soft frosted sugar cookies

Confession time! You know those frosted sugar cookies you get at the grocery store, the soft ones that come with different colored frostings depending on the holiday season? I totally love them.  They seem like exactly the kind of thing that someone who loves to bake things from scratch should turn up their nose at – but I can’t.  They’re so soft and just taste so good!  Well, now I can enjoy them guilt-free (um, minus the guilt that comes from eating too many cookies?) since I can make them at home! That being said, if someone shows up at work with the grocery store version, I’m sure I’d still sneak a piece…

These are easily customizable for any holiday or other occasion, by just changing the frosting/sprinkle colors.  I made some mini versions for Valentine’s Day – these would be perfect to bring in to work or send to school/daycare with your kiddos!


For the cookies:

  • 4½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 4½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 5 tsp. vanilla extract

For the frosting:

  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 5 1/3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 7-8 tbsp. milk
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Sprinkles (optional)


In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk  to blend.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed.  Blend in the vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.  Cover and chill the dough for 30 minutes.

While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, scoop out some dough (1/4 cup for large cookies, 2 tbsp. for minis) and roll into a ball.  Flatten the ball slightly and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining dough, leaving room for the cookies to spread.  Bake about 10-12 minutes or just until set.  Be careful not to overbake – the edges really shouldn’t brown at all.  Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To frost the cookies, place the confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl.  Add the melted butter, vanilla, and milk to the bowl and whisk until smooth.  Whisk in additional milk as necessary, 1 teaspoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.  Tint with food coloring if desired.  Use an offset spatula or spoon to frost the cooled cookies.  Top with sprinkles if desired and store in an airtight container.

Yield: 2 dozen large or 4 dozen small cookies

Source: Annie’s Eats; originally adapted from Hostess with the Mostess

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