Last Halloween, Evie and I had the most fun afternoon making these sugar cookies together. They are so easy, and come together really quickly too (they only take 7 minutes to bake!), making them the perfect parent-kid holiday tradition. We made them again at Christmas, and of course we had to do them again for Evie’s Valentine’s Day party for her little preschool friends.
I love this recipe so much that Evie and I were invited to share our experience at our local Whole Foods here in Birmingham last Christmas. We had the best morning meeting new friends, sipping cocoa, and going crazy with frosting and sprinkles. If you were there that morning, you took home a copy of the recipe, but here it is for those who weren’t there with us! Thank you Whole Foods Birmingham for providing our ingredients, because we all know that the better the ingredients, the better the cookies will taste!
Kid-Friendly Sugar Cookies
Yield: About 3-4 dozen, depending on the size of your cookie cutters
5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar (I used the 365 Organic cane sugar, which gives it a slightly different texture, but regular white granulated sugar works great!)
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
-Preheat oven to 375.
-In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda, whisking to thoroughly combine. - -Cream butter and sugar using a stand mixer.
-Add in eggs and vanilla extract, mixing till combined.
-Add sour cream and mix until combined.
-Slowly add dry ingredients and mix until it all comes together in a thick dough.
-Turn dough out on a floured surface and knead slightly until all of the crumbly bits are incorporated and the dough is smooth.
-Roll dough onto floured surface to about ¼” thick.
-Cut out using floured cookie cutters and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
-Bake for only 7 minutes for a 3” cookie (more or less depending on size of cookies). If the cookie starts to brown on the edges, then they’ve baked too long!
-Let cool slightly. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting and decorating.
Kid-Friendly Participation: Let the kiddo whisk together the dry ingredients, help them roll out the dough, and they love to dip the cutters in a pile of flour and press them into the dough.
1 stick unsalted sweet cream butter
1 pound of confectioner’s sugar
8-10 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract or ½ pod of scraped vanilla bean
-Cream together butter and 1 cup of powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.
-Add 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time, alternating with milk, until desired consistency. (Add more sugar for a thick buttercream, add more milk for a thinner buttercream.)
-Add vanilla and mix till incorporated.
Kid-Friendly Participation: Measure out the milk for them and let them add it in the mixer, alternating with you adding the sugar.
Once your cookies are baked and cooled, it’s time to load on the frosting and sprinkles. Since we made these for our friends instead of just our family, I felt like I needed to handle the frosting, because, well, Evie would lick some off the spatula before putting it on the cookies. So I frosted, and she sprinkled.
Look how sweet her sprinkles turned out!
When Evie decided that she had had enough and was ready to move onto the next thing in her life (she’s a preschooler after all), I decided to make a batch of royal icing and do some cookie decorating myself. This is very cathartic for me personally, and not something I often get the chance to do, so don’t feel like this is something anyone will actually be expecting you to do! Here’s my easy royal icing recipe in case you want to try your hand at it:
Easy Royal Icing
Yield: About 1.5 cups, depending on liquidity of eggs and how thick or thin you make it
1 egg white
1 pound of confectioner’s sugar
Put the egg white in a large bowl. Add in sugar 1 cup at a time until you reach your desired consistency. You’ll want a somewhat thick consistency for what I did below. If it gets too thick, just add in a tiny amount of lemon juice to thin it back out. Keep experimenting till it’s just right!
Separate equally into 3 bowls, and add food coloring. Fill piping bags fitted with a small round tip. Pipe the outline of the cookie and flood the outline with icing. If you have gaps or if it’s not smooth, use a toothpick to smooth it out. If you want your colors to be separate (like the xox cookie or the arrows), wait until the icing has tried before piping your designs. To make the hearts within the heart below, flood the cookie, then pipe small dots while the icing is still wet. Run a toothpick from top to bottom of the dot and it will make the heart design!
Happy Valentine’s Day! And thanks again Whole Foods for letting Evie and me invade your cafe to share the fun!