Sugar Cookies and Butter Cream Frosting

I am going to tell you a secret…  shhhh!  I never make frosted sugar cookies.  (They aren’t Cookie Jar Cookies…)  But my geometry class requested them, and I would do anything to get those kids to do their homework.  If they love me more, they will turn in the homework on time, right?

I think I made these once when Levi was little (he will soon be 20!).   Memories of that day were of how my back hurt, the kid wasn’t that interested,  and that frosting all those cookies was just too much work!!!  So the boy has no lasting memories of frosting cookies with his mamma.  Year after year, we have happily eaten the cookies we found at Grandma’s house.  I think Levi would be with me on the tediousness of frosting cookies anyway, so I don’t think I damaged him too badly by letting him think Grandma was the only one who knew how to make those delicious Christmas cookies.    Such a lazy baker I am!  I do love a drop cookie.  Fast, easy,  and no frosting.

Knowing this, you might doubt this recipe I am going to share….  Now, now… wait a minute.  I have EATEN PLENTY of sugar cookies.  Really, really good ones, and ones that were just… not.  Not bad, but just unimpressive.  It isn’t supposed to be all about the frosting, the cookie should taste good too.  And I have studied this well.  I am, if nothing else, a cookie connoisseur.  I know exactly how a good sugar cookie should taste.  Exactly.  So I perused my recipe books with this in mind.  I compared butter : sugar : flour ratios, and chose my recipe.   I chose one with a little higher sugar ratio because I wanted it to be sweet, and this recipe uses powdered sugar, which, I imagine, gets more sugar to the taste buds.

Rookie sugar cookie baker, yes, but sometimes a rookie can hit one out of the park!  These are really, really good,  and totally worth the effort.

I could serve them with butter cream dip… I’m a thinker…. and still trying to get out of frosting them.

I do know that it is not Valentine’s Day… it was either the heart, or Santa Claus.

SUGAR COOKIES        375 degree oven        7-8 minutes

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond or vanilla butter & nut
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Mix powdered sugar and butter
  2. Add vanilla and almond extract, and egg
  3. Combine dry ingredients, then add to wet
  4. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours
  5. Divide dough in half
  6. Roll to 3/16 inch on lightly floured surface
  7. Cut into desired shapes
  8. Place on lightly greased cookie sheets
  9. Bake 7-8 minutes
  10. Cool on wire racks completely before frosting

CREAMY VANILLA FROSTING
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 -1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • apx 2 tablespoons milk
  1. Mix butter and sugar
  2. Add vanilla and milk
  3. Beat until smooth and of spreading consistency
These recipes from 1986 Betty Crocker’s Cookbook.

Chocolate Chip or Else!

I am always excited to try a new cookie each month. Especially because for years all I baked were chocolate chip cookies for my husband and son.

Well, with November’s cookie, I got a, “You know, you can never go wrong with chocolate chip cookies,” from my son.

Then I made the December cookie, the Mexican Wedding Cookie, and my son said, “What is this?! I told you, you can never go wrong with chocolate chip!”

Then his father quickly joined the conversation saying, “Yeah, what’s with all the foo-foo girly cookies?!”

Fearing that they were planning to mutiny, I made sure they got some chocolate chip cookies for Christmas.  Today is my husband’s birthday, so with another batch of chocolate chips, I (hopefully) have appeased the men in the household and have kept the peace for at least another month.

These are truly THE family favorite in the Johnson household.  This is the recipe I have used for 20+ years.

I have strong opinions about chocolate chip cookies.  Here are some rules I expect you to follow:

Rule # 1 – use unbleached flour (this is a general cookie rule).

Rule #2 – use ONLY Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips – true chocolate chip cookies call for the contrasting flavor of dark chocolate and sweet cookie.  Regarding this chip, I have done taste tests, and this is the one you want.  It is large, and a bit flat, and creates a wonderful layering of chocolate in your cookie.

Rule #3 – under-bake slightly and let the cookie set on the pan for a minute or two before removing to a cooling rack.

Annita’s Chocolate Chip Cookies      375 degree oven, 8-10 mins

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts (if these were for me… and not my boys)
  1. Cream butter and sugar
  2. Add egg and vanilla, mix
  3. Combine flour, salt and baking soda
  4. Mix dry into wet
  5. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts
  6. Bake 8 to 10 minutes
  7. If nuts are omitted, add an additional 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips.