Rating: 3.15 stars
891 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 138
  • 4 star values: 156
  • 3 star values: 359
  • 2 star values: 177
  • 1 star values: 61

Get out your cookie cutters! As its name suggests, this sugar cookie recipe is ideal for making cutout cookies for Christmas, Easter, or any other holiday or occasion that calls for shaped sweet treats.

The Martha Stewart Show, Episode 1128

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Recipe Summary

Yield:
Makes 2 dozen
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar; mix until light and fluffy. With mixer running, add egg, brandy, and vanilla; mix until well combined. With the mixer on low, slowly add reserved flour mixture. Mix until just combined.

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  • Transfer dough to a clean surface. Shape into 2 disks, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with nonstick baking mats or parchment paper; set aside.

  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes and transfer to prepared sheets, spaced 1 inch apart. Leftover dough can be rolled and cut once more. Bake until lightly golden, about 10 minutes; do not allow to brown. Transfer sheets to wire racks; let cool completely.

  • Decorate with royal icing, if desired.

Cook's Notes

Soft cookie dough loses its shape when moved; to retain crisp cut edges, refrigerate dough as directed in recipe until firm before baking. This recipe is adapted from "The Martha Stewart Living Christmas Cookbook" (Oxmoor House, 2003).

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Reviews (39)

