Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Let's All Make...

...sugar cookies! But which ones? You know a good one when you get it because you end up eating like three in a row and sneaking one inside a napkin in your purse. The kind that are not very golden, sort of thick and heavy, semi-chewy but not stick-in-your-teeth chewy, thinnish icing that is glossy and smooth on top and creamy underneath when you bite into it, and buttery as hell. Which ones are those!? Do you know? Does your mom maybe know?

108 Comments / Post A Comment

Hot Doom

Oh, Jane, what are you doing to me? This confirms that it's time for me to go back on my annual cookie diet (no, seriously), where I eat like 5 cookies in a row, feel queasy like my mom told me I would, stop eating for the rest of the day, until dinner, when I eat more cookies. Not that I have a problem or anything.

ANYWAY. I really like this sugar cookie recipe but I've not made the accompanying icing. I usually just google "royal icing", make the first recipe that comes up and leave out the lemon flavouring and replace it with almond or vanilla extract. COOKIES.


@LolaLaBalc We are on the saaaaaaaaaaame diet.

Hot Doom

@rachelrachel Ahhhh, glad I'm not alone on this one.

Also, I see my hyperlinking skillz need some help because my sugar cookie link didn't work. Must be from the shakes I'm getting from all the sugar. Sugar cookies for reals this time

ms. alex

@rachelrachel @LolaLaBalc Me too. Yesterday there were peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies. Today? Not so much.

tea tray in the sky.

@ms. alex I feel like destiny has brought me to this thread, because my boyfriend's mom made me peanut butter chocolate chip cookies (together as one kind of cookie though? I dunno if yours were one or two kind of cookies!) the other day, and she calls me "Miss Alex". Like your name! It's the same! Rhyming game!

Hot Doom

@Twinkle Little Bat This is ridiculous. My name is Alex too and I have been making chocolate peanut butter cup cookies (literally Reese's pureed, mixed with an egg and baked into glorious rounds of glory). This is weird.
Seriously you guys, this is the happiest thread of my life.

tea tray in the sky.

@LolaLaBalc Your cookies sound like the best ever cookies. Also, to the tune of a certain S-Club 7 song, there ain't no partay like an Alex partay.

ms. alex

@Twinkle Little Bat Um. I don't know why I said it like I did, but to clarify, yes, it was all one cookie dough. (Emphasis on "was.")

Alex party!


My mom knows! A consummate baker, she SWEARS by Betty Crocker's Mary's Sugar Cookies recipe.* She has a super old Betty Crocker cookie cookbook passed down from the women on her side of the family, and every year we bust that sucker out to make these cookies. They're the best. I think it's the confectioner's sugar + almond extract that makes them so good? But also feel free to add some vanilla extract. Ohhhh childhood memories.

*WHO IS MARY? My mom doesn't know THAT, and neither do I.


@emilylouise Yes! My mom has an old set of Betty Crocker books and also her mother's Joy of Cooking from like 1953 but I'm pretty sure she used BC's recipe.
Agh, everyone in the family got their own workstation around the dining room table and we would make so. many. cookies. Now I'm kinda sad not to be going home for the holiday. Guess I'll have to have a cookie making party at my own house!


@emilylouise I got that book for Christmas last year from my sister-in-law! I can't wait to try some of new cookie recipes. She makes the best bourbon balls and they will be all mine this year.

I usually make my grandma's sugar cookie recipe with a buttercream icing, but it makes a ton and I don't have the counter space for it this year.


@sox I am planning a cookie baking party on boxing day. It accidentally became a tradition three years ago when Christmas was Officially Ruined (long story). Everyone sort of accidentally ended up at my house, all shell shocked and traumatised. I was baking, because it's stress relief for me, and I missed out on Christmas cookies because of the Ruination. But I haaaate decorating, so I ended up pumping out the cookies while other people decorated them.

It was the most fun, and we've done it every year since, although scheduling is sometimes difficult. Which is why it's usually after christmas, which is a bit counter intuitive but also more relaxing.


