Cut-out Sugar Cookies

You can get as elaborate as you want with your cut-out cookies, depending on how many shapes and sizes of cutters you have. A few drops of natural food coloring will make your frosting into whatever seasonal colors you want to play with, as well.

4 sticks unsalted butter, softened and divided

1 cup sugar

1 tsp salt

4 tsp vanilla, divided

1 large egg

2 1/2 cups unbleached flour

2 stick

6 cups powdered sugar

3 tbsp milk, approximately



  1. In a stand mixer or a medium bowl with an electric beater, beat 2 sticks of softened butter and sugar for 5 minutes, until very fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat on medium until smooth; mix in salt and 2 tsp vanilla. Reduce the speed of the mixer and incorporate the flour.
  2. Divide the dough in four pieces. Put a sheet of parchment on the counter, then form each portion of dough into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle; place on parchment. Cover with another sheet of parchment and roll out to 1/8- or 1/4-inch thickness. Stack the rolled-out dough on a sheet pan, with each layer separated by parchment paper, and wrap the whole thing tightly. Chill for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
  3. Set 2 oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat to 350⁰F.
  4. Take out a sheet of dough and lay the dough on a cutting board or kitchen counter. Remove top parchment, cut with 3-inch cutters, and place cut cookies on parchment-lined pans with 2 inches between. Press the remaining scraps of dough together and roll out again; chill as you bake the previous batch.
  5. Bake for 5 minutes, switching the position of the pans between upper and lower oven racks and bake for 5-8 minutes, until golden around the edges. Cool on racks on parchment.
  6. Repeat the rolling, chilling, cutting, baking and cooling process until all the dough is used up.


  1. Put 2 sticks of softened butter in a stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric mixer, and beat to soften. Add the powdered sugar and stir on low until it is almost mixed. Add 2 tsp vanilla with the machine running, and drizzle in the milk gradually while mixing. When the mixture is smooth, whip for a few seconds to add fluffiness. If it’s too thick to pipe, gradually drizzle in milk, a teaspoon at a time. Add natural food coloring if desired.
  2. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag, or zip-top bag with a corner cut off, and decorate the cooled cookies. Let the frosted cookies dry on racks for 10 minutes before transferring to platters or storage containers (for up to 3 days).

This recipe was reprinted, with permission, from Welcome to the Table by National Co-op Grocers.


Yield: 48 servings