For my first recipe post, I want to share with you my Totally, Absolutely, Without a Doubt FAVORITE cookies! They are a shortbread sugar cookie with buttercream frosting. 100% homemade – even the icing. You CAN do it! It’s not complicated and I would love to help you!
These cookies bring up all kinds of great memories from when I was a kid. My mom got this recipe from a friend when I was really little. It’s been almost 40……..now I feel old. I’ll just have one of these cookies that I made yesterday. Just for you guys! I needed some pictures for the post, so Thank. You. Very. Much! My mom used to make these around Christmas time when she produced her big homemade candy spread. Maybe I will write a post about her peanut butter balls! They have always been my favorite because I am one of those weird people who doesn’t like chocolate that much.
These aren’t too sweet and they firm up like a shortbread, without being crisp. Not too soft and not too hard. They are just right! The buttercream frosting is a thin frosting that isn’t too sweet either. Not like those cavity bombs you buy at the store! Those things are like Russian roulette with a cookie. Will I lose a tooth or not?! I don’t know. No ma’am. These are perfect.
Alright, let’s get into the recipe and all of my pictures and little helpful tips for making cookies so good that everyone will think you have turned into a baking goddess! (or god, dudes make cookies too!) FYI, no affiliate links or anything like that in this post. This is really just me sharing my cookie recipe the way I make it.
Shortbread Sugar Cookie Batter Ingredient List:
- 1 cup shortening (I use Crisco)
- ½ cup butter (I use Country Crock Original Spread)
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla
- 3 large eggs
- 4 ½ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
Buttercream Icing Ingredient List:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 5 Tablespoons butter (Country Crock for me)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-2 Tablespoons milk
Mixing the Batter:
Combine all the batter ingredients except flour in a large mixing bowl. There will be some lumps in the batter from the shortening. Keep mixing until they are small. I usually mix this all by hand with a dash of elbow grease, but I confess I used a mixer in the picture. You know, because I wanted it to look good for you. I didn’t want you to think my batter was too lumpy! I add the flour a cup at a time and stir it in after each cup is added. No need to sift the flour. It doesn’t make any difference with these cookies.
This is a very important part! You MUST refrigerate this
dough if you want to keep your sanity! It is very sticky and you will spend the entire afternoon trying to figure out
how to roll the dough without it wrapping around the rolling-pin. Don’t do this to yourself! Refrigerate the dough at least an hour. Most of the time I keep it in the fridge overnight before rolling it out and it is still sticky but manageable.
Rolling Out and Baking:
Now it’s time to get dirty! Throw some flour on the cabinet and the rolling-pin. (I use an old wooden one because you just can’t beat em!) Grab a handful of that dough, make a big ball, drop it in the middle of all that flour and roll it out. Feel free to be liberal with the flour. It won’t hurt the final result. Roll out the dough until it is even and in between 1/16”-1/8” thick. These puff up a bit when they cook so you don’t want them too thick. Cut out any awesome shape you would like and put them at least an inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake them @ 400°F for 6-8 minutes. Obviously, cooking time depends on your oven but start checking them at 6 minutes. You are looking for the top to not look wet. DO NOT wait until the bottom starts to turn brown. The bottom should not be brown at all. It makes the cookies taste overdone. Check out my pictures for reference. Once they are baked, immediately remove them from the pan and place on a cooling tray. They have to cool completely before icing. Heat will separate the icing. Don’t Do It Sister! Be patient!
Now for the icing. If you need to make this recipe a low-fat/low sugar version, you can substitute…..don’t bother! Holy smokes, there’s nothing low sugar about these. Mix the powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, and 1 Tablespoon milk in a small mixing bowl. Keep stirring. At first it looks like butter covered in sugar but if you keep stirring, it will turn into icing. It’s magic! It will be more important to get the lumps out of the icing step as they will show on the cookies. I usually only need 1 Tablespoon of the milk but you can add the second if it is thick. It probably won’t be. This icing is very thin and it can get runny and run right off the cookie when you icing it. I’ve done it once, or maybe a few times. It still tastes great but won’t look as pretty. So try to stick with 1 Tablespoon of milk and see. I use a regular butter knife to icing the cookies. It’s runny but it works. I then put whatever topping on the cookies or none at all if that’s what you prefer. Let them sit out so the icing will dry. I sometimes leave them out overnight and they are AWESOME!
There you have it! All the secrets I know to making these sugar cookies great. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. If you would like a free printable version of this recipe, sign up for my weekly newsletter in the sidebar and get unlimited access to my library. Then I can keep you updated on all the action at ethelruth.com. I would love to know how it went. Leave me a comment or send me a picture of your masterpieces at [email protected] !