Everybody needs an easy, go-to rolled sugar cookie recipe that works every time. This one is mine and it hasn’t failed me yet.Jump to Recipe
I was a painfully shy kid. So shy, in fact, my kindergarten teacher assigned my mom to have parties for me so that I could learn how to better interact with groups of my peers.
Thus the tradition of the cookie baking party. Typically held around Christmas time, I would invite 3-4 of my friends over and we would bake and decorate these sugar cookies. My mom was a saint, making big batches of dough ahead of time and cleaning up the crazy mess of frosting and sprinkles afterward. But some of my best friend memories are from these cookie baking parties.
Now that I’m an auntie, I like to have little sugar cookie baking parties with the kiddos in my life. And I’m still using the same sugar cookie recipe (modified just a bit by using real butter in place of the original margarine). These are also my go-to for making fancy cookies for parties with grown-ups as well. They taste great with a basic powdered sugar glaze or buttercream, or royal icing. It just depends on what your heard desires. They roll easily, bake up nice and flat, and if you chill the dough ahead of time, the spread is minimal.
So go ahead, and have a cookie baking party of your own. I promise, the memories made are well worth the mess.
Tips For Cookie Baking With Kids
- If possible, have enough rolling pins for all the kids. Or at least more than one rolling pin. I made this mistake with both sets of kids I had cookie baking parties with this year. The same goes for having multiple cookie sheets.
- Put sprinkles in separate containers. A muffin pan lined with cupcake wrappers works really well for this. I have a lot of sprinkle containers that don’t have tops with holes so for young kids, they just dump half the jar of sprinkles out on their cookie. Also, I have found they sometimes just take a mouthful straight from the jar. So germ wise, having a separate container is a good idea.
- Don’t use cookie cutters with narrow parts. Nothing makes a kid cry like their cookie breaking. Using a cookie cutter with narrow parts is asking for the cookie to break. If your cookie breaks before baking, you can rub it back together. If it breaks after baking, do as my dad always did and shove it in your mouth and hand them another cookie.
- Prepare your dough and frosting before the party. It depends on the age of your kids, but I find that attention spans are sometimes short. Nobody wants to wait an hour for the dough to chill. Have it ready. You don’t have to color your icing beforehand though, cause you need something to do while the cookies are baking.
- Roll the cookies thicker than you think you should. See #3 about kids crying over broken cookies. A thicker cookie means it is less likely to break with little people handling it. They will take slightly longer to bake but it will be worth it.
- Have plenty of containers for them to take the cookies home. If you are inviting friends, have them bring their own containers, otherwise spring for some cheap containers because the kiddos will want to take and share their creations with others.
- Have fun. For real. Don’t stress about the mess (and it will be an unholy mess), the memories are worth it.
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/4 cup butter softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- If using a stand mixer, fit with paddle attachment. Cream together shortening and butter until completely mixed.
- Add in the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
- Add in eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined. Add in vanilla and beat until combined.
- With the mixer on slow speed, add in the baking powder and flour. Mix until just combined.
- Cover and chill dough for at least an hour.
- Turn out dough on a floured surface and roll dough 1/8″ thick. Cut cookies with desired cookie cutters. Place cookies on parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes or until bottom is brown and the brown is creeping up the edges. The tops of the cookies should not be shiny at all.
- Allow to cool completely. Frost and decorate as desired.
- These cookies don’t spread too much, but if you don’t want any spreading, chill cut out cookies for 5-10 minutes before baking. This is more necessary for cut-outs with finer details.
- The number of cookies this recipe makes obviously depends on the size of your cookie cutters.
- This dough can chill in the fridge for up to 3 days and can be frozen for a couple of months. To freeze the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and then place in a freezer safe ziplock bag.
- 10-12 tablespoons water
- 6 tablespoons meringue powder
- 8 cups powdered sugar 2 pound bag
- If using a stand mixer, fit with paddle attachment.
- Put powdered sugar and meringue powder in bowl. Add 7 tablespoons water. Start mixing on LOW speed until all ingredients are combined and moistened. Scrape down the sides.
- Add 2 more tablespoons water and mix to combine. Scrape down the sides. Turn speed of mixer up to medium high. Beat for 7 minutes.
- Turn speed of mixer up to medium high. Beat for 7 minutes. Scrape down the sides. If the icing is too thick, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time and beat to combine. You can’t take the water out so don’t put too much in at a time.
Here are some cookie decorating ideas if you’re looking:
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