**Cookies sometimes take up to 12 hours to dry completely. Once dry, you should be able to stack them without ruining the icing. You may also freeze these- put waxed paper or parchment in between layers.
*This type of icing is very forgiving- experiment with consistency. You don't want it too runny or too stiff. If it's too runny, add more sugar, too thick... add more milk.
**Remember when you add color that it is easier to put it in than to take it out!
***This icing takes a long time to dry after you put it on a cookie, but until then- it turns to concrete in seconds. Keep your containers covered until you are ready to use it.
Royal Icing Using Egg Whites:

2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 cups confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
1. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the egg whites with the lemon juice until combined. Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined and smooth
Royal Icing Using Meringue Powder:

4 cups  confectioners' (powdered or icing) sugar
3 tablespoons  meringue powder
1/2 teaspoon extract (vanilla, lemon, almond)
1/2 - 3/4 cup warm water
1. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the confectioners' sugar and meringue powder until combined. Add the water and beat on medium to high speed until very glossy and stiff peaks form (5 to 7 minutes). If necessary, to get the right consistency, add more powdered sugar or water