{The Best} Sugar Cookie: Three Variations

I make these sugar cookies every year. Pretty much since I was born.

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Okay, so now that I look closer, maybe those are gingerbread cookies. What’s going on here, mom? I guess I’ll just have to say that I’ve made these every year for as long as I can remember. In the picture above, I’ve obviously consumed too much sugar to be thinking straight. (Can you guess which one I am?!)

We had the fun tradition of frosting them. This year I decided not to mess with the frosting, but try a few new things. We’ll save the frosting for when my daughter is old enough to enjoy decorating cookies.

I’ll start with the recipe and then tell you the possible variations.

Sugar Cookies

4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (I use freshly ground)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

1. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg in a bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, combine butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and lemon extract.
3. Add milk and flour alternately until combined.
4. Chill dough until easy to handle. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Roll dough out on a well floured board or counter (for crisp cookies, roll to about 1/8” and for softer cookies roll to about 1/4”).
6. Cut with floured cutter. (For cut-outs and stained glass cookies, see below for variation #2).
7. Bake at 350*F for 6-7 minutes (for cut-outs and stained glass cookies, see below for variation #2).

(Note: This makes A LOT—feel free to halve the recipe if you’re not interested in rolling out cookies for the rest of your life. However, it does freeze well, so you could throw half of the dough in the freezer for a rainy day.)


Variation 1: Sparkly Sugar Cookies

This one is easy. Brush with milk, sprinkle with colored sugar and bake as directed in the recipe. And that’s it! Easy, sparkly, and festive. You all know I love sparkles. This was always mom’s back-up when we got tired of frosting cookies. Slightly less sweet than the frosted variation and the flavors of the dough really come through.


Variation 2: Oreo-Stuffed Sugar Cookies

It’s my opinion that most anything is made better if you shove an Oreo in the middle. This concept has gone viral with the use of chocolate chip cookie dough, but I gave it a holiday twist. I used sugar cookie dough, holiday Oreos and some more of those sprinkles that I love so much. The genius behind the original idea is Jenny of Picky Palate, so make sure to check out her site for the technique used for this variation. Baking time will increase for these since they are so large—might take up to 20 minutes.


Variation 3: Stained Glass Sugar Cookies

This variation is adapted from Everyday Food magazine. Cut out your cookies in whatever shape you please, and then use a smaller cutter to cut out a shape in the center. Crush hard candies in plastic bags using a mallet or anything hard. I used Jolly Ranchers, I wanted to do green and red but they only gave me two green Jolly Ranchers in the bag I bought. Thanks a lot, Jolly Rancher people! Sprinkle crushed candies carefully into the small cut-out. I got a little messy (oh well!). Bake on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet for 6-7 minutes. Cool completely before removing from tray.


Verdict: I love this cookie dough. The nutmeg and lemon might sound weird but they have the most delicious flavor. The stained glass cookies were pretty, but a little hard to eat since the candy hardens up in the middle. So they are visually impressive, but my least favorite variation. Consider yourself warned.
Husband’s take: Being the traditionalist that he is, he likes the first variation best. But he will always prefer a plain chocolate chip cookie. Can you blame him?
Changes I would make: None necessary! I can’t wait to come up with more fun things to do with this dough though.
Difficulty: Easy!


And yes, we have a fake Christmas tree. But I love it!


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  4. Love old pics from childhood. Merry Christmas!!

  5. Ummm, okay the variation with the Oreo? Yes, please! Can’t wait to try these… my favorite recipes are the ones with family history/meaning behind them. PS ~ Your sweet girl is precious! Merry Christmas!!!

  6. So much fun baking with kids! I love all your variations! I like your last photo w/ cookie as ornament!

  7. Yes, I think they are the sugar cookies because yes, we made them every year. I’m not a huge fan of gingerbread cookies. Maybe that batch got a little too browned (gasp!)Nothing that lots of decoration wouldn’t fix.
    To give credit where it’s due, that recipe is Aunt Sharon’s. Not sure where she got it.
    This is pretty much a no fail sugar cookie. Just use lots of flour to roll them out and keep things cold. If your cookie sheets are too warm (from the previous batch of cookies) your cookie will spread out too much and lose its nice design.

  8. Beautiful cookies. I rolled out tons of sugar cookies one year and swore I would never do it again. So now I cheat and buy the precut cookies in a huge box at GFS so we can get right to the best part-decorating!

