Helllllooo my people! I know we’re a little after the [Valentine’s Day] fact here, but these cookies were too good not to share. And, let’s be honest, it is ALWAYS a good time to have a no-fail sugar cookie recipe.
I have a confession to make. I have kind of a love/hate relationship with decorated sugar cookies. On the one hand, they are SO cute, and they make every person smile. On the one hand, they CAN be a little tedious, and I get impatient with overly elaborate piping, so I tend to keep it simple. Basically, when I make cut-out sugar cookies, I need them to be delicious, adorable, and almost perfect.
When I worked at the bakery, we made millions of decorated cookies, year-round, and my piping skills got pretty serious. You don’t need to be a professional to make really great-looking sugar cookies though. You only need to know one small trick: the OUTLINE. The trick is to make your icing, then place about 1/4 of it in a small bowl, and add more powdered sugar to it to thicken it up. You pipe the outline around the perimeter of the cookie using the thick royal icing, and let it dry for about 20 minutes. This creates a wall, and you fill in the outline with the thinner icing, and it makes a seamless, smooth finish.
When I found Molly Yeh’s recipe for Soft Almond Sugar Cookie Cut-outs, I fell in love before I even made them because they had almond flour and lemon zest, and I just knew they were going to be next-level amazing. I adapted the dough and icing recipes just slightly, and this is definitely going to be my go-to Sugar Cookie recipe from now on. This really goes without saying, but Koby and the kids are pretty obsessed with these cookies, so you’ll definitely be seeing more iterations and shapes on my Insta coming up!
Almond Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs
adorable soft-baked almond sugar cookie cut-outs with almond icing and all the sprinkles
- 3 1/2 c all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 1/3 c almond flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 c salted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 c granulated sugar
- 2/3 c powdered sugar
- zest from 1/2 of a lemon
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Royal Icing:
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 c light corn syrup
- 1/3 C whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- pinch of kosher salt
- food coloring (optional)
- Step 1 In a medium bowl, combine the flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and the sugars until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add in the lemon zest and eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Then add the almond and vanilla extracts.
- Step 2 Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, mixing until blended. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, so that all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Refrigerate dough for about 20 minutes, while you preheat the oven and make the icing.
- Step 3 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or a silicone mat and set aside. working with half of the dough at a time, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to 1/2” thick. Cut out your shapes and then transfer to a baking sheet, 1″ apart. Re-roll scraps and dust with a bit more flour to prevent sticking. Bake until just barely golden brown on the bottom, about 10-11 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes and then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Step 4 Icing: Whisk together the powdered sugar, corn syrup, 1/3 C milk, vanilla, almond extract, salt, and a few drops of food coloring until smooth. The icing should be just thin enough that when you lift up your spoon it falls off in smooth ribbons. Remove 1/4 of the icing in a smaller bowl and add 1/3-1/2 c more powdered sugar, so that the mixture is thickened up. Place the thickened icing in a piping bag and snip off 1/4″ tip. Pipe around the perimeter of your cookies to make an outline. Let dry for 15-20 minutes (while you pipe the rest of the outlines). Use the remaining thinner icing to fill in the outlines with a spoon, knife or offset spatula, and top with sprinkles immediately before the glaze dries. Let dry completely, and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
*Recipe adapted from Molly Yeh’s Soft Almond Sugar Cookie Cut-outs