soft frosted sugar cookies

These cookies constitute a major guilty pleasure for me. They are the nearest thing I’ve found to the soft, sugary, seasonally-decorated cookies available in just about every big box grocery store in the US. I mean, those cookies are delicious, right? But I don’t even want to imagine what kinds of preservatives are in them to make and keep the cookies so soft for days on the grocery store shelves. Plus, I have certainly never seen anything of this kind here in Belgium, nor do I expect to. I don’t think most Europeans would understand the appeal! 🙂

soft frosted sugar cookies

The other reason to adore this recipe is that it is very simple, start to finish, including the frosting and sprinkling. All the same, you could easily adapt the colors or garnish for any occasion or party, and I think they would be extremely well-received. I sent most of this batch to work with my husband, after realizing I would exhibit zero self-control with the full plate at home. Word on the street is he was extra popular around the office that day! That’s what I like to hear.

What guilty pleasures do you have? Any treats you enjoyed in childhood or previously in a packaged version that you’ve adapted to your home kitchen? These foods can bring back the sweetest memories and be extra fun to recreate at home, and I’d love to hear your inspiration!

Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies
Yields about 2 dozen large cookies

For the cookies: 
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
5 tsp. vanilla extract

For the frosting: 
5 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup (5 1/3 tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
6 tbsp. milk (any kind), plus more as needed
food coloring and sprinkles for garnish (optional)

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until soft and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed. Blend in the vanilla extract. With the mixer running on low speed, add the dry ingredients just until incorporated and evenly mixed. Cover and chill the dough for at least one hour, and up to two days.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 F and prepare cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. Scoop out a scant quarter cup of dough, roll into a ball, and flatten slightly. Arrange on cookie sheets about 2-3″ apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, just until set. (Do not overbake! The edges should be barely golden brown, if at all.) Let cookies cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, place the powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter, vanilla extract, and milk, and whisk until smooth. If the frosting is too thick, whisk in additional milk a very small amount at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. Tint with food coloring if desired. Frost cookies using a small offset spatula or knife, top with sprinkles, and store in an airtight container.

Source: Barely adapted from Annie’s Eats