Not all sugar cookies have to be thin and crisp. These sugar cookies bake up soft, tender, and perfectly smooth for decorating. They're even better when topped with cream cheese icing. The dough can be made up to two days ahead and will be easiest to roll out when it is very cold. We love using tree-shaped cutters for Christmas, but this dough (and simple cream cheese frosting) will come in handy for any holiday or occasion you want to break out the cookie cutters.

Southern Living


Credit: Iain Bagwell

Recipe Summary test

30 mins
3 hrs
Makes about 1 1/2 dozen cookies (serving size: 1 cookie)


Additional Ingredient


Instructions Checklist
  • Prepare the Cookies: Beat butter with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until creamy. Add powdered sugar, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

  • Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat on low speed until combined, about 2 minutes. (Dough will be very soft and sticky.)

  • Transfer half of dough onto plastic wrap, and wrap tightly, shaping into a 4-inch disk. Repeat process with remaining half of dough. Chill 2 to 12 hours.

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Unwrap 1 dough disk, and roll to 1/4-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut with a 5- x 3 1/2-inch tree-shaped cutter, rerolling scraps once. Place cookies, 2 inches apart, on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.

  • Bake in preheated oven until set, 8 to 9 minutes, switching pans top rack to bottom rack halfway through baking. (Cookies should not brown.) Cool on pans 2 minutes. Remove cookies to wire racks, and cool completely, about 30 minutes. Repeat process with remaining dough disk.

  • Prepare the Icing: Beat cream cheese and butter on medium speed until well combined and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt; beat on medium-low speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add sour cream, and beat until incorporated.

  • Spread icing over cookies, and sprinkle evenly with green sparkling sugar.