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Alaska from Scratch: Big, soft sugar cookies to beat what's at the grocery store

  • Author: Maya Wilson
  • Updated: September 30, 2016
  • Published February 10, 2016

I confess that in my former life, I may have enjoyed my fair share of those huge packages of frosted sugar cookies placed strategically all over the grocery store, with their alluring seasonal colors and coordinating sprinkles. You know exactly which ones I'm talking about. Today, just in time for Valentine's Day, I offer you a recipe for a delicious, homemade version of those ubiquitous cookies.

The secret to getting the cookies so big and soft is the sour cream in the dough. They almost melt in your mouth. You can substitute plain Greek yogurt in this recipe if you don't have sour cream on hand. I've made them both ways with great results. These cookies are topped with an almond-scented buttercream frosting and Valentine's Day-themed sprinkles, but you can make these any season of the year and customize the flavors and colors to suit your needs.

Big, soft frosted sugar cookies

Yields about 2 dozen large cookies

3 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt

For the frosting:

1 cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon almond extract

4 cups powdered sugar

6 tablespoons heavy cream

Sprinkles, as desired

1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Incorporate the eggs, followed by the vanilla and the yogurt, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Gradually add the dry ingredients until it all just comes together. The dough will be sticky.

3. Divide the dough in half and flatten each half into a disc. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least two hours.

4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, placing oven rack in the middle of the oven. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

5. Unwrap the dough and place it onto a floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough with flour also. Roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut the dough with a large round cutter (about 2-3-inch size cutter). Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough.

6. Bake the cookies 6-7 minutes until cooked through and golden on the bottom. (Mine were perfect at 6 minutes. Be careful not to over bake. You don't want any color on the top or sides of the cookies, just the bottom.) Transfer cookies immediately to a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

To make frosting:

7. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and extracts. Reduce speed and add the powdered sugar gradually. Add the cream, then increase the speed and beat frosting until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Add food coloring here if colored frosting is desired, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Frost cookies (I used a piping bag with a large round tip in a round swirling motion, then used a small off-set spatula to lightly spread the frosting). Sprinkle the cookies with sprinkles as desired directly after frosting so that the sprinkles will adhere. Recipe adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod.

Maya Wilson lives in Kenai and blogs about food at Have a food question or recipe request? Email and your inquiry may appear in a future column.

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