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Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Baker Bettie Cookies, December, Feature, Holiday, Sweets 66 Comments

Soft sour cream sugar cookies are a holiday must have with our family! This sugar cookie Christmas tree is made with these cookies because they hold their shape well and do not spread during cooking. The cookies stay pale in color after baking and are very soft and tender. A royal icing looks lovely and does not stick so the layers can be easily removed. 

Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

I did something for the first time last weekend. I made decorated cut-out sugar cookies. To most, this may not seem like that big of a deal. But for me, it was huge. For several reasons.

If you have followed my blog a while now, it is no secret that I have a thing for cookies. Possibly an obsession. I have 25 cookie recipes on this blog. Twenty-Five!

Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

But for some reason I have always stayed away from decorated cut-out cookies. I usually say that it’s because I don’t like frosting, and that really is true. I much prefer things without frosting. But the truth of the matter is that I am intimidated by them. While I may be confident in my creativity at creating recipes and and flavor combinations, my artistic ability is literally about the level of a 5 year old. So naturally I run and hide and make excuses for anything that I’m not amazing at. It’s what I do.

But I’m trying to make it not what I do. I started simple. I don’t know if you can really consider these “decorated cookies,” but they involved a piping bag and a steady hand so for me that is waaaaay out of my comfort zone. And using the tree cookie cutter set was perfect because you can easily hide the imperfections by the way you stack them. I do admit, it came out really adorable. I was pretty pleased and will definitely have to try more advanced versions of the decorating soon.

If you have never had a sour cream sugar cookie you NEED to make these. The are perfect. Several of my family members and friends make these around the holidays every year and they are my favorite. They stay perfectly soft, have a bit of tang, and are just a little too addicting. The perfect holiday cookie. They also work really well for this star cookie tree because they do not spread at all during baking and hold their shape well. The royal icing also hardens so the cookies can easily stack and not stick to one another.

The specific cutters I used here are from Crate and Barrel and they sadly no longer carry them. You can find similar cookie cutters to make this tree by clicking here.

Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

4.9 from 9 reviews
Sour Cream Sugar Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: About 3 Dozen 2" Cookies or 1 Cookie tree plus 1 dozen 2" Cookies
Ingredients
for the cookies
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ⅓ cup vegetable shortening
  • 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ⅓ cup full fat sour cream
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • Juice of 1 lemon
for the icing
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • food coloring (optional)
Instructions
for the cookies
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and shortening about 30 seconds or until softened.
  2. Add sugar, egg, sour cream, baking powder, and lemon juice and mix until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour. Scrape sides as needed.
  4. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill for 2 to 3 hours or until easy to handle.
  5. Preheat oven to 375.
  6. Roll dough on lightly floured surface to ⅛ inch thick.
  7. Cut with desired cookie cutter, dipped in flour to prevent sticking.
  8. Place on parchment or foil lined baking sheet.
  9. Bake at 375 degrees for 5 to 6 minutes or until edges are firm and very lightly browned (these will not turn golden, they should still be white in color)
  10. Slide parchment paper with cookies attached onto counter top to cool for 5 minutes.
  11. Remove to wire rack to cool completely before icing.
for the icing
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or a hand mixer) beat egg whites and lemon juice until frothy.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and beat until combined and smooth.
  3. Add food coloring, if desired, and beat until combined.
  4. The icing needs to be used immediately, as it hardens.
  5. Place in a piping bag fitted with a fine tip.
  6. Trace the outer edge of the cookie with the icing
  7. “Flood” the inside of the cookies with icing (go back and forth with the icing until it is mostly covered with icing)
  8. Use a toothpick or an offset spatula to smooth out the icing and pop any air bubbles.
  9. Allow to harden for at least 2 hours.
  10. Store in an airtight container.

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Comments 66

  1. Lisa Maldonado

    I truly enjoy making Eggnog cookies. I also cut cookie cutters and decorate them with royal icing that has a hint of lemon in it. I too have seen the tree cutters and never used them before. We recently got creative with cookie cutters and stamps and made ornaments for my daughters dance team fundraiser. She told me, if she hadn’t helped, she would have thought they were my edible ones lol. On my FB page I have those pictures. Have a great day. !

  2. Jenessa

    My favourite holiday cookie is cranberry biscotti. What’s a holiday without berries? :) Nice recipe there and the cookies look really good, so don’t doubt your artistic ability. Shall try this one day! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Laura

    ME ME ME PICK ME.

    My favorite holiday cookie is…. um…. all of the cookies. I want to eat all of the cookies. Mostly the ones with chocolate and/or salted caramel.

  4. Jennifer Barricklow

    That tree looks so beautiful! The powdered sugar “snow” is the perfect touch. I’m a big fan of sour cream sugar cookies (and will definitely try out your recipe) but my very favorite holiday cookies are the Mexican Wedding Cakes my mother used to make, which her mother also made. I haven’t made them myself in decades. Maybe it’s time to dig out that recipe…

  5. Erica C

    Fave holiday cookie- it’s a recipe I tried for the first time last year and I got rave reviews. Not a traditional holiday cookie but I associate it with the holidays b/c I baked it for a cookie swap. It has dried cherries, chocolate chunks, pecans, it’s just delish!

