The Hidden Secrets to Perfect Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

The Hidden Secrets to Perfect Cut-Out Sugar Cookies from MomAdvice.com

Do you know the hidden secrets to the perfect cut-out sugar cookies? Put your stand mixer to work and blend up this incredible sugar cookie dough. You will learn how to make rolling and cutting sugar cookies easier. These tricks yield cookies that stay soft- bookmark this perfect cut-out cookie recipe today!

I love, love, love to cook.

Baking bread, whipping up fancy dinners, making stacks of gourmet waffles…those are my favorite thing to do!

Baking cookies?

Total fail.

I don’t know what it is, but making great cookies is not something I am good at.

To be honest, I just don’t think I have the patience for it.

More than that, I haven’t had the time.

I rely on bar cookies, quick breads, and other easy snacks to get us by.

Of all of the fails, cut-out sugar cookies have been the biggest fail for me.

They are misshapen, taste like cardboard, and are far too time-consuming.

I tried so many recipes with the same results and had determined that cut-out cookies were just NOT my thing.

I decided this year though that I would find a good recipe that would look nice and yield a tasty result.

Where do I turn when I don’t have time to run a full-fledged test kitchen out of my home?

My America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.

Don’t they have such great recipes?

The recipe was entirely unique and promised fantastic results.

Crisp cookies, full flavor, and step-by-step tutorials that would be worth eating and sharing.

The Hidden Secrets to Perfect Cut-Out Sugar Cookies from MomAdvice.com

The Hidden Secrets to Perfect Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

Trick #1: Use a Superfine Sugar

The first step towards a great sugar cookie was to use superfine sugar.

According to the cookbook, superfine sugar gives the cookies a finer crumb and crisper texture.

What is Superfine Sugar?

Superfine sugar s simply granulated sugar that’s been ground more finely. It’s often called for in recipes where a faster dissolving granule is needed.

This ingredient can be purchased at your local grocery store over by the other sugar options.

Don’t want to buy superfine sugar for one recipe?

Yeah, me either!

How Can I Make My Own Superfine Sugar?

Instead of purchasing a specialty sugar, process one cup of your granulated sugar in a food processor or blender.

Once the sugar is to a fine consistency (approximately 30 seconds), you can measure out 3/4 cup for your recipe.

Easy enough!

You know me, I chose the cheaper option for this recipe and put my blender to work.

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

Trick #2: The “Reverse Mixing Method

The second step to their perfect cookie was a “reverse” mixing method.

In traditional recipes, we would cream the room temperature butter and sugar together. They took a reverse mixing method approach instead.

With this method, you mix together all of the dry ingredients first and then add butter tablespoon by tablespoon.

The dough mixture is finished with cream cheese, another unusual addition to a cut-out sugar cookie recipe. This ingredient really pulls everything together and makes the dough workable. Once it has pulled together, finish with a little vanilla extract for flavor!

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

 

The dough looked like this. It looked crumbly and not very wet. You were instructed to pull the dough together with your hands and form it into a ball. I wasn’t too sure how this was going to work out. It just did not seem sticky enough to me.

The dough looked like this. It looked crumbly and not very wet.

You were instructed to pull the dough together with your hands and form it into a ball.

I wasn’t too sure how this was going to work out. It just did not seem sticky enough to me.

After a couple of minutes of kneading, this is what my dough looked like. I don’t think my dough has ever looked this good.

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.comHidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

Trick #3: Chill Your Cut-Out Sugar Cookie Dough

Have you ever had a sugar cookie that looks misshapen?

Chances are that the cook didn’t chill the dough. This look step helps these cut-out cookies to turn out great.

Divide the dough and place them in your refrigerator to chill. It is recommended to flatten them into two 4″ disks, and leave them there for 20-30 minutes.

 

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.comHidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.comHidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

 

While the dough is chilling, you can tidy up the kitchen and then get everything else ready to go.

Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper and lay out your cookie cutters.

Next, tear off two additional sheets of parchment paper per dough disk to roll out your cookie dough.

That’s right, no floured counters which will save on clean-up time!

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

Tip #4: Roll Your Cut-Out Sugar Cookie Dough Between Two Sheets of Parchment Paper

Put your disk between the parchment paper and roll the dough out.

I secured one set of corners between me and the counter to hold the paper in place.

Tip #5: After You Roll Out Your Sugar Cookie Dough, chill it AGAIN!

Now pop the dough back in the refrigerator for ten more minutes or until the dough is firm for cutting.

I know waiting for the dough to chill again feels like a waste of time.

Trust me, you will be glad you did it.

This will yield a cookie with sharp edges and that hold their shape.

I promise that this will be worth the wait.

At this point, I was already patting myself on the back.

Aren’t you glad you weren’t in the kitchen with me for this annoying moment?

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.comHidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.comHidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

The cookies cut out beautifully and were firm enough that I could easily transfer them over to the parchment paper.

How crazy that we won’t be losing snowman feet and arms or the poor wings off of our bird cookies!

I bet you are glad you never saw my past cookies (*ahem*)!

Put your cookie sheets in the oven and watch them through the glass.