  9. I love the stained glass version and the addition of nutmeg and lemon zest sound awesome in the recipe!

  10. I love fake tress, far less mess! Husband prefers real. And he prefers chocolate chip cookies. I really like the 3rd way, with the ‘stained glass.’ Hmmm, as if I need to make any more cookies, but I just may HAVE to!

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  12. Thanks for the lovely comment yesterday. Your face in that photo is priceless, fantastic! I also love the stained glass effect cookies, I’ve always fancied having a go at those.

  13. All of the cookies look amazing! I’m really liking the festive Oreo stuffed cookies. Love the picture of you when you were a kid! So cute! Happy holidays.

  14. I love a versitle cookie recipe!

  15. that pic is so cute! haha! i love stained glass sugar cookies- i always make sure to eat some during the holidays :)

  16. Love the cutie patootey picture!

  17. That first picture is so cute! You two look like you’re having a great time! :D

  18. Love this! I didn’t really get around to making any sugar cookies this year – with the exception of this one.


    Might have to link your recipes to my site again tomorrow! Love your ideas!!!

  19. Those stained glass ones are so pretty as ornaments!

  20. Great variations on a sugar cookie. The are always a must at our house!

  21. What a beautiful trio of cookies. My favourite are the stained glass with such pretty colours in the centres. I have been baking some chocolate & cinnamon ones for my daughter to take to school this week & she loved it! :-) x

  22. I love the stained glass variation! Sugar cookies are like kryptonite to me, I can polish off a whole plate by myself :)

  23. All great photos…I loved the stained glass cookie too. And I have an, um, not fake but hmm what do we call them? Fake and artificial seems to say they are not real and mine is. I’ve had it 23 years and still love it and in Denver where it is so dry? I love that my tree is not just a pile of dead needles around the base the week before Christmas too!

  24. baking with your kids is the best time in my opinion. we love sugar cookies and i like you have 3 variations!

  25. These do look perfect. I LOVE the stained glass cookie…so elegant and fun!

  26. Believe it or not I don’t LOVE my sugar cookie recipe. So I am very, very happy to have a nutmeg and lemon variation to try. I also don’t add milk to my dough this cookie is very intriguing to me even though it is a fairly straightforward sugar cookie. I love all of your variations. I agree with hubby. Chocolate chip cookies are the bomb and nothing compares. Your little cutie always makes me smile big time.BTW…having so much problems with my WWF app on my iPhone. Are you? That’s why I haven’t played a word in ages.

  27. Love this post–cute pics!

  28. I almost couldn’t pull myself away from the first picture. Hilarious!! And your daughter is a cutie pie. :) Love that you used this to make so many varieties. So fun. Okay back to the first pic for a giggle ;)

  29. Love the pictures especially the first one! Great cookies.

  30. OMG, you are the cutest person ever!! I love that pic.

  31. What fun! love the ornament variety!

  32. Some original variations here, love it! And that first picture is just great:)

  33. Great photos and great biscuits! Happy christmas

  34. I really like the Oreo stuffed variation!

  35. Sugar cookies are the best. We decorate hundreds each year and donate them to local shelters and food pantries.

  36. Such great ideas and the cookies with the star cut-outs are so pretty!

  37. Very creative variations!! I love it! I always love the pics from when people were kids too, very cute!! I love your recaps too – very smart!

  38. I love all your variations and I love the first picture. Classic pic. I wish I had my old pics somehow on digital or took the time to get them on digital. But I’m too busy baking( eating) cookies for that!

  39. Great ideas, I’ve baked sugar cookies with my mom every year since I was a kid too. Great memories.

  40. woah, that’s so cool (the stained glass cookie). I didn’t realize it was that easy to make. I love how it looks on your tree! And I’m a fan of fake trees so no worries :) great recipe for sugar cookies that you can easily adapt to!

  41. Cute picture, cute cookies, and cute kid! We do a fake tree too. SOOO much easier, especially when you have kids. My husband and I did a real tree once, early in our marriage, and I think that was enough to last us for a while!

  42. So fun!! I lovr baking with my kiddos! I’ve never tried the stained glass variation but I keep meaning to.

  43. Aw… That’s such an adorable picture! The sugar cookies do sound perfect! :)

  44. That top picture is so adorable! The stained glass cookie looks very pretty on the tree (even if it was less easy to eat!), these are such fun variations :)

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