To celebrate my beloved candy cookbook, I made candy shaped sugar cookies. This is not a recipe in the book. Rather, it’s my favorite sugar cookie dressed up for the cookbook celebration. The sugar cookies recipe is my go-to recipe when I want to make festive cookie cutter cookies for holidays, parties, and other events. They have soft centers, crisp edges, a flat surface for decorating, simple ingredients, and the cookie dough holds its shape when baked.
This is a sugar cookie recipe you need to try.
How to Make Candy Sugar Cookies
The cookie dough comes together with easy ingredients like butter, flour, sugar, 1 egg, and not much else. Make sure you use proper room temperature butter and that it’s not melted in the slightest. You should be able to lightly press your finger into the stick of butter and easily make an indent without your finger sliding anywhere.
The cookie dough will be thick, slightly sticky, and a little crumbly. Very important: This sugar cookie dough requires 1-2 hours of chilling. Once the sugar cookie dough is prepared, divide it in half, shape into balls, then roll each to about 1/4 inch thickness before chilling.
Chilling is mandatory for 2 reasons:
- Keeps the butter cold to help prevent spreading.
- Gives the gluten in the flour a chance to rest.
Chill the Dough *After* Rolling
As you notice, I chill the cookie dough in the refrigerator AFTER rolling it out. This is my handy trick and I highly recommend you do the same. This method is much easier than chilling the cookie dough as a whole and then trying to roll out a cold chunk of dough. That never seems to work in our favors!
Depending on their size, the cookies take a quick 10 minutes in the oven.
I used this adorable candy cookie cutter.
Decorating Candy Sugar Cookies
Decorating these candy sugar cookies is the best part. I have TWO sugar cookie icing recipes. After reading about each, choose whichever works best for you.
- Favorite Royal Icing: This classic royal icing is easy to use, dries within 1-2 hours, and doesn’t taste like hardened cement. (Rather, it’s on the softer side!) I make it with meringue powder. Meringue powder eliminates the need for fresh egg whites which is a common ingredient in royal icing. You can find meringue powder in some baking aisles, most craft stores with a baking section, and online. The trickiest part is landing on the perfect royal icing consistency, but I provide a video in the royal icing recipe to help you.
- Easy Glaze Icing: You can find my easy glaze icing recipe paired with my Christmas sugar cookies. It’s what I used to decorate the pictured cookies. This icing is easier to make than royal icing because you don’t an electric mixer and the consistency won’t really make or break the outcome. However, it takes a full 24 hours to completely dry.
If you make my easy glaze icing, use a squeeze bottle to decorate the cookies. This makes decorating so easy.
Sweet like candy. ♥Print
- 2 and 1/4 cups (281g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional, but makes the flavor outstanding)*
- Set aside enough time (and enough counter space!) to make these cookies. The cookie dough needs to chill, the cookies need to cool completely, and the icing needs 1 day to completely set. If hardened icing isn’t a concern, you’ll only need about 4 hours to make these.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until completely smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract (if using) and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. Dough will be relatively soft. If the dough seems too soft and sticky for rolling, add 1 Tablespoon more flour.
- Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Place each portion onto a piece of lightly floured parchment paper or a lightly floured silicone baking mat. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness. The rolled-out dough can be any shape, as long as it is evenly 1/4-inch thick.
- Stack the pieces, with parchment paper or a light dusting of flour between the two, onto a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours and up to 2 days.
- Once chilled, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Remove one of the dough pieces from the refrigerator and using a candy cookie cutter, cut into shapes. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used. Repeat with 2nd piece of dough.
- Arrange cookies on baking sheets 3 inches apart. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. If your oven has hot spots, rotate the baking sheet halfway through bake time. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
- Decorate the cooled cookies with my easy glaze icing using a squeeze bottle. Feel free to tint either icing with gel food coloring. Icing sets completely in about 24 hours. No need to cover the decorated cookies as you wait for the icing to set. If it’s helpful, decorate the cookies directly on a baking sheet so you can stick the entire baking sheet in the refrigerator to help speed up the icing setting.
- Enjoy cookies right away or wait until the icing sets to serve them. Once the icing has set, these cookies are great for gifting or for sending. Plain or decorated cookies stay soft for about 5 days when covered tightly at room temperature. For longer storage, cover and refrigerate for up to 10 days.
- Freezing Instructions: Plain or decorated sugar cookies freeze well up to 3 months. Wait for the icing to set completely before layering between sheets of parchment paper in a freezer-friendly container. To thaw, thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature. You can also freeze the cookie dough for up to 3 months before rolling it out. Prepare the dough through step 4, divide in half, flatten both halves into a disk as we do with pie crust, wrap each in plastic wrap, then freeze. To thaw, thaw the disks in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature for about 1 hour. Roll out the dough as directed in step 5, then chill rolled out dough in the refrigerator for 45 minutes – 1 hour before cutting into shapes and baking.
Keywords: sugar cookies, candy sugar cookies