Frosted Sugar Cookie Cut Outs
These soft and delicious frosted sugar cookie cut outs couldn’t be easier to make! My recipe requires no dough chilling time, so you can bake and enjoy your fun creations without waiting.
One of my family’s favorite holiday traditions every year is to make and decorate sugar cookies. The kids love it, and truthfully, so do I! I mean, who doesn’t love a homemade vanilla sugar cookie topped with fluffy frosting?
These frosted sugar cookie cut outs are a variation of my popular no-chill, no-roll easy sugar cookies. And while this recipe obviously is meant to be rolled out and cut with cookie cutters, it still requires no chilling time, which is a game changer! No waiting, no planning ahead required— these delicious cookies can be made and enjoyed in a single setting.
I know you’ll love them as much as we do!
Why This Cookie Dough Doesn’t Require Chilling
There are 2 reasons why this recipe doesn’t require chilling:
- Reduced butter. Cookie dough with a large amount of butter needs to be chilled so that it doesn’t cause the cookies to spread too much as they bake. So this recipe has only ¾ of the butter most sugar cookies call for. And they still taste amazing!
- Addition of powdered sugar. Chilling cookie dough also gives the gluten in the dough time to relax creating a softer cookie, and allows the flour to absorb some of the moisture in dough which also prevents spreading. The powdered sugar in this recipes combats both of these issues: it helps the cookies stay soft, and powdered sugar contains cornstarch, which helps with excess moisture.
So let’s get baking, shall we?
Ingredients You’ll Need
Here’s what you’ll need for the cookies:
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
- Powdered sugar
- Vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour
- Baking soda
- Cream of tarter
In addition, for the frosting you’ll also need:
- Heavy cream
- Almond extract
- Gel food coloring
How to Make Frosted Sugar Cookie Cut Outs
1. Prepare cookie dough. Cream butter and sugars with the vanilla, then mix in the egg, and finally the dry ingredients. (See my post on the creaming method where I walk you through all of these steps in depth.)
2. Form dough into a disk and use right away! The cookie dough will be thick and almost crumbly. Dump it onto a lightly floured surface and massage it into a disk and it will come together.
3. Roll and cut. Use a rolling pin to roll dough out to about ¼ of an inch thick, and up to ½ an inch for super thick cookies. Make sure to add more flour as needed to the surface underneath and to the top of the dough to keep it from getting sticky. Use cookie cutters to cut dough into desired shapes.
Gather scraps back into a disk and re-roll and cut until dough is used up. (Note: if you add too much flour the scraps will be too dry to come back together. Use only as much as needed.)
4. Freeze cookie cutouts if you want. If you used an intricate cookie cutter, or want extra insurance that your cookies won’t spread and disfigure in the oven, freeze cut out dough on a parchment lined sheet pan for 15 minutes before baking. During recipe development I saw virtually no difference between baked cookies that had been frozen or not. You can always bake a test cookie first to see how it turns out.
5. Bake. Bake cookies at 350°F for about 8-12 minutes. The time will vary greatly based on the shapes and sizes of your cookies and if you rolled them extra thick or not. The cookies shown in this post are about 4-inches in size and took exactly 11 minutes.
Cookies are done when they are puffed and the tops look completely dry. Cookies baked until the edges are lightly browned will be slightly crisp. Again, bake a test cookie to see how it turns out!
6. Frost and decorate. Now comes the fun part! I frost these cookies with my favorite whipped vanilla buttercream frosting, which everyone always goes nuts for. Color the frosting with gel food coloring as you like, and decorate however you want with sprinkles, etc.
How I Frosted These Cookies
Here’s how I decorated my frosted sugar cookie cut outs— I used a piping bag with a small round tip to pipe a border around the edges of each cookie, then piped some frosting inside the border. Then I used a flat spatula to spread the frosting in the middle casually until I was happy with how it looked. That way the edges of the frosting had clean lines, but it didn’t require much effort. I’m definitely not much of a pro when it comes to decorating with frosting, but I have found a few ways to make it look like I know what I’m doing.
No matter how these frosted sugar cookie cut outs are decorated, don’t worry because they will still taste amazing! And that’s the most important part, right?
Additional Tips for this Recipe
- Starting with butter at the right temperature is key! Butter should be soft enough that a pressed finger will leave an indent, but not soft enough that your finger can press all the way through. If it’s shiny or melty at all, the butter is too warm and your cookies may spread.
- Be sure to measure flour correctly! All of my recipes are tested using the spoon and level method (more info through that link).
- These pre-cut parchment sheets are perfect for cookie baking.
- Gel food coloring is preferred over liquid food coloring to get more vibrant colors without adding additional liquid. Look for gel food coloring at baking or craft supply stores, or online.
- If you don’t have a piping bag and tip, follow this tutorial for how to use a plastic ziplock bag instead.
- Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for several days. They also freeze really well, both frosted and unfrosted!
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Frosted Sugar Cookie Cut Outs
For the cookies:
- ¾ cup unsalted butter (170 grams), at room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
- ½ cup powdered sugar (112 grams)
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (270 grams)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
For the frosting:
- ½ cup unsalted butter (113 grams), softened to room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar (450 grams), sifted
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- Pinch of salt
- 1-3 tablespoons heavy cream
- Food coloring (optional)
- Sprinkles (optional)
To make the cookies:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a bowl with a hand-held mixer, beat the butter, sugars and vanilla together until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the egg andand mix until just combined.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cream of tartar. Add to the mixer and mix on low until combined. Mixture will be crumbly at first, but will eventually come together into a thick dough.
- Dump onto a clean surface and massage the dough a bit until it comes together. Shape into a disk.
- With a rolling pin, roll dough out to about ¼ inch thick (up to ½ inch for super thick cookies), adding more flour to your work surface and to the dough as needed to keep it from sticking.
- Cut dough out with cookie cutters into desired shapes and transfer to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, leaving several inches of space between each cookie.
- If desired, freeze cookies on the pan for 15 minutes (this is extra insurance that your cookies will no spread and lose their shape while baking, but is not required).
- Bake until cookies are puffed and the tops appear completely dry, about 8-12 minutes. Baking time will vary based on size of the cookies (see Notes). Let cool on the pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a sheet pan to cool completely.
To make the frosting:
- Beat the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract, pinch of salt and heavy cream on medium speed until combined. Increase speed to high and beat until smooth and very fluffy.
- Add food coloring to frosting if you like. Frost cookies and decorate as desired.
- To make Almond Sugar Cookies: Substitute 1 teaspoon almond extract for the vanilla extract in the cookies. Omit vanilla in frosting and increase almond extract to 1/2 teaspoon.
- If you wait for the edges of the cookies turn brown, they are already a little overdone. What I do when I try a new cookie recipe is I bake one test cookie, checking it often. And then I bake the rest when I determine the correct baking time. These cookies turned out with a barely golden bottom at exactly 12 minutes in my oven.