Perfectly soft snowflake sugar cookies that are so much fun to bake with kids. Decorate them with a simple royal icing, sprinkles, or whatever your heart desires!
These snowflake sugar cookies are the perfect cutout Christmas cookies that bake up soft, hold their shape, and taste buttery & sweet just as they should. Decorate them with a super simple royal icing without egg whites, lots of sprinkles, and anything else that would make them festive enough to leave out for Santa! These truly are the best cutout sugar cookies that hold their shape but also have a delicious soft, buttery texture that's good enough to eat on their own. I hope these make your christmas cookie to-bake list this year! And if you're in need of some Christmas cookie gift box ideas, I have an entire post dedicated to one here!
- All-Purpose Flour: You'll need exactly 2 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour, but I beg of you please weigh your flour to 270g with a scale. Trust me, it's worth it. Without a scale, you run the risk of adding too much flour, which leads to dry crumbly cookies, or you'll add too little flour and your cookies will spread too much.
- Leavener: I like to add ¼ teaspoon of baking powder to make them even softer, but they bake up just fine without it!
- Unsalted Butter: Since there are very few ingredients in sugar cookies, most of the flavor comes from the butter, which is why it is so so important to use high-quality unsalted butter.
- Sugar: You'll need one whole cup of granulates sugar.
- Egg: You'll need just one egg.
- Vanilla: I like to add a healthy pour of vanilla paste, but other great flavors include almond extract, lemon zest, and even warm spices.
- Powdered Sugar: You'll need about 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar for the royal icing.
- Meringue Powder: Meringue powder makes the royal icing a perfect pipeable consistency that will set in just a few minutes.
See recipe card for full information on ingredients and individual quantities.
Step by Step Instructions
Here are step by step photos and instructions on how to make this snowflake sugar cookie recipe! For the full ingredient list and method, see the recipe card at the end of this post.
STEP 1: Mix dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
STEP 2: Mix wet ingredients. In a bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar for 1-2 minutes. Next, beat in the egg and vanilla.
STEP 3: Combine wet and dry. Scrape down the bowl and add in the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Do not over mix!
STEP 4: Shape and chill. Shape the dough into a flat disk and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to overnight.
STEP 5: Make snowflakes. On a lightly floured surface (or between two floured pieces of parchment paper), roll out ⅓ of the cookie dough to about ¼" thick. Keep the rest of the cookie dough in the fridge. Cut out as many snowflakes as you can with a cookie cutter. Shape the remaining cookie dough into a disk and refrigerate for a few minutes if has become too warm, then re-roll and continue cutting out until all dough is used up.
STEP 6: Freeze and bake. Place cookie dough on the prepared baking sheets about an inch apart and freeze for at least 15 minutes. Then, bake the cookies for about 10 minutes until barely golden around the edges. Allow to cool completely before decorating with royal icing.
Be sure to chill the dough for at least an hour to give it time to rest and firm up into a dough that can be rolled out. I recommend flouring two pieces of parchment paper and rolling out a small amount of the dough between the paper. This will ensure that the dough doesn't stick to the counter or the rolling pin. Plus, it's much easier to clean up!
This largely depends on the butter to flour ratio in the recipe (I assure you that it's right in this recipe😉).
But here is my #1 rule when baking any type of cutout cookie:
Once dough is cut out, place each of them in the freezer for at least 15 minutes before baking. They'll come out perfect every time!
Here my top 5 tips for decorating sugar cookies with royal icing -
1. Whip the royal icing with an electric mixer until it's thick enough to pipe.
2. Use a very small round piping tip with a piping bag.
3. Practice a few times on parchment paper or the ugly cookies.
4.. When filling in a whole cookie, outline it first then fill in most of the center. Use a toothpick to fill in the gaps and even it out.
5. When layering designs, allow the bottom layer to dry completely before piping on top designs.
Baking in Grams
All of the recipes on this blog are carefully developed with gram measurements so you can easily recreate them in your own kitchen with success. Volume measurements are extremely inaccurate and leave room for significant errors. Not all measuring cups are made equally, so your one cup of flour will be different from my one cup of flour. By providing precise measurements in grams (aside from minor ingredients, which are given in tsp/tbsp), you can make these recipes accurately and with less cleanup! All you need is this kitchen scale.
If this still isn't enough to convince you, I have provided volume measurements in the recipe card. If you are interested in understanding the conversions, this is the best conversion chart.
But trust me, once you try baking in grams you'll never turn back!
Happy baking! x
Other holiday recipes you'll love
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Snowflake Sugar Cookies
For the sugar cookies:
- 270 g (2 ¼ cups) all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 170 g (¾ cup) unsalted butter, room temp
- 200 g (1 cup) granulated sugar
- 1 egg, room temp
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
For the royal icing:
- 160 g (1 ½ cups) powdered sugar,
- 12 g (1 tablespoon) meringue powder
- 40 g (3 tablespoon) water
For the sugar cookies:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar for 1-2 minutes.
- Next, beat in the egg and vanilla.
- Scrape down the bowl and add in the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Do not over mix!
- Shape the dough into a flat disk and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to overnight.
- When ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper.
- On a lightly floured surface (or between two floured pieces of parchment paper), roll out ⅓ of the cookie dough to about ¼" thick. Keep the rest of the cookie dough in the fridge. Cut out as many snowflakes as you can with a cookie cutter.
- Shape the remaining cookie dough into a disk and refrigerate for a few minutes if has become too warm.
- Re-roll and continue cutting out until all dough is used up.
- Place cookie dough on the prepared baking sheets about an inch apart and freeze for at least 15 minutes.
- Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes until barely golden around the edges. Allow to cool completely before decorating with royal icing.
For the royal icing:
- In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar, meringue powder, and water.
- Using an electric mixer, beat on high speed for about 1-2 minutes until thick.
- Transfer the icing to a small piping bag and with a very small round piping tip.
- Decorate cookies as desired.