891 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 138
  • 4 star values: 156
  • 3 star values: 359
  • 2 star values: 177
  • 1 star values: 61
Rating: 5.0 stars
03/04/2020
Honestly if people are giving this recipe 3 stars they just messed up the recipe. Dont blame Martha! I love this and I'll be making this for my family for years to come!
Rating: 5.0 stars
03/04/2020
Honestly if people are giving this recipe 3 stars they just messed up the recipe. Dont blame Martha! I love this and I'll be making this for my family for years to come!
Rating: 5.0 stars
01/06/2020
This is my favorite sugar recipe I've ever used. I have no idea why this recipe only has a 3 star rating. I've been using it for 10+ years now and even people who don't like sugar cookies much fall in love with these. If you want a slightly chewier cookie, substitute 25% of the white sugar for dark brown sugar. Also, be sure not to overcook them. Like brownies, they will cool and become too hard and crunchy. A very light brown around only the edges yields the perfect sugar cookie.
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Rating: 1 stars
04/20/2019
Impossible to work with. Followed directions exactly. Ended up with crumbly dough. Added small amount of ice water and got to roll out but the texture of the cookies turned out horrible. They were hard yet chewy. The brandy cognac flavor is undetectable. Very disappointed.
Rating: 5 stars
01/25/2019
I have been making this cookies since 2007/08. We absolutely think it's the best! :) Thank you Martha.
Rating: 5 stars
12/09/2018
This was great. We make it every year for our annual cookie exchange. :D
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Rating: 5 stars
03/14/2018
Love this recipe! I added green food coloring and sprinkles for St. Patrick's day. My family loved them! I will definitely be making these again!
Rating: 1 stars
12/20/2017
The dough was very soft and difficult to work with. The dough tasted fantastic with the brandy added--but that flavor did not transfer to the cooked cookie! There are other recipes that have better--and better tasting--results.
Rating: 5 stars
12/09/2017
I made these cookies last Christmas. My honey and my young adult sons loved them so much I barely had any to decorate and had to bake more!! Perfect holiday sugar cookie recipe.
Rating: 5 stars
11/29/2017
Simple recipe, super easy to work with. Literally threw them together in my stand mixer. I didn't use the parchment, just rolled them out on a board with flour. Absolutely add the cognac, great tip! They bake up light, but are still sturdy enough to withstand icing. Winner.
Rating: Unrated
07/08/2015
This recipe is excellent. The cookies were flavorful and chewy. The dough was a bit soft after mixing in the 2C of flour, so I added an additional 1/4C a tbsp at a time, until I got the consistency that I wanted. I rolled the dough to 1/4" thick and used cookie cutters to form the cookies. I baked for approximately 10 minutes---- the cookies had not yet browned on the edges. Once cooled, they were perfect!
Rating: Unrated
02/09/2015
Made these for Valentines Day...heart shaped with red sprinkles. They look & taste great. Easy to make. This recipe is a keeper.
Rating: Unrated
10/17/2014
I followed this recipe word for word. My dough turned out dry and crumbly. I found it impossible to work with. It was so difficult to make a handful of cookies I gave up on the rest of the dough and threw it in the freezer in hope that some other day I will have the patience for it. I couldn't form solid dough, it fell apart like damp sand. It irritated me so much I couldn't wait for them to be done cooking--so I could stop making them. Disappointed.
Rating: Unrated
08/29/2014
I love this recipe, the cookies turned out amazing! The dough was sticky but I fixed that by putting flour on my hands and then rolling them, I also added 2 more tbsps of flour! Amazing!
Rating: Unrated
06/25/2014
This recipe is not good at all! The dough is sticky and gooey and not able to shape well at all.
Rating: Unrated
02/13/2014
Hi. I tried this recipe with my sister and I guess we might of did something wrong. Maybe too much flour, or too little sugar. It just didn't taste sweet enough to me. I'm sure it's a wonderful recipe, I just believe I made it wrong.
Rating: 5 stars
12/09/2013
I chilled the dough for 2 hours the dough was light and tender not sticky I floured my rolling pin to prevent it from sticking I put them on parchment paper and they turned out so tender but crisp they melted in my mouth I will make this recipe a lot
Rating: Unrated
03/12/2013
These cookies taste amazing! I followed the recipe to a T, but I was worried when my dough came out sticky and nearly unmanageable like some other reviewers have said. But I rolled up my nd vowed not to let the dough win! I gave this recipe 4 stars only because no matter what i did, the cookies still puffed up and lost some of their shape in the oven. If you are going to pick out a Women T-shirts as a gift.
Rating: Unrated
02/13/2013
Am I doing something wrong? I made the recipe exactly as stated and put it in the fridge for over two hours. When I took it out, it was too gooey to roll and cut out. Help!!!! What can I do differently?
Rating: 4 stars
12/22/2012
These cookies taste amazing! I followed the recipe to a T, but I was worried when my dough came out sticky and nearly unmanageable like some other reviewers have said. But I rolled up my sleeves and vowed not to let the dough win! I gave this recipe 4 stars only because no matter what i did, the cookies still puffed up and lost some of their shape in the oven. I won't make these again to cut cookies, but I'll most definitely make them again as rounds. They taste great even without the frosting!
Rating: Unrated
12/19/2012
This is THE best sugar cookie dough! You must refrigerate it and I don't use milk. I have used brandy before but I usually use bourbon vanilla extract from Trader Joe's instead. Don't let them brown!!
Rating: Unrated
11/13/2012
sounds yummy
Rating: Unrated
10/10/2012
I just made halloween cutout sugar cookies with this recipe and it worked great! I used real butter and added about 1/4 tsp of lemon extract for a little more flavor. They came out beautifully! Thank you for a great recipe!
Rating: Unrated
06/06/2012
I found the dough very difficult to work with. After removing from the fridge, it quickly goes to room temperature and sticks to the rolling pin, your hand and anything else it comes in contact with. :(
Rating: Unrated
12/15/2011
I always use this recipie. It is fantastic. However, today I tried making snowflakes with it and they wouldn't hold their shape. Any suggestions?
Rating: Unrated
02/26/2011
Excellent recipe, makes so many cookies. The cookie were light and fluffy. Endless decoration ideas, can prepare ahead of time and just place in freezer. I also spinkled sugar on top before placing in oven.
Rating: Unrated
02/14/2011
I used this last night to make Valentine's Day Cutout Cookies - and iced it with Dani Fiore's royal icing recipe...the cookies (ranging in different sizes) - took exactly 10 mintures for a perfect finish...and the icing was great. It took me three really drippy cookies...to get the hang of it...but they turned out fantastic.
Rating: Unrated
11/29/2010
These are light and fluffy and delicious! They are simple to make and the listed recipe doesn't require any alteration to make a great cookie. Will definitely use this as my go-to Sugar Cookie recipe.
Rating: Unrated
02/11/2010
Can the Ideal Sugar Cookie dough be frozen?
Rating: Unrated
05/29/2009
anyone know how to make the sugared flowers?
Rating: Unrated
05/04/2009
where are the directions and recipe for the baby carriage cake? Lori on M.D.I. llsj61@hotmail.com
Rating: Unrated
02/14/2009
In reply to the baking powder leaving a metallic aftertaste: Most baking powders have ALUMINUM in them - perhaps your metallic taste comes from that?? Instead why not try an aluminum-free baking powder, like RUMFORD brand. I switched to it some time ago and LOVE it. I see no reason to add extra aluminum to our diets!
Rating: Unrated
12/22/2008
I dont understand why a sugar cookie recipe has to have baking powder in its formula. I always omit this ingredient. For me, creaming butter and sugar is enough to leaven the dough. Besides, baking powder leaves a metallic after-taste. Thank you folks for sharing this perfect recipe.
Rating: Unrated
12/22/2008
I dont understand why a sugar cookie recipe has to have baking powder in its formula. I always omit this ingredient. For me, creaming butter and sugar is enough to leaven the dough. Besides, baking powder leaves a metallic after-taste. Thank you folks for sharing this perfect recipe.
Rating: Unrated
10/27/2008
I made these for my nephew for halloween to decorate. It was the best sugar cookie recipe I have ever used. Tasty and the dough was a dream to handle! Excellent!
Rating: Unrated
09/12/2008
I made these and they were just ok. I wouldn't make them again though. The best cookie ever is Marth's vanilla malted cookies. They are truly the best. Everyone loves them.
Rating: Unrated
08/02/2008
I made 10 dozen of these cookies for the dessert reception at my wedding and they were awesome! I highly reccommend these, very tasty and bake really nicely.
Rating: Unrated
02/13/2008
These cookies are fantastic. The yeild is not that many, but perhaps because I used a large heart cookie cutter. They are buttery, flavorful, and so good! I made them over the weeend, and stored in a zip bag, and they did not get rock hard. I really, really like them. They are sweet, but not too sweet. I will use this as my sugar cookie recipe from now on!
Rating: Unrated
02/10/2008
I am by not a baker. I am not that good with the whole baking thing. But my daughter wanted to bake cookies for vanlentine's day and decorate them with each class mates name on them. I made 5 dozen !!!! They turned out fantastic. This recipe will be one of my all time favorites. thanks Martha. It was a good thing.
Rating: Unrated
01/31/2008
I made quite a few sugar cookies for my daughter's first birthday, but I made them with a lady bug cookie cutter. This was very easy and any leftovers I just froze. So far this is a favorite for us. Ours came out quite tasty.
Rating: Unrated
11/30/2007
With this cookie it's all about show! It's not a very tasty cookie but if you're skilled, they can be a showstopper. I'm entertaining the idea of starting my own line of cookies for brides and other special occasions. I have a background in art and feel that has been a big part of why I do what I do. For all of you out there in the food business, it can be a rat race. Hang in there and do what you love to do, it will pay off in the end.
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