These easy spiced sugar cookies are so simple to make, the kids can make them all by themselves. And “Santa” will be overjoyed to eat them this year!
Every year the kids and I make some kind of Christmas cookies. I mean, what’s Christmas without a jar filled with cookies to snack on? And since “Santa” is forced to eat the cookies every year, we make sure that they taste delicious.
The subtle fragrance of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg add so much flavor to these easy classic cookies. They are also amazing with a scoop of ice cream sandwiched between them. It makes for such an awesome ice cream sandwich and is a great festive snack or dessert to throw together in minutes.
Table of Contents
This recipe is incredibly simple but delivers a light, buttery cookie almost like shortbread. That’s what makes this the best sugar cookie recipe, ever. The spiced sugar is a delicious addition but can easily be replaced with frosting.
- Butter. I use salted and only use a quarter of a teaspoon of salt. Alternatively, use unsalted butter.
- Vanilla extract.
- Almond extract.
- Flour. All purpose flour or cake flour.
For the spiced sugar. You can use any cookie frosting of your choice, too.
- Caster sugar.
- Ground cinnamon.
- Make the sugar cookie dough: Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla and incorporate well. Sift together the flour, cornstarch and salt. Mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Mix on medium speed until just combined.
- Chill dough: Split the dough in half then using a rolling pin, roll each piece out in between two sheets of parchment paper. Using a cookie cutter, cut shapes out of the cookies. Place the cookies on baking sheets, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Bake: Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes until lightly golden with crisp edges.
- Make the spiced sugar: While the cookies are baking, stir together the sugar and spices and set aside.
- Cool and coat: Remove the baked cookies from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Cover the cookies with the sugar and transfer to wire racks to cool.
- Start with room temperature butter. Butter that is too cold won’t incorporate with the sugars and butter that is too soft won’t allow you to cream it with the sugar. Take your butter out of the refrigerator at least 2-3 hours before baking and up to 12 hours if you live in a cold climate.
- Cream the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy. I scrape the bowl down a few times throughout this step. I always use my stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment but a large bowl and hand mixer/electric mixer works well.
- Once the flour is added, keep mixing to a minimum. Mix until the dough just comes together otherwise the cookies will end up tough. The addition of cornstarch in these cookies does help to add lightness and prevents the flour from becoming overworked but I still prefer to err on the side of caution.
- Dip your cookie cutter into flour before cutting out the cookies to prevent sticking.
- Chilling the cut cookies in the fridge while the oven is preheating will prevent them from spreading.
- Allow the cookies to cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to the spiced sugar. Coat well then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- These cookies are perfect for adding frosting/icing too and will be wonderful when topped with decorations like festive sprinkles.
Freezing and making ahead
- Freezing: Both the cookies and cookie dough can be frozen. Wrap cookie dough well then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw completely before forming cookies. Formed cookies can be frozen on a cookie sheet then transferred to a freezer bag for up to 3 months and baked from frozen. Allow baked cookies to cool completely then transfer to freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Make ahead: Cookie dough can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. Baked cookies will last for up to two weeks if kept in an airtight container.
- 1 cup (225g) butter room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ tsp almond extract
- 3 cups (375g) flour
- 1/3 cup (45g) cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the spiced sugar
- ½ cup caster sugar
- ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- pinch ground nutmeg
- pinch ground cloves
- pinch ground cardamom
- In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and creamy.
- Beat in the vanilla and egg scraping down the bowl after mixing in.
- Sift together the dry ingredients then add to the butter mixture. Mix on medium speed until incorporated.
- Divide the dough into two then roll each piece out between two sheets of parchment paper.
- Using a cookie cutter, cut out cookies then place on cookie sheets.
- Place the cookies in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC/350°F.
- Place the baking sheets into the oven and allow to bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.
- While the cookies are baking, stir together the sugar and spices and set aside.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cook for 10 minutes before coating in the sugar and transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Allowing the cookies to cool will set the cookies' shape. If you coat the cookies immediately after baking they will still be quite soft and will likely break apart or lose their shape.