Home Baked Holidays: Professional Style Sugar Cookies


by Dec 2nd, 2010 // Desserts, Giveaway, Holiday, Recipes

Home Baked Holidays: Professional Style Sugar Cookies

I have always loved the look (and taste) of those beautiful sugar cookies you see at bakeries this time of year. You know the kind I’m talking about… buttery and sweet with just the right amount of frosting. The kind that cost $5 per cookie. As in WHAT? $5 for a COOKIE? In the past I’ve made sugar cookies. They were perfectly cute but not gift worthy. So this time I turned once again to my friend, Susan, who is a professional cookie maker. I asked if she’d mind sharing some of her secrets for making her famous Perfect Christmas Sugar Cookies.

She gave us the recipe in advance because she insists the dough needs to refrigerate for 3 full days before making the cookies. Three days later she came over and patiently showed us exactly how she bakes these cookies. It was an eye opening experience. First, she only cuts out one cookie at a time so she can get it to be the perfect thickness. She starts by patting it down with her hands and then only rolls it a bit. It’s around 1/8 of an inch. She also checks on the baking cookies often and removes EACH cookie from the oven separately. Meaning, she takes each one out as it is done and lets others continue to bake. I don’t know why I haven’t ever thought of doing this but it is a brilliant way of making all the cookies perfect instead of having some a little under baked and some a little over baked.

She insists the consistency of the frosting is of utmost importance. Not too thick / not too runny. Just like she’s showing in this picture. It should drip off the spoon slowly.

She also showed us her frosting trick which is to outline the cookie first like this – using a round pastry tip.

Look at her helping my kid outline his cookie. This killed me with cuteness!

Then she fills it in like she’s coloring a picture and uses a toothpick to fill in any holes. Her last step is to gently tap it on the edge of table to settle the frosting. Then she decorates with sprinkles and lets them sit for 12 to 15 hours uncovered to dry completely. (Who knew they needed that long to taste great?)

I slipped these cookies in a bag, added a cute ribbon and affixed a simple sticker label on the back and proudly handed them out as gifts this morning. Here’s a link to the Wilton Snowflake Comfort Grip Cookie Cutter we used to make these. I’m a big fan of the comfort grip.

That’s my cousin, Nicole. She was the lucky recipient of a perfect little turquoise snowflake. Love her! (She couldn’t wait to eat it.)

Here are the stickers we affixed to the back of the packages. Now that I know how to make these cookies I want to give them out for every holiday! Here’s a link to download my happy holiday stickers. Here’s the recipe…

Susan’s Perfect Christmas Sugar Cookie Recipe

1 pound butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
5 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
3 tsps. baking powder

Cream butter and sugar with mixer.  Add eggs one at a time.  Add the dry ingredients and mix with a big spatula before mixing the dough with the mixer.  Refrigerate overnight.  Refrigerate the dough for at least three days in advance.

Preheat oven to 360 degrees.  Flatten dough and roll out dough on area covered with flour.  Dough should be about 1/8 inch think. Cut with cookie cutter.  Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet (we used the Silpat).  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown on the edges. Check on the cookies often, as each turns brown, remove just that cookie and let the rest continue to bake until all are done. Cool and then frost with royal icing frosting (see below).

Professional Royal Icing Frosting Recipe

Prep Time: 3 days in advance Cooking Time: 10 to 12 mins

1 pound powdered sugar
1/4 cup meringue powder
1/3 cup water plus more if needed.

Beat the above ingredients in a mixer for 10 minutes.  Store in a tight container.  Do not refrigerate. When ready to frost your cookies, put icing into a pastry bag fitted with a round tip. Outline each of your cookies and then color in the middle. Tap cookies a few times (gently) on the table to settle icing. Let sit uncovered for 12 to 15 hours before packaging.

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79 Comments on “Home Baked Holidays: Professional Style Sugar Cookies”

  1. 1.) Shae
    December 2nd, 2010

    This is an awesome post. I too have always wondered how "they" make them so perfectly! Thanks!

