I couldn't let Christmas get away from me without baking a batch of classic frosted sugar cookies.
Since the thought of spending half an hour per cookie flooding them with multiple colors of royal icing (after spending an hour making sure the icing is the exact correct consistency for flooding) makes me break out in hives, I opted for more forgiving and user-friendly decorations. I just pulled out every jar of sprinkles I have that look remotely Christmassy and went to town. Done and done.
I'll leave the intricate decorating to those who are way more patient and talented than I am. And come on, you have to admit that a smooth vanilla bean buttercream tastes way better than royal icing.
I use vanilla bean paste for my buttercream. In fact, I'm in the habit of using the paste for almost everything I bake that calls for vanilla extract. It's thick and syrupy with visible vanilla bean speckles, and it's loaded with so much vanilla flavor. Try it in your frostings and you'll be hooked for life. If you can't find vanilla paste, you can substitute and equal amount of a good quality vanilla extract and that will work just fine.
The dough for these cookies can be prepared several days in advance. Just keep it wrapped up in the fridge until you're ready to roll them out and bake them off. Store leftovers at room temperature in an airtight container and they'll stay nice and soft.Print
Soft Vanilla Bean Frosted Sugar Cookies (Lofthouse style)
- Yield: 2-3 dozen 1x
- FOR COOKIES:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cups sour cream
- FOR FROSTING:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons vanilla bean paste (start with 1, taste, and add more for a flavor punch)
- pinch of salt
- milk for thinning, if needed
- In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- In a stand mixer, cream the butter and white sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one is added.
- Add the vanilla and sour cream and beat at low speed until combined.
- Add the dry ingredients in 2-3 additions and mix on low speed until just combined, being careful not to overmix.
- Turn dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap and, using floured hands, flatten into a rectangle about 1½ inches thick (this will make rolling it out easier), then wrap with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator overnight or at least two hours until firm.
- Preheat the oven to 425F. Line large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Flour the counter, the top of the dough, and your hands. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to ¼-inch thickness.
- Using a 2.5 round cookie cutter, cut out circles and transfer to prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches of space between each one.
- Alternately, you can use floured hands to shape cookies into 2.5 inch discs roughly ¼-inch thick.
- Bake for 7 minutes, until pale golden. Allow to cool completely on wire rack before frosting.
- FOR FROSTING:
- Using a hand or stand mixer, cream the butter until smooth and fluffy.
- Add sugar, salt, and 1 TBS of vanilla bean paste, mix until smooth.
- Taste frosting and if you want a mega vanilla bean punch, add the additional TBS of paste.
- If frosting is too thick, add milk a small splash at a time, mixing after each addition, until it can be easily spread with a butter knife.
- Frost cookies and decorate as desired.
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Have a very Merry Christmas, everyone!!
Those cookies look delicious...and the decorating job isn't so important because they're just going to be eaten anyway!