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Sugar Cookie House | ZoëBakes

Holiday Sugar Cookies

This delicious sugar cookie recipe is a classic from Dorie Greenspan. The buttery, delicious cookies are perfect for decorating and are a tasty treat for parties or gifting.


Cookie Dough

  • 10 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp lemon zest optional
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract homemade vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking powder

Royal Icing

  • 3 ¼ cups powder sugar, sifted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp lemon juice



  • Cream together the butter, sugar and salt in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, beat until well blended, about 1 minute, then add vanilla and lemon. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Add flour, and baking powder, mix on a low speed until just combined. Gather dough into a ball, divide in half. Form each half into a flattened disk and wrap in plastic, chill for at least 4 hours. (I only chilled mine for 2 hours and it seemed to roll out and bake beautifully) It can be made up to 3 days ahead or freeze for later.
  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Working with one disk at a time, roll out dough between two sheets of wax paper or on lightly floured counter to 1/8″ thin.
  • Using decorative cookie cutters, cut out cookies and transfer to a cookie sheet, spacing 1 inch apart. Gather any scraps, roll them out until all the dough is used. If not using icing then decorated with sprinkles before baking.
  • Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are firm and golden around the edges, about 10 minutes for smaller cookies and up to 14 minutes for larger ones. Cool completely on rack.

Royal Icing

  • Using electric mixer, beat 3 1/4 cups powdered sugar, egg whites and lemon juice until thick and shiny, adding more powdered sugar by the tablespoon if it is too thin to spread, about 3 minutes. Cover with wet towel until ready to use.
  • Fill a parchment pastry bag with about 3 Tbsp of the royal icing. The consistency should be soft enough to pipe, but firm enough to hold its shape, like soft mashed potatoes. Cut a very small hole at the tip of the bag and draw an outline around the cookie. If you are going to be flooding the center of the cookie with icing double up the outline.
  • You can also separate the icing into little bowls and add coloring. Be sure to keep the icing covered at all times because it is meant to dry out and will end up with a crust if exposed to air.