Soft Sugar Cookies Recipe

Cream cheese in the dough makes for a soft cookie, and a combination of flavor extracts in the homemade frosting give a unique taste.

Winter 2015

  • Sugar Cookies
    Soft sugar cookies decorated with white frosting and colorful sprinkles are perfect for any Christmas celebration.
    Photo by Linda Smith
  • Sugar Cookies

Yield: About 2 dozen cookies

Cookies naturally lose moisture as they age, causing them to crisp and harden. To ensure a soft cookie from the get-go, do not overbake them. Also, store your cookies, layered between sheets of waxed paper, in an airtight container at room temperature, with a slice of bread placed on the top layer of waxed paper. The cookies will absorb the moisture from the bread, and they will stay moist longer.

Sugar Cookies
Make these soft cookies, cut in appropriate shapes, for all the holidays.


• 1-1/2 cups flour
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 cup shortening
• 1 egg
• 2 ounces cream cheese, very soft
• 1 teaspoon vanilla

• 2 pounds confectioners’ sugar
• 1 cup shortening
• 1/2 cup water
• 1 teaspoon clear vanilla
• 1/2 teaspoon almond emulsion or almond extract
• 1 teaspoon crème bouquet flavoring (see note following instructions)
• 1 teaspoon butter flavoring
• Dash of salt
• Orange juice, optional
• Food coloring
• Decorations


1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Line cookie sheets with baking mats or parchment paper, if desired. Do not grease cookie sheets.

To make Cookies:
2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda, and whisk to blend thoroughly. Cut in shortening. Add egg, cream cheese and vanilla, and mix well.

3. Roll dough out on a floured surface to about 1/4-inch thickness, and cut out cookies using holiday cookie cutters. Place cookies, 1 inch apart, on prepared cookie sheets.

4. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes. (They’ll look like they aren’t done, but they are. Do not over-bake them, or they’ll be crunchy instead of soft.)

5. Carefully transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

To make Frosting:
6. Combine confectioners’ sugar, shortening, water, vanilla, almond emulsion, crиme bouquet and butter flavorings, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until creamy, about 5 to 7 minutes. If the frosting is too thick, thin it down with a bit of orange juice.

7. Color frosting as desired, then frost and decorate cooled cookies.

8. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. Store any leftover frosting, covered tightly with plastic wrap, at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Note: Crème bouquet flavoring is available in cake and candy supply stores and online. You can make a similar version by combining 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon almond extract and 1 teaspoon butter extract.

Make sure to stock up on holiday goodies this year! See Easy Christmas Candy Recipes and Holiday Cookie Recipes for more ideas.

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