December Baking Challenge: Sugar Cookies

Yield: about 40 cookies (depending on size)

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

Announcing the official recipe for the December Baking Challenge! The full recipe and all of the details for how to participate in the challenge are below.

Happy Holidays!! Last month’s baking challenge was on my Pumpkin Bread Rolls, which so many of you made for Thanksgiving. More on that below. Let’s move onto December!

December’s baking challenge recipe is on…. SUGAR COOKIES! More specifically, my super easy cut-out sugar cookie recipe which is perfect for any festive Christmas Cookie creation!

This sugar cookie dough is a joy to work with, it’s almost like rolling out play-doh. That’s because you roll the dough out first before chilling it. I find it’s SO much easier this way and makes it so you can have little ones join in on this festive baking project.

Best of all? The cookies hold their shape perfectly while baking. If you encounter any issues with the cookies not keeping their shape, try freezing the shaped dough for about 15 minutes before baking.

Easy Cut Out Sugar Cookie Dough
Easy Cut-Out Sugar Cookies are the perfect Christmas cookie recipe! So easy you can make them with your kids.

The easy cut-out sugar cookie recipe is below on this page. I’ve also included my ridiculously simple icing recipe to go along with it. It’s my easy alternative to royal icing for people who don’t like royal icing, or don’t want to deal with finding meringue powder or using raw egg whites.

However, if you prefer royal icing or even buttercream, feel free to use whatever you want!

If you want extra tips on making and decorating sugar cookies, I’ve embedded two of my YouTube videos on the subject at the bottom of this post!

Sugar Cookie Challenge

This recipe actually comes from Tessa’s Christmas Cookies, which I’m currently offering with a fun bonus kit of Christmas Cookie Exchange Party printables! The gingerbread and red velvet cookies shown in the photo below are from the book, but they’re all iced with the icing recipe on this page!

Super quick and easy sugar cookie icing

Here’s how to participate in this challenge:

Step 1: Make a batch of my Easy Cut-Out Sugar Cookies (recipe below). You can decorate them with my ultra simple icing (also included below) if you’d like, but it’s not required!

Step 2: Take a photo of your sugar cookie creation and share it before December 31st 11:59pm MT. You have TWO ways to share your photo to be eligible for the prize:


Upload your photo to your PUBLIC Instagram account and tag me @handletheheat AND use the hashtag #handletheheat

Facebook community

Share your photo inside my private Handle the Heat Facebook community. If you’re not already inside, click here to request access (you must answer the questions to join).

You can submit to one or the other, or to BOTH for two entries.


Every person who submits a photo following those directions will be entered into a random giveaway to win one $75 Amazon gift card! No purchase necessary.

This is open to anyone in the world who can shop with Amazon, I will purchase a digital gift card from your country’s Amazon website.

The winner will be selected randomly; so don’t worry about taking a perfect picture. Your photos may be put on display to share with my entire audience – that’s hundreds of thousands of people!

So what do you think? Are you up for the challenge? Check out the recipe below!

Easy Cut Out Sugar Cookies

Yield about 40 cookies (depending on size)     adjust servings
Prep Time 30 minutes Cook Time 10 minutes Total Time 40 mins
How to make EASY snowflake sugar cookies with a bunch of baking hacks to save you time! Step-by-step video included too!

Announcing the official recipe for the December Baking Challenge! The full recipe and all of the details for how to participate in the challenge are below.


For the cookies

  • 3 sticks (339 grams) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 4 1/2 cups (572 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

For the border icing

  • 1 cup (4.4 ounces) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons water or milk
  • Food coloring, if desired

For the flood icing

  • 1 cup (4.4 ounces) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons water or milk
  • Food coloring, if desired


Make the cookies:

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until well-combined and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract and beat until combined. On low speed, slowly add in the flour and baking powder and beat until incorporated.

Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Place one dough portion between two sheets of parchment and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Repeat with the remaining portion of dough. Place the two sheets of dough on a baking sheet and chill for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day. You can also freeze for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350Β°F. Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Remove the dough from the fridge and cut into shapes with a cookie cutter, rerolling any scraps and cutting more shapes. Transfer the shapes to the prepared baking sheets.

If the dough is too warm, freeze for 15 minutes or until firmed again.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cookies are set and begin to brown. Be careful not to over-bake. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Baked un-iced sugar cookies can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

For the border icing:

In a small bowl, use a fork to beat together all the ingredients except the food coloring. Beat in the food coloring, a few drops at a time, until colored to your liking. The mixture should be very thick but still pourable.

Transfer the border icing to a squeeze bottle using a funnel. You can also scoop into a pastry bag fitted with a small plain tip. Before you begin icing any cookies, take a few moments to practice on a piece of parchment paper to get the feel of the icing.

Holding the bottle or bag tip directly over one corner of a cookie, begin tracing an outline of the cookie, squeezing gently and using both hands if needed to maintain consistent pressure. I prefer to allow a little slack in my icing line as I go. If you mess up, simply wipe the icing off and start again. Allow the icing to dry slightly before continuing with the flood icing.

For the flood icing:

In a small bowl, use a fork to beat together all the ingredients except the food coloring. Beat in the food coloring, a few drops at a time, until colored to your liking. The mixture should still be pretty thick, but will drizzle more freely than the border icing. If needed, add additional water or milk to loosen until the consistency is pourable. Pour the flood icing into a squeeze bottle or into a pastry bag fitted with a small plain tip.

Prepare as many batches and colors of flood icing as you need to decorate your cookies.

Begin filling the interior of the border drawn on each cookie with the flood icing, being careful not to add too much that it overflows the border icing. Use either the nose of the bottle or a small toothpick to push the icing evenly over the cookie and up against the corners.

Leave the iced cookie to dry for 24 hours. The cookies are dry when the surface is completely smooth, dry, and resists smudging when touched. Store the dried cookies between sheets of parchment paper in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 10 days.


A Look Back on the November Baking Challenge:

November Baking Challenge November Baking Challenge

How amazing are all of these Pumpkin Bread Rolls?! So cute and perfect. I was so delighted to see just how many of you used this recipe for your Thanksgiving celebrations. Since I’m writing this post while it’s still November, the winner will be picked this first weekend of December. Good luck!

8 Responses to “December Baking Challenge: Sugar Cookies”

  1. #
    Natalie — December 1, 2017 at 7:58 am

    An I half the ingredients? X

  2. #
    Esthela — December 2, 2017 at 10:34 pm

    Saludos y gracias por compartir tus recetas
    Si seco las galletas ya cubiertas de royal icing en el deshidratador( dehydrator), cambia la consistencia de la galleta?
    las he sentido un poco mas duras, es normal?

  3. #
    Nonton Video Bokep — December 2, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    article very helpful at all, I personally really like, for that I can only say thank you for sharing and hopefully more successful in the future

  4. #
    Rajender Hansra — December 8, 2017 at 10:33 am

    I love these recipes and use all the time but I do by hand mixing.

  5. #
    Rajender Hansra — December 8, 2017 at 10:37 am

    I love this Christmas cookies video and I will make these cookies with my grand daughters. I need mixer.

  6. #
    Katrina — December 8, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    this is awesome ,two my granddaughter are coming on Sunday maybe this is what we can do together , decorate Christmas cookies blessings an many thanks

  7. #
    Adam — December 12, 2017 at 10:07 am

    I don’t know if I did something wrong with this, but after rolling the dough with the parchment paper, I could not get the dough off the parchment without it sticking.

    • #
      Tessa — December 12, 2017 at 3:18 pm

      Pop it in the freezer for 15 minutes. It should peel right off πŸ™‚

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