Here is a basic sugar cookie recipe from Betty Crocker, along with some fun decorating options. 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Cup butter, softened
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 Teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Granulated sugar or Colored Sugar (below)

Preparation

Step 1:

In large bowl, beat powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract and egg with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon, until well blended. Stir in flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Step 2:

Heat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease cookie sheets with shortening or cooking spray, or line with cooking parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Step 3:

Divide dough in half. Roll each half on lightly floured surface until 1/4 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes with 2- to 21/2-inch cookie cutters. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. On cookie sheets, place cutouts about 2 inches apart.

Step 4:

Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are light brown. Remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks.

Colored Sugar:

Place 1/2 cup granulated sugar in resealable food-storage plastic bag. Add liquid food color to tint as desired. Seal bag. Squeeze and rub sugar in bag until it becomes evenly colored. Homemade colored sugar might clump; if it does, just break apart until clumps are gone.

Frosted and Decorated Sugar Cookies:

Omit granulated sugar. Frost cooled cookies with favorite vanilla frosting tinted with food color if desired. Decorate with colored sugar, small candies, candied fruit or nuts if desired.

Paintbrush Sugar Cookies:

Omit granulated sugar. Cut rolled dough into desired shapes with cookie cutters. (Cut no more than 12 cookies at a time to keep them from drying out.) Mix 1 egg yolk and 1/4 teaspoon water. Divide mixture among several custard cups. Tint each with a different food color to make bright colors. (If paint thickens while standing, stir in a few drops water.) Paint designs on cookies with small paintbrushes. Bake as directed in Step 4.

Nutritional Information

1 Cookie: Calories 60; Total Fat 3g (Saturated Fat 2g; Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 10mg; Sodium 45mg; Total Carbohydrate 8g (Dietary Fiber 0g); Protein 0g Exchanges: 1/2 Starch, 1/2 Fat Carbohydrate Choices: 1/2