  2. 2.) amy
    December 2nd, 2010

    Wow. I had no idea that they required that amount of effort! Makes me love them even more.

  3. 3.) Dorothy
    December 2nd, 2010

    These are gorgeous! I love the tags, too!

  4. 4.) Melissa@HomeBaked
    December 2nd, 2010

    I made these once about 5 years ago, and haven't made them since! But one of my kids LOVES to decorate cookies, so maybe this is the year to bring these back! So pretty!

  5. 5.) Nicole
    December 2nd, 2010

    i'll be your taste tester any day!

  6. 6.) Amy
    December 2nd, 2010

    I love the cookies and the stickers!

  7. 7.) Mariela
    December 2nd, 2010

    They look amazing!!

  8. 8.) Sue
    December 2nd, 2010

    these would be fun to make!

  9. 9.) Emily
    December 2nd, 2010

    I love this post. We are hosting a toddler cookie decorating party at our home next Friday.

  10. 10.) Tiffany
    December 2nd, 2010

    12 to 15 hours is a long time! Could I let them sit in the fridge uncovered while they dry? I definitely don't have the counter space to let cookies sit out that long. I really want to try this method, though!

  11. 11.) CookingWithMyKid
    December 3rd, 2010

    not in the fridge. put them on a cookie sheet and put them on top of your washing machine!

  12. 12.) adamzurn
    December 2nd, 2010

    The trick with cookies as a gift is not eating them all before giving them away. LOL!

  13. 13.) Jessica
    December 2nd, 2010

    such a great trick…definitely gonna try this next week as I embark on my own Christmas cookies!

  14. 14.) BPansy
    December 2nd, 2010

    thank you to susan, too!! great idea!! beautiful cookies!

  15. 15.) katierk
    December 2nd, 2010

    the blue frosting on the snowflakes is a great touch!

  16. 16.) Melissa
    December 2nd, 2010

    Love the turquoise snowflake… so pretty!

  17. 17.) Lisa
    December 2nd, 2010

    These look great. Can you share where you bought the snowflake cutter? It looks like the perfect size!

  18. 18.) CookingWithMyKid
    December 3rd, 2010

    it's a wilton snowflake cutter and it's AWESOME. i added a link to it in the post.

  19. 19.) ``` amacmillan
    December 2nd, 2010

    love the idea of a blue frosting. Will have to try.

  20. 20.) Shannon
    December 2nd, 2010

    I'd also like to know where the cookie cutter is from – these are beautiful cookies. I LOVE the color too.

  21. 21.) CookingWithMyKid
    December 3rd, 2010

    It's a Wilton Cookie Cutter from Amazon.com. I added a link to it in the post. I used gel food coloring to get that color. Loved how it came out.

  22. 22.) Jeannine Q
    December 2nd, 2010

    I had no idea that it took that much work to get them perfect. however, they are lovely.

  23. 23.) Nancy
    December 2nd, 2010

    I love cookies this time of year. Will add it to the long list of things to may with my own kid.

  24. 24.) Jacqueline
    December 2nd, 2010

    The only thing that worries me is the fact that I have never let cookie dough sit in my fridge for 3 whole days. It usually moves mysteriously into my tummy by day 1.5….but just to see if I can do it, I want to make these bakery worthy cookies! Thank you for the "secrets!"

  25. 25.) Krista
    December 3rd, 2010

    you know the same thing happens to the cookie dough that is left in my refrigerator too! Must be a conspiracy among all cookie dough or something!!!

  26. 26.) CookingWithMyKid
    December 3rd, 2010

    ha! that made me laugh.

  27. 27.) Cara
    December 2nd, 2010

    I've always wanted to try these cookies too!

  28. 28.) brooke rains
    December 2nd, 2010

    Great post! I am trying to keep things simple and this is a great way.

  29. 29.) Erica
    December 2nd, 2010


  30. 30.) alyssia
    December 2nd, 2010

    when will you start taking orders? gorgeous! and i love the dove cookie 🙂

  31. 31.) Kristie
    December 2nd, 2010

    One of our little "family goals" this year is to bake some Christmas cookies just like these…THANKS for the tips!!

