Fave Sugar Cookie Recipe

Show some love this Valentine’s Day with a homemade batch of Betty Crocker’s popular sugar cookies—one of their “100 Best”
Mary’s Sugar Cookies, “Betty Crocker Best 100”

Photo: Betty Crocker/General Mills

A homemade treat is a great way to spread some joy and a delicious idea for a Valentine’s Day gift or anytime you want to share the love. This recipe appeared in the Betty Crocker Cooky Cookbook in 1963 and many other Betty cookbooks over the years. Since this recipe continues to win over taste buds with its special homemade flavor, it was selected to be a part of the new Betty Crocker Best 100 cookbook. When Betty Crocker celebrated “her” centennial birthday last fall, she released this new cookbook featuring 100 favorite recipes from quick breads and main dishes to cookies and desserts in honor of the occasion.

Here the cookies are shown cut out as hearts and squares and frosted but you can, of course, cut them out in any shape you like—and there are directions to either decorate with sugar or a recipe for a quick frosting. (The total time shown includes a couple hours for chilling.) I can’t help but like the name of the recipe, even though the honor goes to a different “Mary.”

Mary’s Sugar Cookies

Makes about 5 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 1 Hour | Start to Finish: 4 Hours 10 Minutes

1½ cups powdered sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Granulated or sparkling sugar, if desired

  1. In large bowl, beat powdered sugar and butter with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended, or mix with spoon. Stir in vanilla, almond extract and egg. Stir in flour, baking soda and cream of tartar until well mixed. Cover; refrigerate about 2 hours or until firm.
  2. Heat oven to 375°F. Roll half of dough at a time on lightly floured surface until 1/8-inch thick. Cut with 2 to 2½-inch cookie cutters into desired shapes. On ungreased cookie sheet, place cookies about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with granulated sugar.
  3. Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until light brown. Remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack.

Betty’s Kitchen Tips: If you’d like to frost these cookies instead of topping with sugar, omit sprinkling sugar on the cookies before baking. To frost after cookies are cool, mix 2 cups powdered sugar and ¼ cup milk; spread glaze on cookies. Sprinkle with decorator sugar or sprinkles; place dots of other colors of icing on wet glaze; drag through glaze with toothpick, or squeeze other colors of icing over wet glaze from squeeze bottle with small tip. To store, allow cookies to dry on cooling rack until no indentation remains when pressed lightly with a finger.

Make Ahead: The dough can be wrapped with plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 5 days, or place wrapped ball in resealable freezer plastic bag and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator and proceed with step 2. Or freeze baked, cooled, unglazed cookies in tightly covered container up to 12 months or freeze glazed cookies, between layers of waxed paper up to 3 months.

Fruit-Flavored Sugar Cookies: Prepare cookies as directed—except sprinkle the cutout cookies with dry fruit-flavored gelatin instead of sugar.

Nutrition info per 1 Cookie: Calories 60; Total Fat 3g (Saturated Fat 2g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 10mg; Sodium 45mg; Total Carbohydrate 7g (Dietary Fiber 0g); Protein 0g  Exchanges: ½ Other Carbohydrate, ½ Fat, Carbohydrate Choice: 0.5

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Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her school-age son, who used to eat beets and Indian food, will one day again think of real food as more than a means to a treat—and later share this with his younger brother.