Soft Sugar Cookies

Several years ago, my daughter Tiffany, entered a cookie contest in our state fair with "Beehive State Cookies" and won first place. These are the cookies that she entered.

The ingredients for these soft butter cookies are butter (don't even think about margarine or shortening), sugar, eggs, vanilla, sour cream, salt, baking soda, baking powder and flour.

In a large mixing bowl add the butter that has been softened.

Add the sugar.

Mix for about 3 minutes until creamy.

Add the two eggs.

Beat for another 3 minutes or so until fluffy.

Blend in the vanilla

Measure the three cups of flour into a medium sized bowl.

Add the salt, baking powder and baking soda.

Give it a whisk.  This will sift the ingredients together.

Now we are going to add this flour mixture into the batter in thirds.  Add 1/3 of the flour into the butter mixture and blend well.

Don't forget to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl every now and then.

We are now going to add the sour cream alternately with the flour mixture.  Add 1/2 of the sour cream into the butter mixture and blend well.

Add another 1/3 of the flour and blend well.

Now mix in the remaining amount of the sour cream.

Add the final 1/3 of flour and blend completely. Take the time to scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again to make sure all the ingredients are will incorporated.

The batter will be stiff but sticky.  This is why the dough needs to be refrigerated overnight.  The refrigeration will stiffen the batter so that it will be easy to roll and cut out.  If you don't refrigerate the dough, it will be very difficult to work with and you will end up adding a lot of flour so that it doesn't stick while you roll it out.  You will end up with a tough cookies that tastes like flour. 

Get it?

Take the time to refrigerate the dough.  Just think ahead! 

Put the cookie batter into a clean bowl.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap.


So you have refrigerated your cookie dough overnight and you're ready to roll out the dough.  You can cut the dough into any shape you would like.  I have decided to use a "Beehive" cookie cutter in honor of Utah "The Beehive State".  July 24th is a state holiday here in Utah.  It marks the anniversary of the pioneers coming into the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. 

Tiffany made a bee on her beehive cookie with almonds.  I'll show you how.  Let's get rollin' the dough.

You will need a rolling pin and cookie cutter.  I like using my pastry cloth.  You can just flour your counter top, if you don't have a pastry cloth.  Think about getting one OR you can just go to the fabric store and buy a piece of canvas.  That works. 

I like to work with half of the dough at a time.  The dough has hardened enough to roll.  Try not to add too much flour or it will make the cookie tough. 

This is half of the cookie dough.  Sprinkle the top of the dough with a bit of flour and flour your rolling pin as well.  Roll the cookie dough out to 1/4-inch thickness.

I like to take a clean pastry brush and brush off any excess flour.  I keep a clean pastry brush that is only used for brushing flour off of dough.  I don't use it for oiling, basting or greasing pans.  This pastry brush is hidden from anyone who might destroy it (family). 

Take your favorite cookie cutter and begin cutting out the dough.  You may need to flour your cookie cutter as well so that the dough doesn't stick to it. 

**NOTE** This cookie dough is a soft dough and it will spread.  It does not hold it's shape well.  So if you are wanting a cookie that has a defined shape like a hand or something more intricate, you will need to use a different cookie recipe.  These cookies puff and spread a bit. 

Place the cut out cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.  No you don't need parchment, I just love using it for the clean up.  If you don't have parchment, you do not have to grease the cookie sheets.  The cookies will remove from the pan just fine.

Place the cookies in a preheated 375 degree oven.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Do not over bake.  This is a soft cookie.  Bake until the edges are just beginning to brown.

Can you see how they puffed up?  They are a thick, soft, buttery sugar cookie.

Remove the baked cookies from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack.

Here are the ingredients you will need for the "Beehive State" icing.  You will need 1/2 cup butter and 4 oz cream cheese,that have been softened to room temperature, creamed honey, vanilla and powdered sugar.

In a large mixing bowl, add softened butter and cream cheese.

This is creamed honey.  DON'T use regular honey.  It will make the icing too runny.  If you don't have creamed honey and you don't want to buy creamed honey, just omit it.  Tiffany used the honey to give the "beehive" a honey flavor.  It's gooood.

Add the creamed honey to the butter and cream cheese.

Beat the three ingredients together until smooth and fluffy.

Add the vanilla and blend.

Add the powdered sugar.

Beat until the icing is smooth.

I want the icing to have just a hint of yellow food coloring.  Now is the time to add any colors that you might want your icing to be.  This food color just happens to be powdered.  I rather like it.  I generally use the gel food color, but I am out of yellow.  What the heck is up with that?  "Heck" it's a Utah word.

See how creamy that icing is!  Oh man, I got yellow powder on my finger, which means I will
probably find it smeared across my face or on my shirt at some point during the day.

Now you are going to need a pastry bag and a decorating tip.  I like to use plastic disposable bags.  This is a number 2 tip (in case you were wondering).

If you are using a disposable bag, you will need to cut the end off and insert the tip into the bag. 

Add 1/2 of the icing.

Twist the end so the icing doesn't squirt out the back while you are decorating your cookies.

This is where I should insert a video of me acutally piping out the icing onto the cookie.  I'm a one woman show so I have to take the pictures while doing the demo.   I just can't take a picture and pipe at the same time.  You get the picture.  See how I'm just running a piping row to fill in the cookie and make it look like a beehive?

Like this.

I want to have just a bit of pale yellow sanding sugar over the icing.  Now is a good time to do that.  If you wait for the icing to set a bit, the sugar won't stick.