  32. 32.) Chana
    December 2nd, 2010

    Great idea!

  33. 33.) anne
    December 2nd, 2010

    exquisite! question – does rolling out the dough over and over (to make each cookie one by one) make the cookies tougher?

  34. 34.) Jessica
    December 2nd, 2010

    These are beautiful and look so yummy. Can't wait for the kids and I to make these!!!

  35. 35.) Dana
    December 2nd, 2010

    Aw! So Cute! I was hoping for a dreidel or menorah! Happy Chanukah!

  36. 36.) CookingWithMyKid
    December 3rd, 2010

    Funny. I tried to be as holiday neutral as possible with these gifts but I did just called my friend, Macki, to ask if she wanted to do some Christmas posts. Happy Hanukkah to you too! (PS: my daughter's godmother is named Dana. special place in my heart.)

  37. 37.) Eenda
    December 3rd, 2010

    I love making sugar cookies. I can’t wait to make them with the kids this year.

  38. 38.) paulajakobs
    December 3rd, 2010

    They look wonderful!

  39. 39.) Gennie
    December 3rd, 2010

    You're killing me with the delicious cuteness! OK, adding meringue powder to the shopping list…

  40. 40.) sweetgleans
    December 3rd, 2010

    Beautiful! I'm going to make some snowflakes using your tips! Thanks.

  41. 41.) tryityoumightlikeit
    December 3rd, 2010

    I always struggle with cutout cookies. Especially the snowflake shape and that's my favorite one. I usually end up making gingerbread cookies in tree shapes and then drizzle it with white frosting like garland. I'm going to try this recipe this month.

    Can you freeze the dough?

  42. 42.) CookingWithMyKid
    December 3rd, 2010

    I'll ask Susan about dough freezing. Stay tuned.

  43. 43.) Mary
    December 3rd, 2010

    Thanks for this! Buying meringue powder right now–can't wait to give this a try!

  44. 44.) Misty seedehi
    December 3rd, 2010

    It's amazing that simple ingredients and a little bit of patience makes something so perfect! Learned so much about waiting for the perfect cookie!!!

  45. 45.) Lara
    December 3rd, 2010

    I feel so dumb. I never thought to just take a cookie out when it's done – I always wait for the whole sheet to finish.

  46. 46.) CookingWithMyKid
    December 3rd, 2010

    I know, right?

  47. 47.) Melissa
    December 3rd, 2010

    Ok, this is an awesome idea, but when you take each cookie out as its done, doesnt it get all smoshed…because its molten??????

  48. 48.) CookingWithMyKid
    December 3rd, 2010

    not if they are done right. when they get golden brown on the bottom they come right off if you use a good spatula.

  49. 49.) Nora
    December 3rd, 2010

    They look lovely… cookies are such a great gift, simple beautiful and dont take up any space 🙂
    And if you think about how many presents you can make in one time its not that much time per present.
    If royal icing takes to much time to dry for your purpose you could use white chocolate instead (or candy melts)
    I made chocolate covered chocolate cookies and decorated them whit cutouts of colored marzipan for eastern this year… : http://homemademess.blogspot.com/2010/05/ostereie
    (in german with pictures)

  50. 50.) Karilyn
    December 3rd, 2010

    i'm dying to make these cookies, but I cannot find meringue powder anywhere here in Mumbai. Is there any alternative for the icing that you know of?

  51. 51.) tryityoumightlikeit
    December 7th, 2010

    You can use egg whites instead of meringue powder. http://www.joyofbaking.com/RoyalIcing.html

  52. 52.) Sarah
    December 3rd, 2010

    Yum, can't wait to try them!

  53. 53.) debbiejl
    December 3rd, 2010

    Meringue powder? Never heard of that? Where do you buy that?

    I love the idea of taking cookies out when they are done.. one by one!

  54. 54.) Sara
    December 3rd, 2010

    Super adorable! Will definitely have to try these!