@Craftastrophies Man, I am imagining terrible things with light-up reindeer involved in your mysterious Ruination.


@Craftastrophies Tell the story, tell the story!


@Inkcrafter Haha, it's actually not a funny story at all, I won't tell it because I don't want to bum you out. It was the year that Devocember was born, involving death, destruction and break ups on all the most important dates of the year.

And, of course, lightup reindeer.


@Craftastrophies Ohhh, I'm sorry! I didn't mean to be rude. I'm glad you got such a nifty tradition from it, however :)


@Inkcrafter Ha, it's no problem :) I just didn't want to be all like 'yes, and then Serious Things' [sad trombone]. Traditions are nice.


Oh my goodness yes. I grew up eating these cream cheese sugar cookies with buttercream frosting and will be loyal to them until I die.

one cow.

@Bettytron YES! We have a family recipe that is the only sugar cookie recipe we ever used, & it involves cream cheese. Come to think of it, it's probably just this recipe but it's written on an index card so we can be all FAMILY SECRET, WE MADE THIS UP. And always, ALWAYS homemade frosting. It's the easiest, & you can make any color!

Leah Klein@facebook

You NEED to make Julia Child's Sables (a french sugar cookie)! I couldn't find the recipe online but...MAN are they good. My mom swears by them, and would never in a million years dream of making anything else.

The recipe is in MtAoFC (Mastering the Art of French Cooking) as well as some of her other cook books.



You won't regret it.


@Leah Klein@facebook Yes, I adore sable cookies, they are the best possible kinds of butter cookies. I have never had a roll out/frost kind of sugar cookie that I felt was worth eating except for the sugar hit. Also, World Peace cookies, which are some of the BEST chocolate cookies, are a version of a sable.

Inspector Tiger

@Leah Klein@facebook Sables ftw! They are the best, dare I say bestest. I first tasted them in an imported french box and had to bake them, and they taste even better handmade (of course). Sadly my recipe is in german (from a swiss source, so not orignal french?), so I can't share.... But make them, everyone. You can also put so cocoa powder in them, or.... ginger! or orange peel. Oh how I love them, I think I have to make some RIGHT NOW.


@Inspector Tiger So Dorie Greenspan is one of my cookbook Queens, and here's her master recipe for sables. One thing that I love about them is that you can do everything, roll them into a log, and then roll it all up in parchment paper, plastic wrap and a freezer bag, and you can have cookies to slice and bake whenever.

Faintly Macabre

@thebestjasmine World Peace cookies are the BEST. (And the recipe's online somewhere, with approval from Dorie!) There's some kind of alchemy in that batter. And I think I creep people out with my vocal love for Dorie Greenspan, maybe because I always go on about how I want to steal her life... If you haven't tried it yet or if anyone reading makes them, mushing the dough in a saran-wrap-lined paper towel roll makes life SO much easier.


@Faintly Macabre I LOVE DORIE GREENSPAN TOO. My laptop desk right now is my beloved copy of Baking From My Home to Yours, and I think I keep it here so I always know where it is. Yeah, you can easily find the recipe online, and my advice is to not slice the cookies too thinly, and don't worry if the unbaked cookies fall apart, just mush them back together.

peachy lefever

ooh! ooh! I've got one. These are some mothafunkin' COOKIES. The recipe is vegan (errrrr...) but you can't tell...and I usually substitute real eggs/butter anyway.

This makes about 36 cookies.

1 cup margarine 3 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder
2 whole egg replacements (Ener-G) 1/4 cup tofu cream cheese (Tofutti)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar. Stir in the egg replacements and vanilla. Gradually add the flour, baking powder and tofu cream cheese. You may have to use your hands at this point to finish the mixing. Form the dough into a long loaf and wrap in cellophane. Refrigerate for a couple hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease the cookie sheets or use a non-stick foil.
3. On a lightly floured surface (we taped down a sheet of non-stick foil to our countertop instead), roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place about 1 inch apart cookie on sheets.
4. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes in the preheated oven, until bottoms and edges just start to get light brown. Remove from baking sheet and cool on wire racks. Store in an airtight container.