  6. Joan@Chocolateandmore

    These cookies are gorgeous, I love decorating sugar cookies with the kids every year but my favorite to eat is a Swedish Christmas Cookie. My sister gave me the recipe years ago and I still make it every year. Oh and I already follow you on FB.

  7. Stephanie Doudrick Matasovsky

    OMG, this is adorable! I am totally making this for my works christmas party. Even if I don't win the cookie cutters!

  8. Stephanie Doudrick Matasovsky

    So anyways, my favorite holiday cookie is a recipe we made up at work, a chocolate chip cookie with peppermint pudding in it ( we use vanilla normally) and sometimes with mint chips instead of chocolate.

  9. Maria

    This is the loveliest cookie display ever! How cool?! The cookie cutter set is pretty awesome too :) would love to win – My favorite holiday cookie is Scottish Shortbread – YUM! I’m gonna check out your cookie recipes – I looooove cookies :P

  10. Anna

    My favorite holiday cookie is the gingerbread cookiesthat my grandmother makes, my mom makes and that I now make :-) The recipe is “world famous”, and with the cookie’s spicy taste comes along countless memories.

  11. Lisa

    My favorite cookie has to be my spritz cookies…it’s the only one my children insist MUST be made. I would LOVE to win these adorable cookie cutters!

  12. Cabanne Nadège

    My favorite christmas cookies are the orange blossom madeleines of my grand mother ! Not very american. Your cookies tree is very impressive !

  13. Heather

    What a super adorable cookie tree! I have yet to “perfect” sugar cookie decorating, this is such a good starter cookie recipe – I LOVE Noel Cookies, they are a favorite of ours during the Holidays :)

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  15. Rita

    I LOVE THIS!!!! I am making sugar cookies this weekend and you’ve inspired me to try this! My favorite holiday cookies are Raspberry Linzer Cookies yummmmm

  16. Rebecca

    This is the first time I’ve ever seen that cookie recipe anywhere since my sister-in-law showed it to me 12 years ago. I LOVE sugar cookies made with sour cream; they are our classic christmas cookie because they roll out so easily, keep their shape, and taste amazing. In our house we actually frost them with a butter-icing (seriously, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, milk; that’s it). One of these days I want to figure out how to make a good CHOCOLATE sugar cookie on this base, but in the meantime these are still our classic!

  17. Jilly

    My favorite Holiday cookies are now officially these! I made these today and you’re right, the sour cream made all the difference! I always make cut out sugar cookies with my niece and nephews during Christmas and on Christmas eve we frost them for Santa. These are the cookies I’ll be making this year! I LOVED them, so thanks for the recipe! And it’s so nice of you to give away the cookie cutters! I love your blog, so keep it up!

  18. Kathy Woelk

    My favorite Christmas cookie is peppernuts (german cookie) My grandmother made a soft sugar cookie with cream from their cows and it sounds alot like this. Gonna try it to see if it’s the same one.

  19. Katie

    Our favorite Christmas cookies are Snickerdoodles. We also like to make star-shaped sugar cookies, decorated with different colors of icing. Either one is just right for munching after our daughter goes to sleep and we share a bottle of champagne while wrapping Christmas presents and watching A Christmas Story over and over until all the presents are wrapped and under the tree.

  20. Bridget

    My favorite would have to be the spritz cookies (the ones shaped likes trees and such)- yummmy! But I need to find a recipe that does not use sugar or dairy products now :(

  21. Barb Catt

    My favorite holiday cookie is called Santa’s Whiskers. It’s a basic sugar cookie recipe with added bits of maraschino cherries and sweetened coconut!

  22. Ethel Hughes

    So many favorites to choose from but for holiday baking the sour cream sugar cookie wins! I use a petit four glace icing & decorate with a variety of butter frosting colors…yum & fun!!!

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  25. Treefrog gardens

    I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your blog. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable
    for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire
    out a developer to create your theme? Excellent work!

  26. Leland

    When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added”
    checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three
    e-mails with the same comment. Is there any way you
    can remove me from that service? Thanks!

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      Baker Bettie

      Thanks Dina! It was actually incredibly easy to assemble. The cookie cutters are a set of different sizes. I made one batch of dough, cut out the cookies and baked them, iced them, and then just stacked all the cookies up from largest to smallest. For the pictures I just sprinkled some powdered sugar over top.

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          Baker Bettie

          It really depends on the size of cutter you use. If you use this cookie cutter set it is enough to make 1 tree (17 cookies of varying sizes) plus about 1 dozen smaller stars. So if you are using a regular smallish cookie cutter you should be able to get about 3 dozen cookies.

  27. Kyle

    Mine didn’t come out quite as good-looking as yours, but practice makes perfect I guess! it was like the Leaning Tower of Piza. :P

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  29. Jan F

    Sour cream sugar cookies have been a favorite part of my Christmas memories for over 60 years! My grammy’s recipe is very similar to yours. So glad to find someone else who appreciates the deliciousness of these cookies!

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