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Last Updated on December 23, 2020 by Chenée Lewis
Welcome to Day 3 of my #Chenees12Days 12 Days of Christmas Cookies celebration! My ode to my favorite time of year, a season of festive music, food, and fun! And what’s more festive than cut-out sugar cookies with sprinkles and icing?! Nothing, that’s what.
But these aren’t just any sugar cookies — these are the easiest, no-chill, no-spread cut-out sugar cookies you can ask for, with festive sprinkles and a super simple dipped icing!
Easy, No-Chill, No-Spread Cutout Cookies!
Growing up, my family would always bake sugar cookies with sprinkles and watch movies on Christmas Eve — and it’s a tradition we keep alive today! But we always just used a store-bought cookie dough, and while those cookies did taste great, they never looked that neat. Usually they spread in the oven, losing all their shape, and they came out a little too crisp. This from-scratch version of cutout sugar cookies with sprinkles continues that tradition — and makes it even better! These cookies have got the classic sugar cookies flavors of vanilla and almond extracts, with just the right amount of sweetness. They’re firm, yet tender with a melt-in-your-mouth texture, and they keep the exact shape you cut them into, with NO spreading in the oven!
How do these sprinkle sugar cookies have such great texture while keeping their shape so well? Well, one of the secrets is the type of sugar we’re using in the dough!
What does sugar do in baking of cookies?
In these sugar cookies, we’re using powdered sugar instead of regular granulated sugar, which adds a lighter, and more tender texture to our cookies, making them soft instead of chewy. This is because powdered sugar contains cornstarch, which means these cookies have less gluten.
Typically, granulated sugar in sugar cookies will make the cookies more likely to spread while baking, because the sugar melts in the oven, and also contributes to more browning. Using powdered sugar minimizes both of those effects because it dries out your dough a bit more. So your cut-out sugar cookies with sprinkles will come out perfect every time!
Now that we know what sugar to use in these sprinkle sugar cookies, let’s keep going with the rest of the ingredients!
- salted butter – you guys know I almost always use salted butter. It just cuts out that one extra step and brings out the flavor in baked goods in a way that really works for me. If you prefer unsalted butter, feel free to use it and then add 3/4 tsp of salt to your dry ingredients. Either way, make sure your butter is room temperature: it should indent to the touch, but not be greasy or overly soft. You want it to be just soft enough to work with, but still slightly cool to the touch.
- powdered sugar – measured by weight using a kitchen scale (see tips below).
- egg – your egg should also be room temperature – I like to let my eggs sit in a bowl of warm water for about 10 minutes to get them to room temp quickly.
- vanilla & almond extract – to me, the best combination of flavors for sugar cookies with sprinkles! Make sure you’re using pure vanilla and almond extracts!
- all-purpose flour – like the powdered sugar, I’d recommend measuring your flour by weight for the best accuracy. See tips below for more details!
- baking powder – baking powder gives our cookies a bit of a lift, especially since we’re only using one egg.
So to make these cutout sugar cookies with sprinkles, you’ll need a few basic cookie tools, like cookie cutters, a baking sheet, and either parchment paper or a silicone baking liner. You’ll also want an electric mixer to cream your butter and a rolling pin to roll out your dough. Another great tool I love for rolling out dough is a pastry mat. This is the one I use: it’s nonstick, nonslip, and has measuring lines up to 16 inches, which really comes in handy for pie crust! Here are all my equipment recommendations for these cutout sugar cookies with sprinkles!
Tips for the best cutout no-chill sugar cookies
This sugar cookies recipe is so easy, and with the addition of sprinkles it’s the best way to celebrate this holiday! But just to make sure that you have no trouble making these cookies, here are a few of my best tips!
Measure your flour and powdered sugar by weight
One way this cookie dough works without chilling is that there’s a higher amount of flour and we’re using powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar. Unfortunately both of those ingredients are difficult to measure accurately by volume, so there’s a chance you’ll end up with too much flour or sugar and your dough will have a hard time coming together. To be on the safe side, I always measure flour and powdered sugar by weight using a kitchen scale. I highly recommend picking one up if you love to bake! Otherwise, you can improve accuracy by using the spoon-and-level method for both your flour and powdered sugar.
