Sugar Cookie Comparison

I’ve been wanting to make iced sugar cookies for quite sometime. I searched and searched for a great recipe and came across The Fabulous Sugar Cookie recipe from A Year in the Kitchen & Good Things Catered. I also decided I would do a comparison since everyone is always looking for a good sugar cookie recipe. I paired these up with Martha Stewart’s Basic Sugar Cookie Recipe. I decorated both with this buttercream recipe. Both these cookies were delicious, but very different. The Fabulous Sugar Cookies were light, airy and fluffy and let the buttercream really shine through. Martha’s Basic Sugar cookies were more sugary in the cookie itself and chewy. It added a nice flavor to the buttercream. I really did love both of them equally for those reasons. If you want a light & fluffy cookie, go with the Fabulous ones, and if you want a chewier cookie, go with Martha’s. Adam’s vote was for the Fabulous cookies hands down, however. I will say that the Fabulous cookies were easier to roll out and work with. Martha’s was a bit of a workout to roll out, but once they were rolled it was easy to cut them out. I recommend cutting each roll of dough in half and keeping half refrigerated while you roll out and cut the other half. It’s so much easier to work with chilled dough.

With the Fabulous Cookies I halved the recipe and got around 40 cut-out cookies. The full recipe is listed below. I also opted not to use the lemon zest. Martha’s made around 30 or so.

Fabulous Sugar Cookies

Source: Ashlee of A Year in the Kitchen & Katie of Good Things Catered
Recipe makes about 80 cut-out cookies

1 1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. powdered sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 Tbsp lemon zest
5 c. flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Powdered sugar, for rolling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cream butter and sugars in a mixer for 5 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly.
Add vanilla, almond, and lemon zest(if using).
Wisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to batter a little at a time.
Do not over mix, this process should take about one minute.
Chill dough for up to a week in the fridge, or roll out and cut right away.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and bake cookies for 7-8 minutes.
Wait until cookies are cooled before icing.
Martha Stewart’s Basic Sugar Cookies
Makes 32

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Assorted candies, sprinkles, or colored sugars, for decorating (optional)

In large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; beat until combined. Divide dough in half; flatten into disks. Wrap each in plastic; freeze until firm, at least 20 minutes, or place in a resealable plastic bag, and freeze up to 3 months (thaw in refrigerator overnight).

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment. Remove one dough disk; let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Roll out 1/8 inch thick between two sheets of floured parchment, dusting dough with flour as needed. Cut shapes with cookie cutters. Using a spatula, transfer to prepared baking sheets. (If dough gets soft, chill 10 minutes.) Reroll scraps; cut shapes. Repeat with remaining dough.

Bake, rotating halfway through, until edges are golden, 10 to 18 minutes (depending on size). Cool completely on wire racks. To ice cookies, spread with the back of a spoon. Let the icing harden, about 20 minutes. Decorate as desired.

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  1. I love comparison posts – I haven’t tried Martha’s recipe, but I’ve tried the Fabulous recipe, and found the exact same thing – more fluffy and cakey than the recipe I normally use (Alton Brown’s). Both are great though – just depends on what you’re in the mood for!

    Beautiful job on the decorative icing!!!

  2. Thanks for the comparison and either recipe, they came out looking great!

  3. Thanks for the comparison – I love it when people post things like this!! I just made the Fabulous cookies yesterday – I did keep the lemon zest in and really loved how that added to the flavor. I think they are awesome and they will be my standby sugar cutout cookie recipe from now on for sure!

  4. I LOVE comparison posts! This is great! I’ll have to try the martha recipe. Your cookies look FABULOUS! 🙂

  5. Thanks for the pointers on the two different sugar cookie recipes! I will heed your advice. Your buttercream icing looks slightly curdled. Did you use margarine or some kind of "buttery" spread (like Shedd's spread) instead of real butter?