Last year, around this time, I posted a recipe for Perfect Frosted Sugar Cookies. That recipe is the recipe that I’ve been making for cut-out sugar cookies for years. It is, without a doubt, the most perfect sugar cookie recipe to use with all those fancy Christmas cookie cutters you have taking up space in a drawer in your kitchen.
The cookies don’t spread. They don’t discolor. They stay soft and flavorful. It’s easy to make and work with the dough. It uses simple ingredients. I believe it really is the perfect recipe for cutout cookies. It seems like lots of other folks agree with me, because that recipe continues to spike in popularity around holidays (and now I have people coming back for a second year in a row telling me that it is their must make sugar cookie recipe).
So, you’re probably thinking, if this is all true of the first Perfect Frosted Sugar Cookies, why in the world is this silly girl posting a second, different frosted sugar cookie recipe? Because, friends, Lofthouse Sugar Cookies are a horse of a different color.
Even though the husband doesn’t love the store-bought ones as much as I do, he dug my version of them. I think it’s because these cookies still taste homemade—even though they are copycatting a store brand. There is that thing that all bakery cakes and cookies have that, no matter how good they are, taste different from what you’d make in your own kitchen. I think when you take that je ne sais quoi out of Lofthouse-style cookies, they get even better. Like, I’m hesitant to call this recipe a copycat, because it doesn’t taste exactly like the ones you’d get a the grocery store. But I think they taste better. It’s not a copycat recipe, it’s a one-upper recipe.
Now, it probably goes without saying, but just in case, let me mention that these cookies are not good candidates for cutting out gingerbread men (unless you want a particularly bloated looking gingerbread man). These cookies spread, puff up, and generally expand enough that your cookie cutter shapes will mostly be useless. I tried rolling a few of them out and cutting them using a Christmas tree cookie cutter, and if you squinted, you could see the shape, but it really wasn’t worth the effort. If you want to do cutout sugar cookies, you’re looking for the Perfect Frosted Sugar Cookies recipe. If you’re fine with a run-of-the-mill circular cookie shape, please proceed.
The easiest way to shape these cookies is to take damp hands and form them into two-inch balls, and then smoosh them down flat using a flat-bottom glass. If you want a truly perfectly-circular cookie shape, you could chill the dough, roll it out to about 1/4″ thick, and then use a biscuit cutter to cut out perfect circles.
If you do end up using a biscuit cutter, make sure you don’t twist when you press down on the dough. Twisting “seals” the edges of the cookie, making it to where it won’t rise as much—leaving you with a loftless Lofthouse cookie (is that where the name comes from?). Same advice is true for biscuits. Want tall, fluffy biscuits? Don’t you dare twist that biscuit cutter.
Either way, I’ve included instructions for both methods in the recipe directions.
Oh, and the frosting? Well, it’s just your run-of-the-mill (but not really because OMGyummy) buttercream. You can flavor it will vanilla, almond, coconut, or whatever extract makes you happy. Because it’s Christmas, and
at Christmas you tell the truth peppermint is all the rage, I used Nielsen-Massey Peppermint extract. It was gloriously minty and delicious! Enjoy.
Make your favorite store-bought cookie at home using this recipe for soft, sweet, and tender Lofthouse Sugar Cookies. Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod.
For the Cookies
- 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 6 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)
For the Frosting
- 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla, coconut, almond, or peppermint extract
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 5 tablespoons milk
- Food coloring and sprinkles, optional
To make the cookies
- Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with a baking mat or parchment paper, set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a scraper/paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sour cream until smooth and light in color.
- Add in the sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Mix until just combined.
- In a separate mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt (if using). Add the dry ingredients to the wet in three additions—mixing well after each.
- To form drop cookies: using damp hands, roll dough into 2″ balls and place 2″ apart on the prepared cookie sheet. Using a flat-bottomed glass dipped in water, press the cookie balls flat.
- To form rolled cookies: cover the dough and chill for 20-30 minutes. Roll out on a lightly floured surface until 1/4″ thick. Using a biscuit cutter, cut cookies and place 2″ apart on the prepared cookie sheet.
- Bake cookies in preheated oven for 5-7 minutes, until the cookies just begin to set up and the bottoms are lightly brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet and let cool completely on a cooling rack before frosting.
To make the frosting
- In a stand mixer fitted with a scraper/paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer, cream together the butter and extract of choice until smooth.
- Add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing until smooth after each addition. Add in the milk and food color, and beat until fluffy and smooth. Spread onto cooled cookies and immediately sprinkle on sprinkles.
Like all sugar cookies, watch these like a hawk in the oven! Sugar cookies go from perfectly tender and done to overbaked in only a few blinks of an eye. You’re looking for the cookies to be just barely brown on the bottom, and the top to look “set up”. Err on the side of underdone! After all, have you ever heard someone complain that their cookie was too soft and tender? Nope.