Giant Soft Sugar Cookies with Buttercream Frosting

I hope that everyone had an enjoyable holiday season this year! Mike and I had a very casual, stress free Christmas day which was pretty damn perfect. We went out for Chinese and then saw Django Unchained, since we’re both Tarantino fans. I also made these cookies which were pretty damn perfect too.

These cookies are insanely good. They are really soft with a fine texture, delicate crumb, and fluffy frosting. Definitely better than the Lofthouse Cookies you find in the grocery store and very similar to Cheryl’s Cookies. The cookies do turn out to be giant size, but I think you could scale them down as desired – mini cookies would be really cute too. I would say that these are a must make for any soft sugar cookie lover.

Sadly, I can’t take credit for the ridiculously cute Snowman and Santa belt cookie design. The idea came from browsing a Cheryl’s catalogue I got in the mail this year. The decorating is easy and fairly quick which is right up my alley – I don’t enjoy spending excessive amounts of time decorating a cookie that will probably be consumed in under a minute. Sorry!  


Giant Soft Sugar Cookies with Buttercream Frosting

Adapted, slightly from Cooking Classy
Makes 12 Jumbo size Cookies
The recipe below is for Vanilla Buttercream, but feel free to experiment; these would be delicious with a lemon or raspberry buttercream or a light cream cheese frosting too. Recipe also doubles easily! 
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup salted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup all vegetable shortening (unflavored), at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg white
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Vanilla Buttercream
1/3 cup salted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 drops of almond extract
2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons half-and-half
food coloring, optional

For the Cookies

Sift flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Whisk a few times; set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer whip butter, shortening and sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy; about 4 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl and mixing paddle as needed. Add in egg and mix until well combined. Add in remaining egg white, vanilla and almond extract and mix thoroughly. With mixer running on medium-low, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix just to incorporate. Transfer dough to an airtight container and refrigerate 2 hours.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F during the last 10 minutes of refrigeration.

Scoop dough out an even 1/4 cup at a time, or portion with a scale (mine were about 64 grams each), and roll into a ball. Place dough ball on lightly floured surface, sprinkle top lightly with flour. Flatten dough to 1/2″ thick using a smooth, flat object (cookie will be about 2 5/8″ – 2 3/4″ after flattening). Transfer cookie to a parchment lined, or buttered cookie sheet and repeat process with remaining dough (use 2 cookie sheets). Bake in pre-heated oven for 9 – 11 minutes, until centers just puff, and do not indent when lightly touched. Allow cookies to cool 5 minutes on baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool. Cool completely. Frost and decorate.

For Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, of a stand or hand electric mixer. Whip until frosting is smooth and fluffy. Frost and decorate cookies. If decorating with sprinkles, be sure to add sprinkles immediately after frosting each cookie, so they stick.

For Snowman and Santa Belt Decorations

I recommend using concentrated dies, like Wilton Concentrated Icing Coloring, so the texture of the frosting does not change. For the Snowman’s eyes, mouth, and carrot nose, I used a Wilton #5 circle tip, but any small round tip will work. For the black belt on the Santa cookie, I used a Wilton #102 tip (usually used for flower petals), but a medium size basket weave tip would also work. For the Santa buckle, I used a Wilton #3 round tip.


  1. says

    Heather – these look awesome! I love the way you decorated them. I’m going to have follow your tutorial on frosting these next Christmas, I just love these. Wonderful photos too by the way!

  2. Laurel Meredith says

    Thank you for sharing this recipe and how to! Do you think the decorations would hold up if each cookie were wrapped in a cellophane bag as a party favor? Is the frosting “dry” or does it stay wet? Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Laurel! The frosting is on the soft side, and will not completely harden, but will form a crust. I’d leave them out for an hour or two so the outside sets. If you layer them in an airtight container, place wax paper in between.

      They will probably get a little smushed if you hand them out as favors; I would say a simple sprinkle decoration would be best for that.

    • says

      Hi Melanie! It would probably be okay with very basic shapes like hearts, diamonds, or stars. I would not recommend trying it with intricate cutters since the edges will not be perfectly defined after baking.

  3. Alyssa says

    LOVED the buttercream frosting recipe! Absolutely simple and sooo delicious. Although, when I started making it, it seemed very dry at first. And there seemed to be a lot more powdered sugar than I needed. I added a titch more vanilla extract, though and it worked fine and tasted amazing. This may be because I did not use any almond extract, though. My mother has a severe allergy to almonds. I wan’t sure if she would have the same reaction to almond extract but did not want to risk it. Anyways, loved this recipe and so did everyone in my family. Thanks! 🙂

    • says

      So glad you enjoyed them! That’s typical with frosting. It’s never usually exact; sometimes you have to tinker with it a little to get the right consistency.

  4. Becky says

    Heather, these look absolutely amazing! I am excited to make them for a grad party this weekend. I need to make them smaller to put a 2.5″ edible photo sticker on them. Do they spread a lot while baking? Just trying to determine what size scoop to use. Pampered Chef 40 (medium) or 70 (small)…any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Happy Baking!

      • Becky says

        Hey Heather and Fellow Bakers! I made them using both scoops. As they did spread a bit, the middle scoop (40) worked best for the 2.5 inch stickers. The small scoop (70) made for a delicious bite size cookie. They were absolutely divine. That buttercream frosting is DA BOMB! These cookies were first ones to disappear off the platters. Thank you so much for sharing!

  5. Brandi Hamerstone says

    Have any ideas on how to make Halloween ones by just doing a round cookie? I love these and want to try them without doing a pumpkin cutout.

