Thanksgiving isn’t quite here, but baking season has already begun. The best thing about these sugar cookies is that they can be made all year. This is your permission to buy cookie cutters in every shape!

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As soon as the leaves begin to fall, I stock up on all the fall flavors (cinnamon, apples, pumpkin, cranberries, and maple syrup), dust off my mixing bowl and apron, and scroll through the D20 Theory Recipes We Love Pinterest board for baking inspiration. (I just pinned a cran-orange muffin recipe that is hungry husband approved!)

Before we go too far, I need to take a quick poll: What is your favorite winter cookie shape? I’ve always enjoyed decorating the ornaments most because the creative possibilities are endless. As a kid, I had a very heavy hand with the sprinkles and colorful icing cans!

perfect sugar cookies

The Right Recipes Are Key

Have you been dreaming about snowman-shaped sugar cookies glazed in glossy pastels? The cookie and icing recipes you use make a BIG difference in achieving that dream.

Sugar Cookie Recipe

You will want to use a recipe that creates firmer sugar cookies with little rise. Puffy cookies taste great, but they’re not ideal for decorating. The icing will run and the sprinkles will fall off if your cookies are too soft or rounded.

My favorite recipe is from In Katrina’s Kitchen.

Pro tip: Pay close attention to thickness and consistency when rolling out the dough.

snowflake sugar cookies

Royal Icing Recipe

That glossy icing you’ve been dreaming about is called “royal icing.” Egg whites (or meringue powder) are the secret ingredient for icing that pools slightly and dries smooth and hard.

My favorite recipe is from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Pro tip: Allow the cookies to cool completely before decorating.

sugar cookies with royal icing

While you’re waiting, you can create custom holiday cards and gift tags with Canva, my favorite graphic design tool. They have hundreds of templates to get you started.

If you know you’ll need to recharge by the end of December, join the D20 Theory community for Self-Care Camp. SCC is a combination of all the things you loved about summer camp, field trips, Girl Scout badges, and YMCA programs as a kid…reimagined for multipassionate women who need a break from adulting for a day. Give yourself the gifts of fun, friendship, and growth this holiday season.

Gingerbread houses are another fun way to get creative with holiday sweets. Check out my Gingerbread Village post for all the inspiration you need to get started!