Be sure to continue, annoyingly, patting yourself on the back.

Tip #6: Rotate Your Cookie Sheets For Even Heating

Instead of letting one rack stay doughy and one rack get burnt, they have you rotate the cookie sheets halfway through.

What a novel idea!

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.comHidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

These are my cookies after baking!

I KNOW!

Keep in mind, these cookies remain a pale color so don’t worry that they haven’t cooked long enough. Ten minutes is just the amount of time you need for these cookies to

They didn’t look done to me, but they were so don’t overcook them.

I had one batch that got out in the nick of time after I added two minutes to the cooking time.

They will harden up for you without any additional cooking.

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.comHidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.comHidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.comHidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

Tip #7: Ice Your Cookies With America’s Test Kitchen Royal Icing (OR NOT)

They recommend decorating with a royal icing glaze.

I am not a fan of how those royal icing recipes turn out.

I stick to a traditional frosting recipe that requires a little more time to harden, but has a thicker tasting frosting.

What If I Want the America’s Test Kitchen Royal Icing Recipe?

Blend together 2 cups (8 ounces) confectioners’ sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, 1 ounce cream cheese, softened, and food coloring to make the America’s Test Kitchen Glaze.

Since our cookie sheets were lined with parchment paper, I reused these sheets for decorating.

This caught any runaway sprinkles or the sprinkle dumping that seems to occur every year (see above for examples).

The cookies looked good, but the real question is did they taste good? I asked our very official taste-testing and decorating crew to give me their honest opinions.

Sometimes a picture is all you need! They were perfect, not crumbly, sturdy, but not thick, tangy, but buttery. Basically, perfection!

The cookies looked good, but the real question is did they taste good? I asked our very official taste-testing and decorating crew to give me their honest opinions.

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.comHidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

Sometimes a picture is all you need! They were perfect, not crumbly, sturdy, but not thick, tangy, but buttery. Basically, perfection!

The Hidden Secrets to Perfect Cu-Out Sugar Cookies from MomAdvice.com

The Perfect Cut-Out Sugar Cookie Recipe
Author: 
Recipe type: Desserts
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: approximately 3 dozen
 
Do you know the hidden secrets to the perfect cut-out sugar cookies? Put your stand mixer to work and blend up this incredible sugar cookie dough. You will learn how to make rolling and cutting sugar cookies easier. These tricks yield cookies that stay soft- bookmark this perfect cut-out cookie recipe today!
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup superfine sugar (purchased or diy this flour with my instructions above)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ½″ pieces & softened
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Rolling pin, cookie cutters, and sprinkles
  • Sugar Cookie Frosting:
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 5 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Food coloring
Instructions
  1. Whisk the flour, sugar, & salt together in a large bowl.
  2. Beat the butter pieces (into the flour mixture) one piece at a time. I suggest using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, and beating until the mixture looks crumbly and slightly wet. This should take about 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Beat in the cream cheese & vanilla until he dough just begins to form large clumps, about thirty seconds.
  4. Knead the dough in the large bowl by hand a few times until it forms a large, cohesive mass.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a clean counter, divide it in half, and apt into a two four inch disks.
  6. Wrap the disks tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until they begin to firm up, 20 to 30 minutes.
  7. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375.
  8. Work with one disk at a time, roll out the dough to a ⅛″ thickness between two sheets of parchment paper.
  9. Slide the rolled dough and parchment onto a baking sheet & refrigerate again until firm.
  10. Working with one sheet of cookie dough at a time, cut out shapes using your cookie cutters.
  11. Next, lay them on two parchment-lined baking sheets, spaced about 1″ apart.
  12. Bake the cookies until light golden brown, about ten minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking.
  13. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for two minutes before transferring them to a wire rack.
  14. Be sure to allow them to cool completely (approximately 30 minutes)
  15. When cooled, the cookies can be decorated as desired.
  16. For frosting: In a large bowl, cream together confectioners sugar and shortening until smooth.
  17. Gradually mix in milk and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth and stiff, about five minutes.
  18. Color with food coloring if desired.

I would highly recommend adding this cookbook to your holiday wish list. That same recipe can be adapted for many different types of cookies! It has definitely earned its keep on my bookshelf.

Do you have a favorite holiday cookie recipe? Please share your recipes or links here!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

This post contains affiliate links.

Love this post? Here are a few other baking tutorials that might help you in the kitchen!

Easy Homemade Gluten-Free Pumpkin Breadeasy gluten-free homemade pumpkin bread

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Sugar Cookies Recipe from MomAdvice.comgluten-free cake mix sugar cookies (great for freezing!)

Mini Cannoli Cream Pastry Bitesmini cannoli bites (pair with the Annie film for a fun family night idea!)

3-ingredient-star-cakes3-ingredient star cakes

Chocolate Chiffon Cake with Peppermint Frostingchocolate chiffon cake with peppermint frosting

The Hidden Secrets to Perfect Cut-Out Sugar Cookies from MomAdvice.com

Happy baking!

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Published November 04, 2019 by:

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of MomAdvice.com. You can read all about her here.

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