Snowflake Cookies (quick and easy!)
Get in the winter mood with these easy snowflake cookies. The sugar cookie dough requires no chilling and makes beautiful cut out sugar cookies. Decorate with royal icing and sugar sprinkles for a snowy finish!
I am one of those people who really loves snow. Like, really loves it. I’m hoping to see some flakes soon in Connecticut, but for now, I’ll settle for these snowflake sugar cookies! This sugar cookie recipe has been my go-to for years. It hasn’t failed me yet!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- No chilling the dough! Simply roll it out, cut out some snowflake shapes and bake. The cookies won’t spread!
- The best flavor. When I make this sugar cookie dough, I almost always use almond extract. It is my kryptonite. I can’t resist any dessert with that flavor! Have you tried my Scandinavian almond bars?
- Wintery fun! While these cookies are popular at Christmas, they can really be made all winter season. It’s a fun snow day activity!
- Beautifully unique. After decorating, look at all the cookies lined up next to each other and see how unique they are. Just like real snowflakes, no two are exactly the same!
- Unsalted butter: Bring the butter to room temperature, but make sure it’s still cool. If you’re baking in a warm or humid environment, this is crucial to making sure the cookies don’t spread.
- Vanilla extract: For the best flavor, use good-quality pure vanilla extract.
- Baking powder: This leavening agent helps the cookies rise and get a slightly airy texture.
- Meringue powder: This helps stabilize the royal icing so it keeps its shape as it dries.
- Confectioners’ sugar: Also known as powdered sugar, this sweetens the icing! Make sure to sift it to remove any clumps.
Get creative decorating! Aside from using different shaped cookie cutters, you can also use all the sprinkles (my favorite are the sugar sprinkles).
Dye the icing. I think the snowflakes would look beautiful with blue icing (a little Frozen moment, yes?) Gold or silver icing is also an option! I suggest gel food dye instead of liquid, which can thin out the icing too much.
Try different flavors. Swap out the vanilla extract for almond extract, lemon extract or peppermint extract. I suggest decreasing to 1 teaspoon since these other extracts are stronger.
Make chocolate sugar cookies instead. If you like the look of white icing on chocolate sugar cookies, then I suggest using my chocolate cut out cookie recipe instead!
How to Make Snowflake Cookies
- Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Mix the wet ingredients in a large bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer). Beat butter and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg and vanilla. Scrape down sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix just until combined.
- Roll out the dough. Flour the work surface and roll dough to about ¼-inch thick. Use a snowflake cookie cutters to cut out shapes and place on prepared baking sheet. Gather scraps and re-roll dough to repeat.
- Bake cookies at 400 F for 7 to 8 minutes or until the edges are set. Cool completely before frosting.
- Make the royal icing. Use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to whip meringue powder and water until foamy.
- Add confectioners’ sugar and whip on medium speed until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.
- Transfer icing to a frosting bag with a small round tip. Decorate cookies and let them sit at room temperature until icing has hardened.
Weigh your ingredients properly. Use a kitchen scale for accurate measuring. If you don’t have a scale, spoon your flour into a measuring cup and level with a knife (don’t pack it down).
Use room temperature ingredients. This is important for having dough that is smooth and slightly sticky. If the ingredients are too warm, the dough will cause the cookies spread; if they are too cold, the dough will break and be inconsistent.
Let the cookies cool completely before icing. In fact, I usually ice my cookies the day after I bake them. I learned that the fat (butter) from freshly baked cookies can seep into the icing causing it to separate while it’s still wet.
Use meringue powder, which is available at your local baking store or you can order some online. I like using meringue powder because it dries rather quickly so the cookies are ready to eat or package sooner.
Storage and Make Ahead Tips
Make ahead: The dough may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours. Let it sit at room temperature for 10 to 20 minutes or until soft enough to roll out. Royal icing may be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. Place plastic wrap directly on the icing so the top doesn’t form a crust.
Storage: Cookies may be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
Freezing: Baked cookies may be frozen for up to 3 months. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container to keep them fresh. Dough may also be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator before bringing to room temperature and baking.
Most likely the dough or butter was too warm. This is common in warm or humid climates! Simply chill the cut out cookies for 10 minutes before putting them in the oven.
Easy! Use a mason jar lid or biscuit cutter to make 3-inch circle cookies, then use the icing to pipe out snowflakes on top. You’ll have more of a “canvas” or blank slate.
There were pockets of air in the dough. This sometimes happens when the dough scrape are rerolled. Make a dough ball that is smooth and without any clumps or cracks before rolling it out.
Yes, there are royal icing recipes that don’t have meringue powder, but the icing takes forever to dry. Some recipes use corn syrup while others use egg whites.
Looking for more wintery recipes? Try these next!
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Get the Recipe: Snowflake Cookies (quick and easy!)
- 2 ½ cups (312 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (226 g or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 ½ cup (187 g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, or almond extract
- 2 tablespoons meringue powder
- 6 tablespoons water
- 2 ⅔ cups (320 g) powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), combine butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until thoroughly incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of the bowl as necessary.
- With mixer on low, slowly add flour mixture to the bowl. The dough is ready when most of it sticks to the paddle. When touched, it has a little give, but does not stick to fingers.
- Flour the work surface and roll dough to about ¼-inch thick, using flour for dusting as necessary. Use snowflake cookie cutters to cut cookies and place on prepared baking sheet.¹ Gather scraps and reroll dough when necessary.
- Bake for 7 to 8 minutes or until the edges are set. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
- Place the meringue powder and water in a large mixing bowl, and whip with the whisk attachment until foamy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the powdered sugar and whip on medium speed until very stiff and thick, about 3 minutes. The royal icing should hold a stiff peak. If necessary, thin with additional water, a drop at a time, to get the desired consistency.
- Transfer icing to an icing bag fitted with a small round tip (I used Wilton #2). Ice the cookies and decorate with sprinkles if desired.