Minimize handling of the dough
Because we’re not chilling this dough, it’s even more important to avoid warming it up, so that the butter can say as cold as possible. So try to bring the dough together after mixing with as little kneading as possible. Also, you’ll be using a rolling pin to roll it out (I recommend this marble one), but you might also want to use a bench scraper to pick up your cookie pieces after they’ve been cut and transfer them to your baking sheet.
Coat everything in flour
Whatever you’re touching your dough with should be dipped or coated in flour. So you’ll want to dust some flour on your work surface, then on your hands before you knead your dough together, and then some on your rolling pin before you roll out the dough. You’ll also want to dip your cookie cutters and bench scraper in flour. This will keep your dough from sticking and prevent any related mishaps.
Check your oven temperature
I mentioned this in my White Chocolate Peppermint Cookie Recipe, but one factor that contributes to cookies spreading in the oven is the oven temperature. The higher heat helps to solidify the outside of the cookie before the butter on the inside has a chance to melt, thereby keeping their shape. We’re baking these sugar cookies at 375 degrees, but many ovens run a little cold, so an oven thermometer will let you know the accurate temperature of your oven so that you can adjust if necessary.
Assuming your oven temperature is accurate to 375 degrees and your cookies are rolled out to 1/4-inch thick, then 8 minutes should be great for these sugar cookies. I would say as little as 7 or as much as 9 minutes, but anything more than that will brown them too much and affect the tender texture.
Cool completely before icing
This is true for most baked goods, but to ensure a neat look you’ll want to let the cookies cool completely on a wire rack before dipping them in the icing.
Dip your cookies in your icing
We’re making a super easy, 3-ingredient vanilla icing for these sugar cookies. And to make it even easier, we’ll dip our sugar cookies right into the icing before dotting them with sprinkles. It’s so simple:
- Once your icing is all mixed, just grab a cookie by its outside edges, and dip it face down into the icing. Make sure all corners of the face of the cookie come into contact with icing.
- Bring the cookie out of the icing and old it face down for about 20 seconds to let the excess icing drip off.
- Quickly and carefully flip the cookie over so that the icing is on top and lay it on parchment paper to set. Now’s the time to add your sprinkles!
Ok, I think you’re ready to make the best cutout sugar cookies with sprinkles for your next holiday celebration, or an edible gift, or just for a delicious treat! Check out the recipe card below for full ingredients and instructions!
These sugar cookies with sprinkles are just the beginning! Now through December 12th, I’m sharing my 12 Days of Christmas Cookies, with tons of new and updated recipes for your holiday celebration!
Day 1 was these Slice and Bake Christmas Cookies with Cranberries and White Chocolate. So decadent and full of holiday flavors, they’re ready to impress on any cookie platter!
Equipment you may need
- Preheat oven to 375°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking liner.
- In a large bowl, mix butter on medium speed with an electric mixer. Add powdered sugar gradually, and cream together for 3 minutes, scraping sides of bowl as needed.
- Mix in egg, followed by extracts, until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder.
- While mixing on low speed, add dry ingredients to butter mixture slowly, until just barely combined. Dough will be very thick, and you will likely need to help bring it together by hand.
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface and, with floured hands, form into a ball.
- Dust rolling pin with flour and roll dough out to approximately 1/4-inch thick.
- Coat cookie cutters with flour and cut dough into shapes.
- Use a bench scraper to transfer cut cookie dough to prepared baking sheet. Bake for 7-9 minutes in preheated oven.
- Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for 10 minutes; then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Easy Vanilla Icing
- In a bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. Mixture should be thick but pourable. Add additional milk if needed for desired consistency. Whisk in food coloring, if using.
- One at a time, hold a cooled cookie upside-down by the outside edges and dip face-down into the icing. Be sure that the whole surface of the cookie is in contact with the icing.
- Lift cookie up and allow excess to drip from the surface of the cookie back into the bowl for about 15-20 seconds.
- Carefully flip cookie, without allowing any dripping icing to spill onto the sides, and place on parchment or cooling rack.
- Immediately add sprinkles before icing sets, if using. Allow icing to set before serving.
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