Classic Sugar Cut Outs for Every Holiday

These are my family's classic Christmas cookie recipe, but they are too tasty not to make at other times of the year! There are cookie cutters for literally every occasion and with a little food coloring in the icing you have pretty  much endless options. While I'm fond of cute cookie cutters, these would be great even as simple circles with a smear of icing.

Sugar Cut Outs

A recipe from Pillsbury for every occasion. Icing is a family twist.


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • water (as needed)

In a large bowl, cream the butter sugar. Add the egg, vanilla, and milk and mix. Dump the dry ingredients into your wet mixture and stir until combined. Clump the dough into two slabs, wrap in wax paper, and refrigerate for at least an hour. 

Meanwhile, let's make icing! Measure out your powdered sugar into a medium sized bowl. Squeeze your lemon over a fine sieve to catch any seeds and blend the lemon juice with the sugar. If your sugar/lemon mixture resembles a thick or crumbly paste, add more liquid (lemon juice or water). If your sugar/lemon mixture is very very runny, add more sugar. You're aiming for a spreadable texture in the middle of the two extremes. As the icing is white, it's super easy to get colorful with some food coloring! I also like to prep a piping bag of white at this point. Set icing aside. 

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a well floured surface, roll out one of your dough hunks until about an eight of an inch thick. Cut your dough with cookie cutters/a biscuit cutter/a glass/whatever you have on hand. Place cookies on a baking sheet about an inch apart and bake for 5-8 minutes. Let rest for a moment when you pull 'em out and then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Once cool, decorate to your heart's content! If the icing thickens up or dries out, add a tiny bit of water and stir to bring it back to a workable consistency. Let the icing set for at least an hour and then store in an air tight container.