This is the only sugar cookie recipe you’ll need! Perfectly soft-baked, thick, chewy, and so creamy thanks to the surprise ingredient – cream cheese! Topped with a sweet & simple powdered sugar frosting. Change up the sprinkles for all different Holidays!
PERFECT SUGAR COOKIES
I like to think of myself as a sugar cookie snob 🙂 Whenever I see a sugar cookie I just have to try…. you know for research purposes. Here are my must haves for the perfect sugar cookie.
- It has to be thick & super soft. No thin sugar cookies for me!
- There can be no golden brown on a sugar cookie. Ever. This has to do with the cook time. You know you have the perfect cook time when the cookies are all pale and white. No color, not even a golden brown anywhere on them.
- Almond extract! That’s the secret guys. It gives these sugar cookies taste.
- Salted butter. It may not seem like a big deal, but it is! Salted butter gives the cookies taste. Unsalted will leave you with a bland tasting cookie.
So if my must-haves are also yours, then I know you will LOVE today’s recipe for sugar cookies.
HOW TO MAKE THIS SUGAR COOKIE RECIPE
- Start by adding the softened butter, softened cream cheese, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, egg, and almond extract into a large mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat it together until it’s pale in color and fluffy looking.
- In a separate smaller bowl, add all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir with a whisk to break up the clumps. The whisk step is very important so no shortcuts.
- Add half the flour mix to the creamed mixture and beat on low speed. Add the other half and beat on low speed just until combined. The dough will be so soft (which is good!) and sticky, but it should form a ball in the mixing bowl like the picture below.
- Have 1/3 cup of flour nearby for rolling out the cookies.
- Spray your countertop with cooking spray and then sprinkle about half the 1/3 cup of flour over it. Use a rolling pin to roll out the sugar cookie dough. Use whatever shape you want and cut the cookies. Place them on a cookie sheet and bake!
- You don’t want any color on the cookies when they’re done baking. They should be pale as ever. They will look fluffy and they should NOT look wet in the middle.
- Let them cool on the cookie sheet for 15-20 minutes and then move the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.
MY TIPS FOR THIS COOKIE RECIPE
- Add the 2 1/2 cups of flour called for and DO NOT add anymore until you go to roll them out. As you blend in the flour to the creamed mixture, it will seem very soft and sticky and you will be tempted to add more flour but don’t. When you roll out the cookies, you will end up using additional flour (I use about 1/3 cup) to prevent sticking and help the dough come togehter.
- If you don’t like almond extract then use vanilla extract in it’s place. Or you can use half vanilla & half almond extract in the recipe.
- All oven are different so watch the time closely. You will know when they’re done because the cookies will look puffy and they should look dry in the middle. Not shiny and wet.
- My oven heats super evenly and hot so my cookies are never in there longer than 8 minutes.
- Be sure and let them cool on the cookie sheet. This helps them cook slightly more and helps them come together.
- Use the heavy whipping cream in the frosting. It makes a difference!
- Do not try and use the low-fat cream cheese. Just don’t. These are sugar cookies so using low-fat cream cheese won’t do much good with all the other yumminess in these cookies 🙂
I love making these cookies for every Holiday. Mainly because my kids always request them and pretty much harass me until I make them 🙂 We do the frosting different colors for the different events or Holidays and then change up the sprinkles.
I’ve also made a HAPPY BIRTHDAY sign for friends with this recipe. Get the ABC cookie cutters and cut out the phrase you want or the person’s name.
TRY THESE OTHER COOKIE RECIPES
- Sheet Pan Sugar Cookie Bars
- M&M Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies
- Peanut Butter Butterfinger Cookies
- No Egg Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies
Perfect Sugar Cookie Recipe
- 12 tablespoons salted butter, softened (1 stick + 1/2 stick = 12 tablespoons)
- 1 bar (8 oz) cream cheese
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons salted butter, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- sprinkles and food coloring, optional
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, add butter, cream cheese, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, egg, and almond extract. Blend together, with a handheld mixer, until it's pale in color and fluffy. About 1-2 minutes.
In a seperate small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir with a whisk to break up the clumps.
Add half the flour into the creamed mixture and blend on low speed. Add the other half and blend on low speed just until combined. The dough will be really soft, and sticky, but should form a ball of dough in the bowl (see process pics in post).
Spray countertop with cooking spray and then sprinkle flour over it. This helps with clean-up and prevents the dough from sticking to the counter. Roll out dough and use whatever cookie cutter shape you want.
** Take care to not roll the dough too thin. You want it thick but not too thick. Use additional flour as needed to make the dough roll out and the cookies come off the counter easily. I use about 1/3 cup additional flour when I am rolling and cutting the cookie dough.
Place 12 cookies per cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. The cookies should still be very pale and should have no golden brown color on them. The middle of the cookies should look dry, not wet, and be puffy.
Let cool on the cookie sheet for about 15 minutes. Remove the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely. Frost and decorate with sprinkles once completely cooled.
Make the Frosting
Combine the butter, powdered sugar, heavy whipping cream, and extract in a mixing bowl. Beat together until it's combined. Add more milk if the mixture is too thick and/or add more powdered sugar if the frosting is too thin.
Make sure the cream is softened to avoid lumps in your cookie dough. Place the unwrapped cream cheese onto a microwave-safe plate and cook for about 25-30 seconds to soften it up nicely.
Use full-fat cream cheese and heavy whipping cream! No substitutes. It makes a difference in the outcome.
If you don't use salted butter then be sure to add additional salt. Like a pinch of salt in the frosting, and maybe 1/4 teaspoon additional salt for the cookies.