Sugar Cookie Showdown and #MerryChristmas

MERRY CHRISTMAS to all who celebrate!!!!

I invited my baker friends over for a sugar cookie showdown.  We compared the finished cookies and chose a winner….the recipe with a bit of cream cheese was the overwhelming favorite. One daring participant (a gal after my own heart), sampled the cookie doughs as well. She was surprised that the best tasting dough didn’t make the best tasting cookie. Actually both cookie recipes make incredible cookies, but the one with a bit of cream cheese and leavening created a softer cookie which still kept it’s shape and wowed my testers.

We didn’t do any fancy decorating, but instead smeared the cookies with a rich buttercream.  I added a few sprinkles to make them festive. You can thin out the icing, if desired, and use it for piping. Make sure not to overwhip your icing if you want to use it a pastry bag.

Here are my tips for perfect sugar cookies:

  • Use the best quality ingredients for the best tasting cookies…brand name butter and real vanilla extract are key.
  • Have your butter, eggs and cream cheese at room temperature for easier incorporation.
  • Roll your cookies out with a minimal amount of flour so your cookies don’t get tough.
  • Alternatively, use powdered sugar to roll out your cookies to avoid adding extra gluten.
  • Use a large Silpat to roll out your dough for easy clean up.
  • Roll cookies to a thickness of approximately 1/8 inch. You can make them thinner for a crisper cookie or thicker for a chewier cookie (you can also use a thicker cookie for a Christmas tree ornament…just make a good sized hole at the top of your cookie before baking). Also baking for a little longer will give you a crispy cookie and underbaking will give you a softer cookie.
  • Bake your cookies on parchment for easy clean up. You can reuse your parchment for a number of batches.
  • If your dough starts sticking to your cookie cutter, dip the cutter in a bit of flour before using.
  • Keep dough cold so your cookies keep their shape. Refrigerate any leftover dough before reusing. You may also put your cookie sheet full of  unbaked cookies in the fridge to rechill the dough for about 10 minutes if needed before baking.
Here is the winning recipe for the cookies and the frosting as well:
Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies~
  • Recipe courtesy of my friend, Kaye
  • ½ cup butter, at room temperature
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  1. Cream butter, cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl till light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add flour and baking powder and stir till combined. Put dough on a large piece of plastic wrap and flatten into a disk. Wrap well and chill for at least an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 375º.
  3. On floured surface, roll out half of dough to about ⅛ inch thickness. Keep other half refrigerated till needed. Using cookie cutters of your choice, cut and place on parchment lined cookie sheet at least an inch apart. Bake 7-9 minutes till cookies start to brown on edges and are firm. Cool for a couple minutes, then remove to cooling rack.
Buttercream Frosting...adapted from Sweetopia
  • 3½ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 sticks (one cup) butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons milk (use more to thin frosting if needed)
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla
  • Food coloring or gel, optional
  1. Mix all using paddle attachment of stand mixer. Add a touch more milk to thin, it needed. Add a touch more powdered sugar to thicken, if needed.
  2. Ice or pipe frosting on cookies as desired


  1. Hotly Spiced says:

    I love your family photo. My cousin married into the ‘Bergs’. Merry Christmas to you Liz and all your family xx

  2. Thats a wonderful family picture and all of you are looking great and love the smile. Beauty and gorgeous cookies as usual from you Lizzy. Merry Christmas and god bless.

  3. What a nice photo of you and your family! Love your cookies and your blog too! Here’s wishing you and yours a wonderful Merry Christmas!

  4. Liz, great photos, great post, great recipe!!!! Merry, Merry Christmas 🙂

  5. Love you, Liz! Merry Christmas to all!!


  6. Merry Christmas Liz my friend, t you and your family. Wishing you the finest, most enjoyable holiday season. How cool that you and your friends have a cookie showdown. Love that and I bet it was a blast. These cookies do look yummy and I love the butter cream frosting. Great photo too. Cheers!!

  7. What a lovely family photo! And great cookies. It’s already Christmas morning here and it’s pouring with rain, which is a shame. We were hoping for our Christmas lunch for 20 to be out in the garden at tables under the trees. Never mind, we will all be together and that’s what matters. Merry Christmas to you and your family. It’s been a pleasure “knowing” you this year.

  8. Liz you always do such fun things with your friends. 🙂 Love the family photo…such a beautiful family. 🙂 Wishing you a very Merry Christmas. 🙂

  9. Lizzy, how do you stay so skinny 🙂 ? Love the family pics and the cookies! Merry Christmas to you and all at home!

  10. I found your baking tips very useful. I just got into baking this year and I wish I would have read some of those tips such as refrigerating the dough! I learned that one the hard way 😉 Thank you for sharing! Love + Shine CourtStar

  11. YUM! You totally come in 1st place in the showdown with these Liz! AND Merry Christmas! What a BEAUTIFUL picture of you and your family!!!! Big hugs from DC! 😀

  12. Your cookies are so beautiful, Liz! Merry Christmas!

  13. Adorable cookies! Merry Christmas, Liz!!! xoxo

  14. Love your Christmas card Liz!
    Wishing a dazzling Christmas and a fabulous New Year to you and your handsome family!
    Lori Lynn
    P.S. The cookies sound terrific too!

  15. Merry, merry Christmas!

  16. What a fun idea to have a bakeoff! The cookies look great. Hope you had a terrific Christmas Liz.

  17. Merry Christmas Liz. I hope you shared a wonderful day with your family.

  18. Liz,
    I’ve been using the same jugar cookie recipe for years bit yourslook so good. I’ll have to try it. You have a lovely family.
    Hope you had a great Christmas.

  19. Beautiful photos! I hope you had a wonderful holiday. I love that you did a taste-test to find the perfect cookie; it’s the only way to know for sure!

  20. This sounds like such a fun event, Liz! What a fantastic way to get together, bake something delicious, and discover a new recipe. I’m super competitive so I would’ve probably smack talked people the entire afternoon but it’s all in good fun 😉 Thanks for the tips – especially the one about rolling the dough on icing sugar instead of flour. Brilliant!

  21. How fun! My mom and I totally thought about doing this too! She has her favorite sugar cookie and I have mine and we both think ours is the best haha.

  22. Hey.. how did I miss this? My 15 minutes of Fame!! Thanks for the credits Lizzy. I hope lots of people tried this tried and true recipe for iced sugar cookies. I know my grandson, Jackson, loves to be in the kitchen “helping” to read these (eating the raw cookie dough and licking the frosting bowl!!)


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