  55. 55.) Anna B.
    December 3rd, 2010

    What are those strange piping bags you're using?

  56. 56.) CookingWithMyKid
    December 5th, 2010

    Those are a part of a kid's cupcake decorating kid. it really helps with little hands: http://www.amazon.com/Kuhn-Rikon-Cookie-Cupcake-D

  57. 57.) Miranda
    December 3rd, 2010

    Looks so professional!

  58. 58.) Monica S.
    December 4th, 2010

    Thanks for posting a photo showing the proper consistency for the icing. I'm always so confused on that, so this is super helpful!

  59. 59.) @Btrflywmn
    December 4th, 2010

    Thank you so much for sharing this, I'm really looking forward to making pretty cookies. Are the cookies soft or crunchy after they have sat for 12-15 hours?

  60. 60.) CookingWithMyKid
    December 5th, 2010

    i wouldn't call them crunchy or soft. they are somewhere in between. was that an annoying answer?

  61. 61.) Amanda
    December 4th, 2010

    gorgeous, great tips!

  62. 62.) Justine
    December 5th, 2010

    these are beautiful … for some reason I always run out of patience for decorating, but your friend has just reminded me how worthwhile it is to take my time! 🙂 love your son's handiwork, too.

  63. 63.) Dawn R
    December 5th, 2010

    Beautiful! I haven't made cut out sugar cookies in a few years. My kids would love it if I brought them back. Thanks for sharing the recipes and tags :).

  64. 64.) Sarah
    December 5th, 2010

    Gosh, who knew how much work these were? Maybe $5 isn't such a terrible deal. I read recently about refrigerating chocolate chip cookie dough for 3 days before baking; apparently it helps the dry ingredients soak up the wet, thus improving the consistency of the final cookie. One day I'm going to try it!

  65. 65.) Angela L.
    December 5th, 2010

    Those cookies are beautiful. I would love to try them out. 🙂

  66. 66.) souzalito
    December 6th, 2010

    Can't wait to try these.

  67. 67.) schmidty
    December 6th, 2010

    Oh my! These are beautiful!

  68. 68.) Charlene
    December 6th, 2010

    I usually buy frozen pre-cut, ready to bake from the grocery store. This recipe looks easy enough. Although seriously one cookie at a time from cut out and the oven? Who has time for that??? I'll take them a little less perfect–its more my style anyway 🙂

  69. 69.) Stephanie
    December 6th, 2010

    They look amazing! My sisters and I try making iced cookies every year around this time, but they never turn out right!

  70. 70.) Emily
    December 6th, 2010

    I love the little tags. thanks

  71. 71.) Min
    December 6th, 2010

    Very cute! Who knew less could be more?! One cookie is a perfect amount for some folks!

  72. 72.) Andrea
    December 7th, 2010

    WOW, I love it! I will be making these this year! Thanks for all the great recipes

  73. 73.) BeckyS
    December 7th, 2010

    She makes it look so simple! I need to find some meringue powder

  74. 74.) Anna
    December 7th, 2010

    Wow, these look incredible! I don't know if I'd have the patience to wait 15 hours, though!

  75. 75.) ashley
    December 9th, 2010

    I love the picture of your kid outlining the cookie!!! Great shot!

  76. 76.) tryityoumightlikeit
    December 13th, 2010

    I made these cookies today. I felt like I was having a cookie epiphany this morning. What a relief to roll only enough dough to cut out one cookie at a time! Every one turned out perfectly. I can't wait to frost them. That's scheduled for tomorrow. I'll let you know how I do.

  77. […] Thanks to everyone who participated in our Home Baked Holidays Giveaway! Our winner was chosen at random. Congratulations to Lisa who commented “These look great. Can you share where you bought the snowflake cutter? It looks like the perfect size!” about our Professional Style Sugar Cookies. […]

  78. […] (adapted from Cooking With My Kid) […]

  79. 79.) Kelly
    December 24th, 2010

    My friend made these the other day, they were incredible! I'm going to try them out tomorrow 🙂

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