    • says

      Hi Brandi! I would try piping on a pumpkin face on with a thin decorating tip. You could also try making some homemade cookie stencils with jack-o-lanterns, cats and bats and cover with sprinkles or lightly dust with cocoa powder.

  6. Becky F. says

    Hey there! I am going to make these for a staff Halloween party!! Can I make the dough a day before I actually bake them? Kind of the same for the frosting… Does it hold well in the fridge if I make it the night before I actually frost them? Does the color separate? Frosting break down? Thank you!

    • says

      Hi Becky! Yes, you should be able to make both the night before and refrigerate. Store your frosting in an air tight container, and let it come to room temperature before using. If you’re going to color the frosting, I’d do that the day you use it.

  7. EBG says

    These were awesome!!! Thank you so much for the recipe, I’ve been looking for a cookie similar to Cheryl’s for ever-these nailed it!

  8. Lavada says

    To reply to Jenna’s frosting question of Dec 16th using half and half in frosting instead of milk gives the frosting a richer, more mellow flavor….only can make it better from my experiences. Good luck! Lavada

  9. C. Black says

    I love this recipe! Since Cheryl’s sugar cookies are my family’s favorite. They can now have the best homemade cookies anytime and with less expense. I’ll be rolling them out and making Easter eggs for the grandchildren.

  10. lis says

    Hi there,

    will the frosting make the cookie soft? I prefer buttercream to royal icing but am afraid a high quantity of icing will render the cookie soft 🙁

  11. Marlys Seyer says

    I have been using this recipe for my sugar cookies for a while now. I roll them out using a Joseph Joseph Adjustable Rolling pin; the 3/8 inch disc. They turn out perfect and my family and friends love them. The buttercream frosting is the best!

  12. Marianne winemiller says

    These cookies look great, but my dough came out sticky, and my cookies burned on the bottom. When you say “one egg” do you mean one egg yolk or the whole egg? I put in a whole egg and another egg white because that’s what the recipe said. Also, do you start with 21/2 cups sifted or unsifted flour? I measured 21/2 cups four, then sifted it as I was putting it into the bowl. Whatever happened, my dough was way too moist. Could you advise? Thx

    • says

      Hi Marianne – you were correct. It should be 1-whole-egg and 1-egg-white. Flour is also measured first, and then sifted. Not sure exactly what happened. Did you let your batter rest long enough? It is quite soft before reseting in the fridge. Do you have thin or dark cookie sheet pans? These cookie sheets by Vollrath are my favorite.

      • Marianne says

        Thanks so much for your reply. I have dark, inexpensive cookie sheets, but I’ve always used parchment paper and never had a problem. I’m going to try another batch today. I probably goofed with ingredients somewhere. Wish me luck!

  13. Frannie says

    I made these cookies today and they turned out so wrong? Not sure what I did? HELP!! My dough was really moist even after 2 1/2 hrs in the fridge…they fell flat in the oven, and browned to quickly. Can’t tell you how they taste because I have lost my taste so I have to wait for my brother and nephew to come home and taste them…on a good note the icing came out quite nice! 😉

    • says

      Hi Frannie! Sorry I didn’t see this sooner, it initially went to spam.

      Sorry these didn’t work out for you. The dough is quite moist and on the sticky side when you work with it. Cookies can spread for many reasons. Here’s a few that may have caused you trouble, not in any particular order:

      1 – Butter and sugar could have been creamed too long.

      2 – Cookie sheet may have been too slick. If you buttered your sheet, try parchment next time.

      3 – Water content of dough. Did you use all butter? This could also alter results by increasing the water in the dough.

      Hope this helps!

  14. Christa says

    These are nothing like Cheryls cookies. They might look the same but they do not taste the same. The almond extract is so overpowering in this recipe, which is unfortunate since we were really looking forward to these from all the reviews. All you can taste is almond extract.

    • says

      Sorry you weren’t a fan of he almond extract. If you liked the cookie texture, but not the flavor you can always dial back the almond extract or eliminate it all together by replacing with more vanilla .

  15. sarah says

    Can I roll these and use cookie cutters? I have heard that they really swell up in the middle of the cookie unless you flatten them first.?

    • says

      Flattening the rolled dough balls to 1/2″ thickness before baking is part of the regular recipe. I’ve done cut-outs with these before too. They don’t hold shape like a butter cookie so I would pick something simple.

  16. Beth says

    I absolutely love this recipe! It’s my go to iced sugar cookie recipe. I don’t like shortening so I replace that with refined coconut oil and they turn out great! I think the almond flavoring is spot on, maybe not Cheryl’s but they are so tasty. Thank you for the recipe!

  17. Beth says

    I absolutely love this recipe! It’s my go to iced sugar cookie recipe. I don’t like shortening so I replace that with refined coconut oil and they turn out great! I think the almond flavoring is spot on, maybe not Cheryl’s but they are so tasty. Thank you for the recipe!

  18. joyce van stan says

    I make a ricotta cheese cookie with an icing much like this. They sit out overnight to harden the icing.
    Stored, the icing softens again. Any ideas to keep the icing with the thin crust to it? How long d you think they can store?

    • says

      Hi Joyce! I think you are describing more of a glaze. This is supposed to be a thick buttercream, but I think a glaze would work on these too. If you try it let me know!

      • joyce van stan says

        It is a thick butter cream but if I cover, it gets soft again as the cookie is soft and cakelike. I have decided to to not cover tightly but leave the lid ajar on them..

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