Have you ever had the Lofthouse frosted sugar cookies sold at almost every grocery store bakery? There is something about that prepackaged soft sugar cookie topped with rich vanilla icing that is just so good. I have seen copycat recipes all over the blogosphere for a long time and decided I had to give these a try. These cookies are over the top good. They blow the grocery store variety out of the park. With a buttery and fluffy interior and a slight crunch from the hardened frosting on top, these are almost too good to share.
This recipe calls for five whole teaspoons of vanilla extract and I amped up the vanilla flavor even more by using vanilla bean paste instead. I love how the vanilla bean specks are evident in both the cookie and the frosting, giving these an even more homemade look. The icing is simple to make and doesn’t even require a mixer. It hardens slightly after being spread on the cookies, making these very easy to package up or store. You could definitely leave the icing white, but I had to go with some pastel colors to celebrate all the
spring summer weather we have been having.
I made these cookies last weekend for an event at school mid-week, so I took a chance and froze them fully frosted to see how they would turn out. Luckily, they froze perfectly! I placed the cookies in a single layer on a cookie sheet and then double wrapped the cookie sheet with foil. I let the cookies thaw overnight the night before I needed them and they tasted as if they had been baked that day. The frosting didn’t even have any discoloration. This is definitely a good trick to know if you want to bake these in advance for something. I probably should have left a few in the freezer for a Monday afternoon pick-me-up!
Soft Sugar Cookies with Vanilla Icing
Yield: two dozen large cookies with icing
For the Cookies:
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
5 tsp. vanilla extract
For the Icing:
5 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
7-8 tbsp. milk
Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until soft and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add the vanilla. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated. Chill dough for 1 hour.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll dough into balls, about 1/4 cup each, and place onto cookie sheet, flattening each ball slightly. Bake 10-12 minutes, or just until set. The edges should be very lightly browned, if at all. You do not want to over bake these! Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely.
To make the icing, place all of the icing ingredients into a large bowl and whisk until completely combined. Add additional milk if necessary, until you reach desired consistency. Add food coloring if you want and then ice the cookies with a small knife or spatula. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for about 1 week. Enjoy!