Repeat on all of the cookies.

I like to put the cookies back on the cookie sheet while the icing sets.  I can even slide this into the freezer to help the set faster.

Time to make the "Bee".  You will need some whole raw almonds and some slice almonds.

Put a dab of icing on one side of the almond.

Now find two almond slices that are pretty close to the same size.  Wow! I didn't realize how large these sliced almonds are.  I think I would have preferred smaller ones.  Oh well they'll be great for everything else Right?

Take one of the almond slices and put a dab of icing on it.

Put it on top of the whole almond.

Repeat with the other almond slice.  There you have it!  A little bee on your beehive.

Repeat this "bee" process on the rest of the cookies.

Cute!  Tiffany's Beehive State cookies.  They're a winner.

To all of you "Utahn's", I wish you a fabulous 24th of July celebration.  To everyone else... you have to work!

I will spend my holiday moving Tiffany back home from college for what is left of summer.  That means all three of the college kids will be my house...for 6 weeks...with their laundry...

Soft Sugar Cookies
1 cups butter, softened
1 cups sugar
2 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup sour cream
3 cups flour

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat for about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat for another 3 minutes. Sift together baking soda, salt, baking powder and flour. Add alternately with sour cream in three additions. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to use, remove dough from refrigerator and divide into fourths. Roll dough to ¼-inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut into desired shapes. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 8-10 minutes or until just barely beginning to brown around the edges. Makes about 2 dozen cookies

Beehive State Icing
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese
¼ cup creamed honey
3 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, cream cheese and creamed honey. Add vanilla and powdered sugar until well blended.

Remember this sugar cookie recipe can become any shape or color you would like.  They freeze great for a couple of weeks. 
I just need to note that this recipe was given to me by my mother-in-law, Carole.  Thank you, Carole, for sharing a family favorite.  I'm sure this will be passed down for many generations to come.


  1. OH YUM! Are these on your running diet? Jim will die... he LOVES sugar cookies. I am going to the frige right now to see I have a boat load of butter to make these! Might be a little sluggish on Monday because of these beauties!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Just don't eat the whole batch, Sue. You're such a buff woman!

    Previous comment was deleted due to inappropriate content.

  4. Oh my, these look gorgeous. Thanks for another great recipe, Janet!

  5. glad I found your site! I have book-marked several recipes already! I have been looking for years for a good sugar cookie recipe - I can tell - by the dough I just tasted (off the spatula, the bowl, my fingers) that this is absolutely going to be my go to sugar cookie recipe...yummmmmmm.

    1. Thank you for your comment. This is a great soft sugar cookie. They freeze great as well.

    2. And at the same time I made the no-knead bread (plain) it turned out excellent! I will try the jazzed up ones later. And I made your home made chicken noodle soup (I wanted to try it that night so I cheated and used an organic chicken stock), but it was still yummy and comforting.

    3. Look at you!!! Lucky family. You go girl.

  6. So delicious looking! I love your honeycomb plate and teapot, too!

    1. Thanks, Sandy. The dishes are from Williams-Sonoma. They were a gift to me from my sister and brother. How great is that?

  7. Just stopping in to say HI and thanks for the GREAT recipes. I've copied and saved most of them from the past few months. Our daughter just moved to Holladay. I think that's where you live. We just returned, but will go back in Feb. for a grandson's baptism. Would never ask for your address, but would you share your street? The kids moved there from Daybreak, are renting, to see if "this is the place" they should build. Now I just need to get me a beehive cookie cutter. ;-)

  8. Hi Polly, Just send me your email address here: and I'll send you an email with that information.

  9. HI, I would love to try the soft sugar cookie recipe but it doesn't say
    any thing about the measurement's. How much of each ingredient do you use.
    If any one has this recipe with the measurement's could you please post it?
    Thank you.

  10. I see the recipe now :)
    Thank you so much for sharing this:)
    Same ingredients I use to make soft sugar
    cookies at Christmas.
    Thank you.

    1. I'm so glad you found the recipe. It's an old recipe that has been around for years. I love those tried and true recipes.

  11. Where can I find a beehive shaped cookie cutter? This is the best looking beehive dessert I have seen!

    1. I live it Utah the "beehive state" so they are available everywhere. I found several on Amazon. Just go to Amazon type in "beehive cookie cutter" and a page full will appear. Good luck.

  12. Hi Janet, I am a good friend of Charees' and have been making these cookies for years! They are the BEST sugar cookies ever! Just wondering if you have ever tried adding orange zest to this recipe? I love orange flavored sugar cookies. How much would you add?

    1. Ho JoLynn, How are you? Orange zest would be fabulous. You could start with teaspoon of zest. If you want more orange flavor, add more. Good luck.

  13. Made these for Valentine's Day. Especially the men are praising them. Our neighbor offered to buy his wife's cookie and a father complained his son shared with his wife and not him but it was the best sugar cookie ever. If I make another batch for him he will not share. This is10 days after Valentine's Day and they are still commenting!
    Rita Bennett

    1. Hi Rita, Funny story. Your cookies must have been amazing! Looks like you need to go into the cookie business. Thank you so much for sharing.

  14. I am having trouble getting the cookies onto the pan. The dough is too sticky. I let it sit overnight in the fridge. Any suggestions?

    1. Hmmm. I've never had this problem. Are you rolling out the dough while it is still cold and somewhat hard? Sometimes I have to pound the dough with my rolling pin before rolling out. Don't let your dough come to room temp. You may have to add just a bit more flour when mixing if it is way too sticky.