Each batch is enough to easily coat 24 cookies. We made four batches, one for each color.

2 cups confectioners' sugar 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract
6-8 teaspoons of soy milk (Silk Vanilla) Assorted food coloring
4 teaspoons of light corn syrup

1. In medium bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and soy milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
2. Add food coloring to desired intensity. Dip cookies and allow to dry overnight.


@peachy lefever ahh! I was just thinking last night that I needed to find a good vegan sugar cookie recipe! christmas magic!


@peachy lefever I am a pretty devout carnivore, in the sense that I eat a lot of wild game and fish, but I think vegan baking is so fun! So thanks for posting this. Do these bake up into that perfect combo of a little soft but still firm? But not crackery!

peachy lefever

@heyits YES! The cookies have that little bit of "give" when you bite into them and the icing gets kinda hard...i dunno. they're just really really good!

Hot Doom

Also, peppermint meltaways are not traditional sugar cookies but they are flipping delightful if you like minty, crumbly cookies. Plus, they DEMAND pink icing, so they're even better. In fact, the icing recipe that accompanies these guys is a good, basic glaze recipe if you omit the peppermint flavouring.

Christ. I need to be away from the internet for a little while. The Hairpin + Cookies= harder to break than a crack addiction.


@LolaLaBalc I could seriously just camp out at this baking post for the rest of the day. The Hairpin + Food = two of my favorite things in life.


@LolaLaBalc Thought you might be interested in the fact that I am TOTALLY GOING TO MAKE THESE tomorrow night, and am even purchasing a hand mixer and baking sheet for the task. SO EXCITE.


The Cook's Illustrated version of iced sugar cookies is pretty fab, but you have to add a tablespoon or two of butter into the icing. I also like to add some orange zest and some nutmeg to the cookie dough, because nothing says "holidays" like nutmeg all up in your fucking face.


@Yahtzii Nutmeg...more like AWESOMEMEG.


Nigella Lawson's recipe from How to be a Domestic Goddess is the one I use. Plain vanilla is what I normally do, but I've made a lemon and a St Clements version and both were good. They're quite crisp, though; not so much with the chewy.


These are my favorites: http://bakingbites.com/2005/12/soft-cutout-christmas-cookies/ They are soft but substantial, keep really well, are a little bit tangy from the buttermilk and a little bit almondy from the almond extract. Is it time to make them yet? I think it is.


This my favorite recipe -- ignore that this is the halloween version. I made these last year using my favorite "candle" cookie cutter (looks like a christmas phallus when baked) and they were unf unf unf. I did half with cream cheese frosting and half with super tart hard lemon icing. http://pinchmysalt.com/2007/11/01/the-never-too-late-for-ghost-sugar-cookies-recipe/


@christonacracker I am going to need to know what exactly a christmas phallus is, and how it differs from a regular phallus.


@cherrispryte Regular phalloi do not come with their own tinsel or mistletoe.


@wharrgarbl precisely. just a more festive phallus.

Hot Doom

@christonacracker Brings new meaning to the Festivus Pole. Festiphallus? Ew


@LolaLaBalc The ejaculate is green and red sugar sprinkles.


My mom totally knows. But she never makes them anymore. It's like a goddamn Christmas tragedy.


I don't know, sugar cookies just taste like disappointment to me. What about lace cookies? You know, if you can find a recipe that doesn't call for corn syrup.


I just made the Cook's Illustrated Chewy Sugar Cookies tonight for the first time, and they were amazingly good. I used the Chai Spice variation and the smell is unreal when they're cooking.


@Melusina I love Cook's Illustrated...I cannot wait to try their boozy pie crust (and everything else in their holiday baking guide....but especially the pie)


@Melusina I second the Cook's Illustrated version.

