This is the best sugar cookie recipe out there. It goes together so easily, you don’t even have to sift the dry ingredients. The cookies are crispy until you frost them and then they soften up perfectly. The almond extract adds a little something special to the flavor. If you have ever had bland, crumbly sugar cookies you will appreciate these. Best of all, the recipe works perfectly at high altitude as well as sea level.
The royal icing recipe I use includes uncooked egg whites. If you prefer, you can use pasteurized egg whites or meringue powder. I recommend starting with less powdered sugar since you can add more if your icing is too thin. I ended up adding a half a cup of sifted powdered sugar to reach my desired consistency.
Please note: I will say that if you are looking for precisely shaped cookies, this may not be the recipe for you. When the cookies bake, their edges soften and the shapes “puff up” a little. This is something I gladly accept due to the wonderful flavor.
Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing
Sugar Cookie Ingredients
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- In your mixer bowl beat the butter, powdered sugar, egg, vanilla extract and almond extract together until smooth.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl stir the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar together. While mixing on low, add the flour mixture to your mixer bowl and mix until well combined .
- Chill the dough for 2-3 hours. You can make the dough ahead of time and chill it overnight but you will need to let the dough sit out for a while to be soft enough for rolling.
- Heat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. On a lightly floured surface roll the dough out until it is 1/4 inch thick. It helps to lightly flour your rolling pin also. Cut the dough into shapes and place on a baking sheet evenly spaced. Bake for 7-8 minutes. I baked the small hearts for 7 minutes and the big hearts for 8. The baking time is really important because the cookies burn easily. You will want to remove them from the oven before they brown. They will be lightly golden on top.
- Remove the cookies from the oven. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet then place on cooling racks. Store the cookies in an air tight container until you are ready to frost them.
Royal Icing Ingredients
- 2 large egg whites
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- In your mixer bowl mix the egg whites and lemon juice until well combined.
- Slowly pour in the powdered sugar while mixing on low. Mix until the powdered sugar is well incorporated. If the icing is too thin for your liking, add more sifted powdered sugar.
- Dye the icing with one or two drops of food coloring. The icing dries out easily so keep it covered while you aren’t using it. If it gets too dry you can add a little bit of water to thin it out. I leave the frosted cookies uncovered overnight so the icing dries, then I store them in an airtight container.