Sugar Cookie Recipe – Rolled Dough Tutorial

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This Sugar Cookie Recipe post is courtesy of our Sunday Sweets contributor Leah with Iced…Bake Shoppe – In my adventures in pastry, I have found very few things as versatile as a well decorated sugar cookie. While cakes, cupcakes and crème puffs are divine (who are we kidding – I have a sweet tooth), they aren’t as easy to give as a gift, throw in a child’s lunch, or bring to a party.

Sugar Cookie Recipe

Growing up there wasn’t a holiday my mother didn’t send us to school with a few dozen decorated sugar cookies to share with our friends and classmates. While I never intended sugar cookies to become such a staple of Iced…, their appeal is undeniable. A tasty, basic recipe is versatile and can become any character, any color and is easily flavored.

Sugar Cookie Recipe

This tutorial is for one of my favorite rolled sugar cookie recipes. There are oodles of recipes online, but this one has a pleasant flavor with just a hint of citrus, and the texture is light and soft.

Sugar Cookie Recipe

Disclaimer – I ran out of lemons the day I shot the photos! Whoopsie! So the printed picture is just a substitute! Do not use paper lemons when baking! {wink}

Sugar Cookie Recipe

Printable Sugar Cookie Recipe – Rolled Dough Tutorial:

5.0 from 3 reviews
Sugar Cookie Recipe - Rolled Dough Tutorial
Recipe type: Dessert
When it's a recipe from a pastry chef, you know it must be delicious!
  • 1 cup unsalted, room temperature butter (can substitute margarine)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp lemon zest (orange zest is a nice way to mix up the flavor as well)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp brandy/almond extract (optional)
  • 2 ½ cups of All Purpose Flour
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  1. In a mixing bowl or mixer, cream the butter sugar and lemon zest on medium speed until fluffy (~1-2 minutes).
  2. Slow the speed down to low and add the egg and flavor extracts and beat until blended. Scrape the sides of the mixing bowl.
  3. In a clean bowl, combine the AP Flour, baking powder and salt together. With mixer on low, add the flour mixture until fully incorporated. Do not overmix as the dough will start to become tougher due to the gluten.
  4. Remove dough from bowl and form a ball.
  5. Press ball into a disk about an inch tall and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place in fridge and chill for a minimum of two hours (can be chilled overnight).
  6. Preheat the oven to 375F and line your baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat (these aren’t necessary, but makes clean up a snap and bakes the backs more evenly).
  7. If the cookie dough was chilled overnight, pull it from the fridge ~30 minutes before you are going to start rolling it out. This will allow the butter to soften enough that it is much easier to handle.
  8. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to desired thickness. I roll mine out about ¼ inch. Cut out cookies with a floured cookie cutter (dip cutting edge of cookie cutter in flour – this will keep the dough from sticking to it).
  9. Reroll scraps using as little flour as possible until you have all your cookies. Note: the more times you roll out the dough, the tougher it will become, so try to do this as few times as possible.
  10. Place cookies on baking sheet and chill in the fridge for at least fifteen minutes prior to baking. This is the best method to insure they retain their shape whilst baking.
  11. Place cookies in oven on middle rack (one tray at a time). Depending on the thickness of your cookies, you will want to bake them from five to ten minutes, until the middles no longer look wet. You do not want the cookies to be golden brown, you just want them to be done (to be soft), and maybe a little brown on the edges.
  12. Remove pan from oven and let rest for a couple minutes. Remove from baking sheet and place on cooling rack. Once they are cool – they are ready to be decorated. They can be stored in an airtight container, or frozen until ready to use.

Sugar Cookie Recipe

Sugar Cookie Recipe

Sugar Cookie Recipe


Brandy: I imagine this question will arise – Brandy? In baking? For kids? While optional, and I’d never recommend someone run out of the house to buy it just for sugar cookies – it does add a little something-something. Vanilla extract contains alcohol as well, and the alcohol in both will burn off in the baking process – leaving just the flavor behind. The cookies already will have a lovely vanilla and lemon flavor, so it is entirely optional. If you are a fan of almond extract, that can easily be put in as well.

Butter: As a pastry chef, I rarely use salted butter in baking. That said – while I would never use it in pastry, it can be used in baking. Often times, salted butter is already in our fridges or is cheaper in the groceries stores. I’d recommend cutting a little bit of the additional salt out of the recipe if you do use salted butter.

I often leave my butter out overnight to get it room temperature to bake with. If you are in a hurry and only have cold butter, grating your butter through a box grater on the largest hole will help in the creaming.

Salt: As a child, my mother would often omit salt from baking recipes to make them “healthier” for us. While the baking she produced was still mouth watering – there is a reason why most recipes call for it…flavor. Usually the amount in the recipe is relatively small, and it does enhance the flavor of the end product. That said – while not necessary, I do use it when called for.

Dough: It is important to chill the dough prior to working with it to allow the butter to firm up, and to chill before baking. If this is not done, the cookies will often expand and lose their edges when baked.

If the dough begins to get soft, chill again. Do not add more flour to make it less sticky. A stickier dough will work fine if chilled, and will produce a better textured cookie than a very dry dough.

A good basic dough is a great foundation, and one everyone should have in their recipe arsenal. A dough like this easily takes on flavors and colors, so with a bit of tweaking, can become new all over again.

Next time we will look at how to make royal icing, and later at techniques and projects simple enough for beginners. The key to decorated sugar cookies is practice (and some patience), but the results can be stunning and delicious at the same time.

about-divider-NEWA big THANK YOU to Leah of Iced…Bake Shoppe for sharing this recipe and tutorial with us. Be sure to follow her on Facebook for more delicious creations and yes – she ships throughout Canada and the US!

14 thoughts on “Sugar Cookie Recipe – Rolled Dough Tutorial”

  1. Look forward to trying this recipe for my daughters birthday. It would be easier to make these a few days prior.
    Can I freeze the cookies after they are iced/decorated?


  2. Thank you so much for your detailed instructions and recipe. I always wanted to make sugar cookies but never did. I finally felt comfortable after reviewing your recipe. They came out great and very tasty!! If it wasn’t for your tips and notes, who knows what my cookies would have looked like… LOL…

  3. This recipe looks great! Just wondering, how many cookies does this make? Also, is this an easy recipe to double? Or even triple? I need to make about 100 cookies. Please let me know, thanks!

    • Hi Rachel! I’ve sent you an email. Depending on the size of your cookies and how thinly you roll your dough, you should be able to get about 3 dozen cookies from this recipe.


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