Faintly Macabre

@oodelally I've never made their crust, but their apple-cranberry pie recipe is SO GOOD.


@Faintly Macabre I am an apple-cranberry pie convert after making one for the first time for Thanksgiving (I used a recipe from Southern Living). It was so much work but it is just a heavenly combination. I did burn myself three times though, so anything that involves sauteing is on probation until I can become less accident-prone in the kitchen.

Faintly Macabre

@oodelally Ow! I made one last year, too, cobbling together two different recipes to make a pie that was good but not amazing. The Cooks Illustrated one does involve pre-cooking the cranberries in a saucepan, but you pre-cook the apples in the microwave, which is wonderfully easy. And the end result is so elegant! Man, I wish they were easily frozen...



HOLY SHIT THE COOK'S ILLUSTRATED CHEWY SUGAR COOKIES ARE SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOD. I just made them last night after reading this post and they were sooooooooooooooooo good. I think I have enough cream cheese to make another batch. Which is sooooooooooo good.


@Diana I know, right!!?! Better living through the Hairpin!

Tuna Surprise

Growing up, my mom had two cookbooks - Better Homes & Garden (circa 1971) and a 3 ring binder she used to collect recipes she cut out of the newspaper. The sugar cookie recipe was a cut-out and she to my mother it was basically an article of faith. One dark day, my brother took it out of the book to use it at a boy scout event and it was never seen again. Every year since we have to listen to the lament of the sugar cookie recipe. If I were a good daughter, I would spend hours at a microfiche reader trying to find that damn recipe. But alas...

Anyway, on a brighter note, go to NY Cake in Chelsea. Their cookie cutter collection overwhelms. It's not the 'original' recipe, but it still makes yo momma happy.


@Tuna Surprise This is how you know you're part of a family: someone has a longstanding, annually-repeated complaint about you.


@Tuna Surprise If I had to guess, your mom probably made the recipe enough times that she'd recognize it if she saw it again, and there are only so many popular sugar-cookie recipes out there. Not to excuse your brother's great cookie betrayal or anything, though.


@Tuna Surprise I love that place. I used to work right near there and amassed quite a collection of cookie cutters, colored sugars, and dragees of assorted sizes.


I'm not generally a fan of sugar cookies, and I don't like to eat iced ones because if I'm going to eat that much sugar, I would rather it be filled with chocolate or peanut butter or both. They're oh so pretty when decorated, but I find there are so many other amazing cookies to eat and bake. Perhaps the problem is most people bake them just to cut out pretty shapes and decorate with colorful icing and edible gems and sugary shit that adds no flavor that they don't bother to use a good cookie recipe. Sorry, can you tell I'm a baker who's not into decorating, which is why I don't bake pretty cakes (or sugar cookies). HOWEVER, Cook's Illustrated is very good and I like to add lemon zest/juice to the sugar cookie dough for added zing.

Faintly Macabre

@grammarqueen Agreed. I like my baked goods plain and delicious, preferably involving apples or chocolate. Though I mostly don't bake pretty cakes because every time I look at a recipe for icing, I want to cry. (I'm happy to eat it, though!)


@grammarqueen I'm usually in your school of thought. However, I have volunteered to bake for a theme, which means iced, specifically-decorated cookies, which makes this post *So Timely*. My favorite sugar cookie recipe is this one, which I have never dared to ice, since they are *So Awesome* by themselves. Also, if it makes it more palatable, they are closer to butter-cookies-with-sugar.


I love the kind from that store Cookie Bouquet. Thick and substantial and just almond-y enough. I want a recipe for that!

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

My family's sugar cookie recipe was not that great (SHOCKING, I know) but a few years back we switched it out for a more shortbread-y recipe and those, let me tell you, are delicious.
But we never really iced them. We put sprinkles on some ("for the kids") and left others naked. Is that weird?


@Rookie Yes! Shortbread! And no icing, ew.


