Our Test Kitchen’s tried and true tricks for whipping up a dozen…or three.
Making Christmas sugar cookies is one of those skills that seems instilled in most Southerners from birth. So much so that sometimes it almost feels embarrassing to admit that you might not know all the answers when it comes to baking them. Whether it’s your first time making them with your own family or you want to discretely check to see if you are indeed the sorceress of sugar you claim to be, take a look at this list. We’ve gathered our favorite sugar cookie baking tips all together in a greatest hits list that you can refer to whenever you need a Santa’s Little Helper.
How to Make Sugar Cookies for Christmas
Pick a sheet pan that 2 inches of clearance on all sides of the oven. This will allow for good air circulation and even baking.
Always have two or three baking sheets on hand. Reusing the same sheet over and over will make your subsequent batches melt.
Cut Corners (In a Good Way)
Line your pan with parchment that hangs over the sides so it's easy to lift them out and clean the pan.
You can reuse your custom-cut parchment sheet by just turning it over.
Choose cookie cutters with simple shapes; they're easier to handle and less likely to break. Make sure to flour the cutter beforehand too so it will prevent the dough from sticking to it.
Switch It Up
Cut-out cookies don’t have to be vanilla. This year, try a deep, dark chocolate version. Dust your cutting board with cocoa powder to preserve the color and flavor.
Reach for a Spoon
When measuring flour, spoon–don't pack–the dry ingredient into the measuring cup. This technique helps yield tender cookies.
Crack the Right Eggs
You'll want to bake with room temperature eggs so they easily incorporate into your dough. In a rush? Just sit them in a bowl of warm tap water for 10 minutes.
Roll it Right
We think 1/8 inch is the perfect thickness for a crisp, buttery cookie, but this dough can be rolled to 1/4 inch thick if you prefer a soft texture.
Make a Little Noise
When cookies are done, sharply tap the baking sheet against the counter. It will force the cookies to settle faster, creating a crisp outside and a chewy center.
Delicate or intricately shaped cookies aren't built for traveling. Slice-and-bake or drop cookies are more durable and more likely to survive the journey.