Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Best Ever Sugar Cookies

Peering into the bakery display window at the age of 5, the items are all set for perfect eye level viewing.  Brightly colored and beautifully decorated sugar cookies beg for attention and even at that age I stood in awe at the artistic ability of the creative bakers.  Displaying seasonal works of art like turkeys for Thanksgiving, perfectly pink hearts for Valentines, or ornately decorated Christmas Trees for the holidays, I wanted them all.

Some 20 years later as I sat in my own kitchen contemplating the holidays and decided decorated sugar cookies were in order.  How hard could they be??  But without the internet at hand, I turned to cookbooks and unfortunately my choice in recipes was anything but proper.  While tasty, the recipe produced plumped, yet very soft cookies which did not bode well for decorating.  Repeat similar stories over the next few years, and you see me giving up on sugar cookies.

I gave up, that is, until I found the perfect recipe.  Have you been In Katrina's Kitchen??  If you haven't, a visit is definitely recommended.  A tag line of "Where dessert is always served first", Katrina's Kitchen begged me to sit down for a while and enjoy.  With her house full of hungry boys, Katrina provides ultimate treat after ultimate treat and has me ready to thing about putting in a request for adoption.

But back to the sugar cookies - Katrina has provided absolutely the best recipe ever.  Her description of:

Comes together quickly.
Does NOT need to be chilled.
Can be doubled, halved, etc easily.
Holds its shape with very little expanding when baked.

solved my numerous issues, and her description is perfectly accurate.  Using this perfect recipe multiple times over the last year, we've probably baked near 1,000 cookies, and much as I hate to admit it, I've received all the accolades. I've printed the recipe for friends, but I think it's time Katrina receives her due credit.

Dough shaped into discs and frozen
As the holidays approach, already limited time becomes even more limited with holiday events popping daily onto our calendars.  While we may try to plan ahead, the best laid plans don't always work out as, well... planned.  Hence, it's never a bad idea to have some sort of dough waiting in the freezer for last minute events or simply a rainy day in need of a treat.

Now, Katrina's awesome sugar cookie dough doesn't need to be chilled, but our experiment showed that the dough can indeed be frozen and used at a later date without issue.  Baking for Liv's dance team's fundraiser of an afternoon tea put no less than 5 batches of different baked goods on my docket, and making this dough a week early and freezing it put me ahead of the game.  On baking day I simply removed the dough from the freezer a few hours before baking and when I was ready, so was the dough.

While Katrina's recipe has made me a cookie hero, unfortunately my lack of artistic skills have left our cookies anything but designer.  However, even a simply glaze and a dash of sprinkles elicits oohs and ahhs as soon as the plate reach the table.  These beauties were a hit at the tea, and have already been requested for future events.  Katrina, thanks for making me shine!

Instagram from cookie baking day.  X for Xcalibur Dance Team!
Best Ever Sugar Cookies
From In Katrina's Kitchen, we've made nearly 1,000 of these cookies for various bake sales, dance events and simply for fun.  The recipe works exactly as described and comes out perfect every time.  My cookie cutter collection is growing!

(Click the link above to see the recipe)

A portion of our baking for another dance fundraiser
powdered sugar
vanilla extract
almond Extract
food dye
Sprinkles or nonpareils to decorate

Ingredient amounts will vary depending on the size of your cookie batch, however a good start is about 3/4 to 1 cup powdered sugar.  Add 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp almond extract.  Add food dye and whisk.  Add water very slowly 1 Tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is achieved.

Liv Life note:  I'm not a fan of food dye, but I have to admit the bright colors make the cookies simply stunning.  Some dyes will add a "dye" flavor, and to cover that up I usually add 1/4 tsp additional almond extract if necessary.  Purely depends on your desires.

Xcalibur Dance Team performing the San Diego Diabetes Walk


  1. Wow! Those are impressive accolades for a sugar cookie! :-) I haven't had a good one in ages and am very excited to try yours...errr...Katrina's. :-)

    1. Thank for the kudos!! ;) I'll share them with katrina...!!!

  2. Kim you did such a nice job!!! They look awesome!

    1. Thanks Raven! They were as good as they looked... these are one of my most requested desserts!

  3. I am so trying this recipe. I don't have a huge cookie repertoire so when someone endorses a recipe I take it. Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever tried sugar cookies at home. Love your Xcalibur cookies!

  4. I love a good sugar cookie and they are so much fun to decorate!! Yours are fantastic!!!

  5. I love a sugar cookie recipe that doesn't need chilling. Yet you can still freeze it when make ahead of time. Such versatility! And I love your decoration. I can see why these are popular at bake sales!

  6. I LOOOOOOVE the cookies!! So pretty! I will definitely use Katrina's recipe in the coming weeks...she really has it down to a tee!

  7. That's so frustrating - so glad you found the perfect recipe! The purple Xcaliber cookies are perfect and the girls are sooo beautiful!

  8. Kim you are way too generous with your kind words! Thank you so so very much for writing this post and for sharing my recipe with your readers. I am truly honored. Your cookies are gorgeous!

  9. Your cookies look great! Your daughter is one lucky lady. Looks like she is as talented on the dance floor as her mom is in the kitchen =)

  10. I love that table filled with decorated sugar cookies and I can appreciate all the time and effort that went into making all of those dozens. I'll have to try this recipe. I have a favorite standby from Bridget of the blog Bake at 350. I love any excuse to bake sugar cookies and freezing the dough ahead of time is a great idea!

  11. Your cookies look and sound great.

  12. This sounds like the sugar cookie for me, especially since it does not need to be refrigerated. I love the idea of having cookie dough in the freezer, ready to thaw out whenever the mood strikes you. And your decorating skills look pretty darn good to me :)

  13. These look lovely! It's always nice to have a good sugar cookie recipe in your repertoire. :)

  14. Holy wow look at all those decorated cookies! I am seriously impressed! Sorry I took so long getting to commenting this month--which is silly because I visited all the cookies when they were shared to the FB page so I knew how fabulous they all were! For me the holidays are not totally the holidays unless some sugar cookies are being painted! Great choice!


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