I swear by this Martha Stewart recipe, but I think almost any recipe will do as long as you are a perfectionist through the process. Refrigerated dough, 1/4" thick when rolled out, parchment paper, taking the cookies out of the oven ASAP since you're watching them like a hawk = perfect sugar cookies.

http://tinyurl.com/7jql6q7 My personal favourite one.


It's not a sugar cookie, but Biscochitos are the real holiday cookie.


@Onymous yes! Who needs frosting when you have cinnamon sugar?


@faintly_macabre Exactly. New Mexicans, we know the score.


I make the best sugar cookies. They have a hint of lemon, just slightly chewy but crunchy at the same time.

bridget driessen@twitter

My momma always makes this recipe from Joy of Cooking:


It's delicious. I think the crowning touches are (in order of importance): cinnamon in the dough, cream cheese frosting, and red hots for reindeer noses.


These! These are the best! Even a little over-baked, these are always soft and awesome (and so good sandwiched with jam).


@silly*goose This recipe had me at "Decorating ideas: Ice with a sugar glaze then sandwich with Nutella between two cookies."

Judith Slutler

The answer is always Joy of Cooking's basic recipe!!!

But with lemon zest though.

Plus you can do the following: stamp out star cookies, then plop some jam onto one of them, sandwich another one on top, smoosh them together with a fork and some icewater like you would with pie crust, then cut a line down each star point toward the middle of the cookie so the jam shows through. SO PRETTY, especially with raspberry jam!

Cat named Virtute

@Emmanuelle Cunt Um, you have just worked out for me how I am going to make my A Queer Chick-inspired heart/vagina cookies. This is going to be amazing. Vulva-shaped cookies with heart-shaped openings!


Melting snowmen cookies! They're super fun to make and eat: http://www.crazydomestic.com/2010/12/melted-snowman-cookies.html


I will love every kind of sugar cookie you put in front of me unless it's the Pillsbury tube stuff. Which is, of course, all everyone brings in to work. Hate the texture, too cake-y.

Aunty Christ

My childhood neighbor was the food editor for Cooking Club of America. My mother didn't even bother making sweets for any holidays.
The cut-out sugar cookies my neighbor made were the best; I will update if I find her recipe somehow in my kitchen.


The Fanny Farmer Cookbook is the one I turn to for pretty much everything in life, but her sugar cookies are kind of bland. Maybe that's what Jane's looking for? I don't know. They are good with frosting. HOWEVER! I much, MUCH prefer Betty Crocker Cookbook cookies, and she does not disappoint in the sugar cookie realm.

Actually, the BCC also has some weird sugar cookie/Jell-O recipe, and it's kind of weirdly gross and good. It is so not what anyone would ever want (should probably stay in 1955 where it belongs), but they cookies are brightly colored, so there's that. I mayyyyy have made them for Valentine's Day, and I mayyyy have eaten them all by myself. Wah.


@cocokins Fanny Farmer! Makes me miss my mom. She's not dead, I feel compelled to clarify.



I have been consistently disappointed by Fannie Farmer over the years and the horrendous sugar cookie recipes were the last straw.

Sarah Partridge@twitter

joy of cooking! no doubt!


the thin and glossy icing is royal icing. it's basically egg white, powdered sugar and lemon juice.


My mom stopped baking after she had a stroke a few years ago, but she gave me her cookie cutter collection plus a few cake pans. At Christmastime, we always made the customary sugar cookies and gingerbread ones, but the crowning jewel in the Cookie Crown were the Chicago Crunch Chocolate Chip Cookies. I think she originally got the recipe from Woman's Day or Family Circle, but Recipeland.com has the recipe too!


i have insulin problems, so i can't eat cookies :*-(

Hello Dolly

@teenie I made cut-out cookies once using sugar-free jello for my diabetic father. They didn't retain the shape all that well but were very tasty (and fruity!) Would you be interested in the recipe? I seem to recall they were pretty easy to make.


