Decorated Holiday Sugar Cookies Recipe

Cookie Monster

Weekly recipes to serve with a glass of milk.

Decorated Holiday Sugar Cookies Recipe

[Photograph: Carrie Vasios]

These thin sugar cookies are ready to be rolled out and decorated in full holiday style.

Notes: Refrigerating the dough is absolutely necessary: it will be impossible to roll out before an hour in the fridge, so plan accordingly. Make sure to keep your container of flour on hand while rolling and constantly recoat your surface to avoid sticking. Try to keep cookies of the same size on the same baking sheet so that they cook evenly. The baking time listed is for 3- to 4-inch cookies. If you're using smaller shapes, check for doneness at 10 minutes

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  • Yield:makes about 3 dozen cookies, depending on the size of your cutters
  • Active time: 2 hours
  • Total time:4 hours


  • For the Cookies:
  • 2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) all purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For Royal Icing:
  • 3 ounces pasteurized egg whites
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • To Decorate:
  • Food coloring
  • Sprinkles


  1. 1.

    Make cookies: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla. Add flour mixture and beat until just combined. Divide dough in two, wrap in plastic wrap, and let rest in refrigerator for at least one hour and up to overnight.

  2. 2.

    Adjust oven rack to middle and upper middle positions and preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

  3. 3.

    Unwrap one ball of dough. Dough will still be a little sticky, so make sure to coat a clean work surface with flour. Roll out dough with rolling pin, frequently flipping the dough over and reflouring the work surface. Roll out dough into a circle roughly 10-inches in diameter and 1/8th-inch thick. Cut out shapes, then use a pastry spatula to transfer cookies to prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies until golden at the edges, about 12 minutes, depending on size of cutters (see note). Let cookies cool for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Repeat with remaining dough.

  4. 4.

    When cookies have cooled completely, make icing: In a large bowl, whisk together egg whites and confectioners sugar until smooth. Divide icing between as many bowls as you have types of food coloring. Add food coloring of choice to each bowl. After decorating cookies with icing and sprinkles, let stand 1 hour for icing to harden.