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Sugar Cookies | Christmas Cookies and Treats

Sugar Cookies

With this master recipe, you can make classic sugar cookie cutouts or create dazzling variations with a few simple techniques and additions. Find instructions for creating chocolate, colored, striped, and marbleized dough variations below.


3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 tbsp. light corn syrup

1 tbsp. vanilla extract


In a medium-size bowl, mix the flour and salt. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar, stir in the egg, then the corn syrup and vanilla extract. One third at a time, add the flour mixture until thoroughly mixed.

Pat the dough into two disks, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, or until firm enough to roll. If it is too firm, soften at room temperature for 5 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Roll one disk of dough between two pieces of waxed paper or plastic wrap, 1/4 inch thick. Remove the top sheet and cut out the cookies with cookie cutters.

Using a metal spatula, transfer the shapes to baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies start to brown lightly around the edges. Remove the baking sheet to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes.

Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to racks and cool completely before frosting and decorating. Makes 12 to 50 cookies, depending on their size.

Chocolate Dough: After the last third of flour has been added to the dough, mix in 1 ounce melted, slightly cooled unsweetened chocolate. Use your hands to knead in the chocolate.

Colored Dough: Divide the dough into portions and use a toothpick to add food coloring paste (available at party supply stores) to each one. Knead until the color is evenly distributed. For a flavor surprise, omit the vanilla extract and add 1 tteaspoon of lemon extract to the yellow dough, mint extract to the green dough, and strawberry extract to the red dough.

Striped Dough: This colorful dough is perfect for the Hat & Mittens cookies. Divide the cookie dough in half and tint each a different color. Pat each half into a rectangle, about 5 by 7 inches, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate or freeze until firm. Roll each piece between two sheets of waxed paper to form rectangles that measure 8 by 11 inches and are about 1/4 inch thick.

Stack directly on top of each other. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into strips about 1/2 inch wide. Turn each strip on its side with the stripes facing up. Place one strip near the end of a large piece of waxed paper. Press the next strip of dough parallel to the first strip, alternating the color. Place a piece of waxed paper on top of the stripes and roll over the top to make them adhere. Remove the top piece of paper and cut out shapes as desired.

Marbleized Dough: Lightly press together any scraps of the striped dough to achieve a marbleized look.


Instead of rolling out your dough on a floured surface, roll it out between waxed paper. The cookies will stay moist because extra flour is not incorporated during the rolling process.