@Spicy Bubbles yes! that sounds awesome! i'm always feeling left out at my boyfriend's family dinners - my family doesn't eat much in the way of sweets, but his lovely Italian family has all these amazing desserts, like bee cake, that cheesecakey thing that tony soprano is always talking about but i always mispronounce, pizzelle, etc etc etc. you can email it to me at ms dot mcgraw at gmail dot com. YAY!!!

Hello Dolly

@teenie Have you ever tried using Splenda for Baking? I have quite a few recipes using Splenda I'd be happy to pass along to you as well. My family is getting well versed in diabetic-friendly baking. I made an awesome pecan pie for a co-worker for Thanksgiving. You should have the recipe tonight, I'll email you when I get home from work.


@Spicy Bubbles I've tried baking with splenda, and I haven't been too stoked on the flavor. My issue isn't straight diabetes, it's a mild insulin resistance that turns my lady parts into a cystic mess if I don't follow a pretty healthy diet with few to no simple sugars. I've been told that agave is an alternative I can use, because of its low glycemic index, but I haven't met anyone with a good agave recipe (and I'm hesitant to use recipes that haven't been "tested" by someone I know - it seems that everyone has good tips after they do it once!)

Hello Dolly

I have a small business (meaning it's me baking in my apartment kitchen) making decorated sugar cookies, so I am already on the sugar cookie train. It's how I put my art degree to use! Royal icing is my medium.

Hello Dolly

@Spicy Bubbles The recipe I use for my cookies & icing is from the Cookie Craft book. If only I could make them look as good: http://www.amazon.com/Cookie-Craft-Techniques-Creative-Occasions/dp/1580176941


I am a Chocolate Fiend and prefer a simple chocolate cookie recipe that allows the cookies to be thin, cut-out-able, and decorate-able.

My favorite!


My mom is the keeper of the Secret Family Recipe, but they are THE BEST and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. Also, it freaks me out that people ice their sugar cookies. Colored sugar and/or sprinkles! Nothing else!


I just came here to say that chewy cookies are gross to me. I do not understand their appeal at all. The same with soft cookies. Crispy only, please!

But here's MY concern with sugar cookies: every recipe I've ever used does terribly if I try to do cut-out cookies! I keep the dough super cold, work in batches, cut out all my shapes, only to have them spread out into largely unidentifiable blobs in the oven. Only gingerbread seems to be able to keep its shape for me. Anyone have any tips on this front?

Hello Dolly

@SBGBlogs There might be too much butter? The recipe I use has 2 sticks of butter to 3 cups of flour & 1 cup of sugar.


I used to make really elaborate cookies until I realized they took me an average of ten minutes per cookie from start to finish, and the only person that TRULY appreciated them was my hairdresser.


@punkahontas I am appreciating your cookies so hard right now.


@carbonation Awww, thanks!


I feel slightly bloated from reading this thread but also am reading every recipe posted and figuring out just how many I can get away with trying.

I also LOVE gingerbread and these gingerbread chocolate chunk cookies are wonderful. Martha Stewart has been steering me right on my last few baking projects.


I really want to know how to make the sugar cookies from that cookie store in mall food courts. You know, the sugar cookies are super chewy and tangy-delicious with one million sprinkles baked in. Ideas, anyone?


I hope we have a post about gingerbread people cookies soon! I really want to make some as a gift to a special person, but I've never made/tasted them before. I'm basically stocking up on a lot of spices crossing my fingers for wisdom.


In case you guys wonder why I won't make any comments from here til Christmas it's because I'm busy trying ALL THE RECIPES to find the holy grail. See you next month. I'll be the fat one lightly dusted in powdered sugar.


@Diana The fat one dusted in powdered sugar is my FAVOURITE ONE!


I wrote my grocery shopping list today, and it is entirely comprised of things I need to bake cookies. I also wrote "Fruit?" on there but we all know that's not happening.

Emily Jayne Butler@facebook

Here's my mom's recipe: http://freshlygratedginger.blogspot.com/2010/12/christmas-cookies.html

You'll love it.


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