Perfect Holiday Sugar Cookies

There are only like five days left until Christmas. How did that happen? The older I get, the less time it seems to take for holidays to arrive. Maybe it’s because I have to buy everyone a proper gift and not make beautiful homemade cards. But in all honesty, calling them beautiful is quite a stretch. I’m not going to lie.

Anyway. Time for sugar cookies. This is our family go to recipe. They are perfect for decorating, because they have a nice flat surface and they keep their shape while baking. These cookies are perfect, simple, buttery, and crisp. Not like rock-hard crisp, but not flimsy or chewy. They are great on their own, but they are also a perfect vehicle for any type of frosting.

Irresistible, easy, delicious, and adorable.


  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks) at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2  1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until thoroughly mixed, then beat on a higher setting until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until well combined.
  2. Add the flour and salt and beat until the dough begins to form into one large clump. Divide the dough into three sections, flatten them a bit, and refrigerate for an hour.
  3. Take one dough portion out onto a floured surface and roll it until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Cut out desired shapes, and place them on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper (I think a bare sheet would work just fine too). Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 7-9 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Be warned-these cook quickly.
  4. Place baked cookies on a cooling rack and repeat step three with the remaining portions of dough. Let the cookies cool entirely before decorating them.

Royal Icing:

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon meringue powder
  • 5-8  tablespoons of water
  • Pinch of salt (Optional)
  1. Pour the powdered sugar and meringue into a large bowl. Mix, then start adding water by the tablespoon until you reach desired consistency. Add food coloring if you want colorful frosting. Who doesn’t want colorful frosting?
  2. Put icing into decorating bags and decorate to your heart’s content. You can also just smear it on if you don’t care how they look.

You can store these cookies (once they’re dry) in an airtight container for up to three days. They won’t rot or anything, it is just likely that they will begin to soften.

They probably won’t last that long anyway.


I got this cookie recipe from Sunset magazine in the December 2004 section. I don’t who wrote it, but I don’t want to take credit for something I didn’t write. Thank you Sunset! We have had this recipe torn out of the magazine for about 11 years. They are gross looking pages.

The frosting was created from my very own brain. Yay me.