Sugar Cookies and Buttercream Frosting

Sugar Cookies and Buttercream Frosting - Food & Nutrition Magazine - Stone Soup
Photo by Tara Rochford

Soft, sweet and easy to make, these sugar cookies are my go-to recipe for a blank cookie-decorating canvas each year.  The buttercream frosting is another blank canvas recipe that is creamy, buttery and everything you look for in a frosting for cookies, cakes or sweet treats.

One of my favorite traditions that my family never fails to do is make and decorate sugar cookies on Christmas Eve.  As children, we would leave these freshly baked and decorated cookies out for Santa with a note, glass of milk and carrot for the reindeer.  Even though we don’t leave a note for Santa every year, it’s still a fun tradition to get together as a family and decorate our cookies.

The method for this recipe is fairly simple. Cream together the butter and sugar, add the eggs and vanilla.  Combine with the dry ingredients and then chill the dough for at least 1 hour.

According to the King Arthur Flour blog, chilling the dough for cookies solidifies the fat, which controls the amount of spreading, which helps these cute cut outs maintain the shapes you want them to have.  The sugar in the dough gradually absorbs liquid, causing the dough to dry out, which helps to concentrate the flavors making these cookies more sweet and buttery.

So, while it may seem like an unnecessary step — make sure to chill the dough! And allow them to cool before your decorate!

Sugar Cookies and Buttercream FrostingSugar Cookies and Buttercream Frosting -


For the Cookies

  • 1 ½ cups butter, softened (use lactose-free if making it low FODMAP)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour (I use a gluten free flour blend)
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Buttercream Frosting

  • ½ cup butter, softened (use lactose-free if making low FODMAP)
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 3 tablespoon almond milk
  • pinch of salt


For the Cookies

Cream together the butter and sugar with a handheld mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment. Beat the eggs and vanilla into this mixture. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly mix the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Cover, and chill the dough for at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Roll the cookie dough onto a lightly floured surface (use the same flour as you did in the dough). Cut into your favorite shapes and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake the cookies at 400°F for about 6 to 8 minutes or until slightly firm.

For the Frosting

With a handheld mixture or stand mixture with paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium until creamy. Add about 2 ½ cups of the confectioners’ sugar, 1 tablespoon of almond milk, vanilla extract and salt. Mix on low.

Increase speed to high and mix for about 3 minutes until very creamy.

Add the remaining confectioners’ sugar and almond milk 1 tablespoon at a time (if necessary) to achieve desired consistency. If it’s too runny, add more sugar, if it’s too stiff add more almond milk.

Cooking Notes:

  • This recipe has not been tested for FODMAP content, but ingredients are used in amounts compliant with the Monash University App.
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Tara Rochford
Tara Rochford, RDN is a dietitian, author and blogger based in Indianapolis, IN. She shares recipes (many of which are low FODMAP) and tips for living a healthy life on her blog and she teaches cooking classes in her community. Follow her on instagram facebook on her Tara Rochford Nutrition page.