My favorite cookie for frosting and decorating for any holiday or special event including Easter, birthdays, weddings, Christmas and Valentine’s Day. When I say they are the best, it’s because these Old-Fashioned Amish Sugar Cookies are so perfect in texture and taste.
I have so many of my favorite recipes that were first published on my site before people I know were even using the Internet. No, I am not kidding! I first put this recipe for Amish Sugar Cookies online at my first website and then added them to the blog over a decade ago, you know when we didn’t know each other? It’s the perfect time to share again or honestly, for the first time.
Still I learned something new recently and it’s an important fact. Lots of other folks are familiar with these cookies too…but one detail that was not shared with me when the recipe was? These are Amish Sugar Cookies and well known as a matter of fact. Shoot I thought there were my little secret. But it makes sense; the Amish do things simply and these are simply the best!
I simply LOVE these cookies, I get how the word ‘best’ is subjective but these have such a great taste and texture that they truly win that designation in my book. That they are easy makes them better than best even.
They go way beyond the Christmas holidays too; I’ve made them for birthdays and St. Paddy’s Day and yes, even prepared dozens of those gold and white sparkly ones for friends who were renewing their wedding vows. It’s amazing what a bit of colored sugar can do to make them personal.
For many years I would spend days each holiday season making rolled and decorated sugar cookies. I started the tradition in my twenties with a girlfriend and we made hundreds of cookies that we rolled, cut out, frosted and decorated and gave to friends.
I continued on with that tradition for many years when my kids where small and it became a fun family holiday experience for all of us as they got old enough to help. We loved sharing them with our neighbors, friends and family.
But one day, there were no little girls wanting to help mommy make Valentine, Easter, or Santa sugar cookies and I was ready for something simpler. I’ll keep that big box of cookie cutters for the time when my children have their own children and I can make them with grandkids but for me at this time, these are not just the next best thing; I think they are even better!
Maybe the best part of a recipe I called The Best Sugar Cookies is how easy they are to make. Pretty basic ingredients, no time required in the fridge and simple enough to doll it up a bit with festive colors and make it our contribution to holiday cookies; who doesn’t love a plain but still beautiful sugar cookie.
Easter? Sure! A couple of neighbor kids and I once decorated a huge batch with Easter Egg colors for me to hand out to all of the kids on the street…they really are fun and easy; just ask the three 9-year old kids who helped!
No matter that this is an old recipe; sometimes they are the best and I do love discovering that they are Amish Sugar Cookies. They may be simpler to make than cutout cookies, but have such a great taste and texture; so good, so light, and just the right amount of crisp.
The ingredients include powdered sugar, cream of tartar, and some vegetable oil; something in those ingredients give them the light, airy, crisp texture we simple love. Seriously…crisp but not hard; you must try them!
Many years ago I volunteered to host Denver’s South Metro Cooking Club Meetup at my home and help members make sugar cookies. We spent an afternoon with an assembly line of cookie making.
Knowing I would have up to 15 people in my kitchen making and decorating cookies, I thought this recipe ideal and it was quite the production. Two people making batches of dough, two making frosting, two managing the baking and the rest of us either decorating or maybe just drinking wine and chatting up guests (yes, me…so?).
I kept mine simple but even this very old photo does them justice; pretty and delicious!
We had such a blast and these very old photos gives you an idea of how many hands were in the mix. Literally. We frosted some and simply sprinkled sugar on others but mostly we just had so much fun and everyone left feeling accomplished and with a plate of their own decorated cookies. I should do that again shouldn’t I?
For me the real key to these being successful with just sprinkles meant changing the product I used for decorating. No longer happy with the bottles of decorations meant for cookies with sugar the size of your regular granulated sugar,
I’ve graduated to using the larger sugar decorations typically used for cakes. This Wilton White Sparkling Sugar is my go to for both these cookies and for decorating the rims of cocktails too; their size makes for a true crystal look and they’re beautiful. There are lots of colors available too. I also love these Wilton Sugar Pearls; they’re always a nice contrast.
Santa is never forgotten either. He must be stuffed after getting goodies at each house but no matter; they are all gone when we get up in the morning! This past Christmas season I had my neighbor kids over to help me out then too. They did not make these cookies; no they made ones that appeared to each have a half bottle of sprinkles them…but they had fun!
I really do mix them up a lot and they’ve been my go to for birthdays and holidays for many years now. With or without frosting, these Amish Sugar Cookies truly are the best!
More Favorite Cookies:
- Pecan Butter Balls
- Chocolate Chip Cookies with Brown Butter and Molasses
- Potato Chip Cookies
- Heath Bar Slice and Bake Cookies
- Barbara Bush’s Chocolate Chip and Oatmeal Cookies
PIN IT! ‘Amish Sugar Cookies’
For the Cookies:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup packed powdered sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- Pinch of salt
- 4 1/2 cups flour
For the Buttercream Frosting:
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
- 3-4 cups confectioners sugar; lighten up by whisking in a bowl, not sifting
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 3-4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
- Sugars for rolling
To Make the Cookies
- Cream butter and add sugars and mix well. Blend in oil, eggs and vanilla, in that order. Mix dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture and beat til thoroughly combines.
- Roll into balls and flatten with a glass dipped in sugar. Brush lightly with a pastry brush dipped in milk.
- Decorate as desired (See notes if not decorating)
- Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
- Remove from cookie sheets after a minute or two and then allow to cool completely.
To Make the Frosting
- Beat butter for a few minute on medium speed.
- Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and mix on low speed until the sugar is incorporated.
- Add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream and beat for approximately 3 minutes.
- For a stiffer consistency add the remaining sugar. For a thinner consistency add the remaining milk 1 tablespoon at a time.
If not decorating the cookies, roll them in sugar before flattening with the glass and baking. Some other suggestions:
- Combine 2/3 cup sugar and 2 Tbsp cinnamon
- Combine 1/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup maple sugar