1/5/2023 | By Ashley Moore

It’s always cookie season! Grab the kids and get ready to bake, and decorate, and eat, with this recipe and tips for Glazed Sugar Cookies.

Making dough for cut-out cookies can be tricky. The dough needs to be soft enough to roll out but not so soft that it sticks to the counter or your shapes turn to blobs in the oven.

Most sugar cookie recipes use a mixer to “cream” room-temperature butter and sugar before adding the other ingredients. All that mixing makes the dough warm and sticky, so you need to refrigerate it before you roll it out. But rolling out cold cookie dough is tough!

Plastic fantastic

In this recipe, we use a special technique called “plasticizing the butter.” Plasticizing means making cold butter soft and moldable, while still keeping it cold. How do you plasticize? In this recipe, we use the food processor! The food processor lets us combine the sugar and the cold butter in just 30 seconds because the processor blade spins so fast. It creates a cold, bendable, and shapeable paste (like plastic!) that’s a cinch to roll out, straight from the food processor. No arm workout required!

Plasticizing the butter means you don’t need to refrigerate the dough before you roll it out. Instead, you refrigerate the dough AFTER you finish rolling. That time in the fridge firms up the dough, which lets you make clean cuts with your cookie cutters and helps the cookies keep their shapes as they bake.

Color craze glaze

You can use food coloring to turn white glaze into a rainbow of colors! If you have red, yellow, and blue food coloring, a whole world of colors can be yours. Red, yellow, and blue are primary colors. You can mix them in different combinations to make secondary colors.

  • Red + Yellow = Orange
  • Red + Blue = Purple
  • Yellow + Blue = Green

Here are two tips:

  1. Play around with how many drops of each color you add. What happens if you add 2 drops of red and 1 of yellow? What about 1 red and 2 yellow? Start by mixing just 1 or 2 drops of each color into your glaze. If you want a deeper color, you can add more, a drop at a time.
  2. To make more than one glaze color, divide the glaze among several bowls and add desired food coloring to each individual bowl.

Glazed Sugar Cookies

Makes 12 to 18 cookies (depending on the size of your cookie cutters)

Ingredients for the cookies:

  • 1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces and chilled

Ingredients for the glaze:

  • 1 1/3 cups (5 1/3 ounces) confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened
  • 1-2 drops food coloring (optional)

Directions for the cookies:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and vanilla.
  2. In a food processor, process until sugar is finely ground, about 30 seconds. Add chilled butter and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add egg mixture and flour mixture and process until no dry flour is visible and mixture forms crumbly dough, about 30 seconds.
  3. Use a rubber spatula to transfer dough to the center of a large sheet of parchment paper on the counter. Use your hands to pat dough into a 7-by-9-inch oval. Place a second large sheet of parchment on top of dough. Use a rolling pin to roll dough into a 10-by-14-inch oval (1/8 to 1/4 inch thick), rolling dough between parchment.
  4. Slide dough (still between parchment) onto one baking sheet. Refrigerate until dough is firm, at least 1 1/2 hours.
  5. While dough is chilling, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Line a second baking sheet with parchment.
  6. When dough is ready, remove dough from refrigerator. Gently peel off top sheet of parchment. Use cookie cutters to cut dough into shapes.
  7. Use spatula to transfer shapes to parchment-lined baking sheet, spaced about 1/2 inch apart. (If dough becomes too warm and sticky to transfer shapes easily, return it to the refrigerator to firm up again, about 10 minutes.)
  8. Bake cookies until beginning to brown around edges, 18 to 22 minutes.
  9. Transfer baking sheet on cooling rack and let cookies cool completely on baking sheet, about 30 minutes.

Directions for the glaze:

iced and sprinkled sugar cookies in fun shapes.
  1. While cookies are cooling, in a second medium bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar, milk, softened cream cheese, and 1 to 2 drops of food coloring (if using). Use a clean rubber spatula to stir until very smooth.
  2. Use a small icing spatula or the back of a spoon to spread glaze in an even layer on each cookie, starting in the middle and working your way to the edges. While the glaze is still wet, sprinkle it with sanding sugar, sprinkles, crushed cookies or candy. Serve.

For 25 years, home cooks have relied on America’s Test Kitchen for rigorously tested recipes developed by professional test cooks and vetted by 60,000 at-home recipe testers. The family of brands — which includes Cook’s Illustrated, Cook’s Country, and America’s Test Kitchen Kids — offers reliable recipes for cooks of all ages and skill levels. See more online at

© 2022 America’s Test Kitchen. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Check out this article as well: Engage with Grandkids in the Kitchen

Ashley Moore