Friday, February 12, 2016

The Best Soft Sugar Cookies

I consider myself to be somewhat of a connoisseur of sugar cookies.  I have sampled more than a few different varieties in my lifetime and I definitely know what I like.  While sugar cookies decorated with royal icing can be absolutely gorgeous, I don't think they taste nearly as good as a tall, super soft cookie piled high with homemade buttercream frosting.  My sweet grandma has the BEST sugar cookie recipe and (sucking in a gasp of air) I'm going to share the recipe with you today!

I have a few quick tips to share with you as well.  First of all, you're going to think this is a strange recipe since it calls for sour milk.  What on earth?!  I don't keep sour milk around, and I'm sure none of the rest of you do either.  You can make your milk curdle by adding a little vinegar.  The recipe calls for 1/2 cup and so I usually pour in 1/3 cup of milk and then add the vinegar until it hits 1/2 cup.  You should see your milk go clumpy, and once you have added it, it will leave a nice nasty residue on the glass.

When you are adding in your dry ingredients and milk, add about 1/3 of the each at a time and alternate.  Once all your ingredients are in you can empty out the dough onto a floured counter top.  I live in a high altitude and so I always have to add extra flour.  Usually 3/4 to one cup extra.  You can tell if you dough needs more flour if it is sticking to you hands.  No bueno!
If you want a nice tall cookie, you have to start with tall dough.  I roll mine out to be about 1/4 to 1/3 inch.  And you won't be able to use those cute little cutters that leave impressions.  You need to use a simple, open top cutter that will go all the way through the dough.
Be sure to leave room for your cookies to rise and expand when you place them on the cookie sheet.  

Since I cut them out pretty thick, I had to bake them for a few minutes extra.  Every oven is different, so I would recommend setting the timer for 8 minutes like the recipe says and then checking on them.  You don't want them to turn brown, but the should lift easily off the pan and not be too soft in the centers.  I baked this batch for 11 minutes.

Now for the frosting.  Make whaever kind you like or use store bought if you must (it will not taste nearly as good though).  My mom has always put a little mint extract in the frosting so that is what we love at our house.

Whatever you do, don't be shy with the frosting!  I like a good thick layer but at the same time not so much that it overpowers the cookie.  I just used a butter knife to spread on the frosting.
 You could call it good here if you want.  They look delicious!  I was taking these to my family and friends, so I wanted to fancy them up a bit.  I started by smoothing out the bumps on the frosting.  All you need is a piece of wax paper and a fondant smoother or something similar that has a broad flat surface.  Apply gentle pressure and rub in small circles to smooth out the lumps and bumps.

They aren't perfectly smooth like a poured icing would be, but I'd take the delicious soft frosting any day over a thin layer of hard royal icing. 
Next I cleaned up the edges by using the back edge of my butter knife and running it at an angle along all sides of the cookie.
See?  Nice and smooth.
I got out my piping bag and used a couple of different decorating tips to make some borders and designs.  I used a small star tip to do a shell border.  You just hold the piping bag at a right angle to your cookie and lift up and then pull down.
To make a wider border I used a slightly larger star tip and wiggled it back and forth quickly as I traced the shape of the heart.
I used a medium-sized circle tip to make a polka dot border, a freehand swirl border and a "love" script.

Have fun with it!  They' just going to get eaten after all :)
Just take a look at that tall, elegant beauty!
So are you ready for the recipe?  Just click HERE and enjoy!


  1. Wendy thank you for sharing. I have been on the lookout for a good sugar cookie recipe. I like them big and thick but find most recipes are so bland and tasteless. I think the sour milk gives these cookies a yummy tangy flavor. Loved how soft they were as well. I put a little orange zest into the cookies and it hit the spot. Thanks for sharing your family secret recipe, it is definitely a winner.

    1. Thanks Clyda! I'm so glad you liked them :) The orange zest is a great idea!