These cookies have been in my family since, well, the 90’s. One of our family friends—you guessed it—named Marilyn, would make these cookies and I would just flip. I mean they were so good and so soft, and just all around flavorful-delicious. These soft, almond-flavored sugar cookies are just the ONLY thing good about life.
Dramatic, I know.
I can remember making Marilyn’s Soft Sugar Cookies in my childhood home in our tiny little kitchen. Ironically, the house itself was huge, but the kitchen was as small as a bathroom. The house had an incredible dining room, wood floors, dark-paneled walls crowned with 1910 wallpaper, and a large wooden table that sat in the center. So when the cookies were done, we would take them to that room, sit on large squeaky chairs, and frost what seemed like a thousand cookies.
These cookies changed my life. Later on in my adolescence, when my mom wasn’t sure if she would be around for the next Christmas, she bundled up some of my favorite cookie recipes and gave them to me in a little binder laced with Christmas ribbon. Marilyn’s Soft Sugar Cookies were in it. Thank God for that.
And now, many Christmases later, I still make these cookies every year at Christmastime. I don’t think I’ve missed even one year. I usually make them all at once at the beginning of December, and then freeze them in three batches. I pull them out when I want to bring some to work or when we are about to host a Christmas cookie decorating party. If you’d like to make a smaller batch, this is an easy recipe to cut in half.
My mom always taught me three simple rules when making these cookies:
- When rolling out the dough, make sure not to roll it out too thin. You want the dough to be thick. This keeps the cookies nice and soft.
- The cookies are done when they no longer look shiny. Make sure to remove them from the oven before they start to brown on the edges. Again, this keeps the cookies nice and soft.
- Eat with a cup of coffee.
Okay, maybe that last rule was not my mom’s, but it’s a good rule in my opinion. Make these this Christmas season with your son or daughter, and enjoy them with some strong French press coffee. Go crazy on the sprinkles and don’t hold back on the frosting.
Marilyn's Soft Sugar CookiesPrint Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups butter-flavored Crisco
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- 4 3/4 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Frosting -
- 2 cups butter
- 1/4 cup water
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- Sprinkles for decorating
In a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the Crisco, sugar, vanilla, and eggs together until well-mixed and fluffy. In a separate bowl, sift the dry ingredients together and add to the creamed butter mixture. Beat together on medium-high for another 2 minutes.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for one hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough about 1/3-inch thick. Using cookie cutters, cut out the dough and bake on a parchment-lined (or use a silicone baking mat liner) cookie sheet for 6-8 minutes. Bake only until cookies have set and have lost their shine. Do not let them brown.
For the frosting, using a standing mixer and a wire whip attachment, whip room-temperature butter and water together for 5-10 minutes and then add the powdered sugar. Whip until all the sugar is incorporated and the frosting is soft and fluffy. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the vanilla beans. Add vanilla bean scrapings to the frosting and mix until combined.
Frost cookies and adorn with sprinkles as desired.