My goodness it’s good to be back!  Work has been busy (hurray!), but unfortunately has left me with little time to tend to my blog :( (booo!).  It’s been a blast though, I feel fortuate to have a job that allows me so much creative/artistic freedom — it is a nice change from scrubbing grease chunks off of kitchen equipment and cleaning out moldy freezers…

At Mealtime Market we’re  selling Iced Sugar Cookies, heart-shaped sugar cookies to be exact! So I have been busily experimenting in the kitchen for the perfect sugar cookie recipe.  After many trials and errors I have finally found the winning recipe for the ultimate sugar cookie!

I think the thing I love most about sugar cookies are that they are so versatile and serve as a great “base” dough .  You can make use these cookies to make some ice cream sandwiches, or even use this recipe to make tart shells for desserts, or the way I like them best — plain, with a nice glass of milk.

I have never used shortening in any cookie recipes before and actually found this recipe on the back of a Crisco shortening label, ( I know, what are the odds?) the only thing I changed was that I used half cake flour and half all purpose flour.

I found that it improved the texture of the cookie by a lot.  Anyways, I gave it a shot and was completely shocked as to how moist, melt-in-your-mouth delicious these cookies were.  INCREDIBLE, some would say…  They are best fresh out of the oven, or you can zap them in the microwave for a few seconds for the best warm sugar cookies you will have ever tasted.

Recipe for the Ultimate Sugar Cookies:

(makes 6 dozen)

  • 1 stick or 1 cup shortening (you can also use butter)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Beat shortening and sugar in large bowl, with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth and creamy.  Beat in egg, milk and vanilla extract until well blended.  Combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Gradually add flour mixture to creamed mixture at low speed until well blended.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour for easier handling.

Heat oven to 375F.

Roll 1/3 of dough at a time on lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness.  Cut dough with 2 to 3-inch floured cookie cutters.  Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.  Sprinkle with sugar, if desired (I used turbinado sugar).  Bake 5 to 9 minutes or until edges begin to brown.  Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet.  Transfer cookies to cooling rack ( or your stomach).  Frost and decorate as desired.

I actually whipped up a batch just before Collin left for his first international over seas trip (exciting!), you know, so he can have snacky snacks on the plane!  He actually left me a message a couple days ago on my phone calling from Japan saying — “Honey, thank you for the cookies.  They remind me of home.” Aw shucks, come on now! It really made my heart melt :)

If any of you are interested in making heart-shaped cookies for Valentine’s day it is really simple to do!  You just have to get a heart-shaped cookie cutter, any size you prefer, if you are going to decorate the cookies I would recommend you picking a big enough cutter where you have ample room to decorate! Cut and bake the dough as listed above and once the cookies are cooled you can decorate them with different colors of royal icing.

Royal icing is basically egg whites, powdered sugar and a little bit of lemon juice.

Place the desired amount of confectioners’ sugar in a mixing bowl.  Beat in the egg whites, a little at a time, until the sugar forms a smooth paste.  You will need 2 to 3 oz egg whites per pound of sugar.  Keep unused icing covered with a damp cloth or plastic film at all times to prevent hardening.

I just made pink colored icing — you can make any color you’d like using food coloring.  You pipe the cookies using either a pastry bag with a fine tip or you can make parchment triangles.  You can also use fruit roll ups, sprinkles or small candies to use as decorations as well, have fun with it and like I always say BE CREATIVE! This is a great project for kids or friends and the best part is you get to share your creations at the end, sugar cookies makes anyone happy :)


  1. dhaleb says: 27 Jan ’10 • 17:19:02

    First to leave a comment… woo hoo!!!

    I love how the best recipe you found was from the back of a Crisco container. Sometimes the answers are just right in front of your face!

    The cookies look delicious. Can you mail me some please??? And beautiful photos as usual :)


    • Joy Zhang says: 28 Jan ’10 • 12:12:02

      Hahaha isn’t that a little hood? Dhale I should send you something sometime you live close enough to where the food would still taste good once it gets there hahaha I shall think and tell you what I come up with :)

  2. lululu says: 27 Jan ’10 • 18:00:16

    as usual, all the pictures are awesome!
    and i especially like the two with cute little birds. r they for decoration?


    • Joy Zhang says: 28 Jan ’10 • 12:11:03

      Hey lululu thanks for the kind words :) The birds are for decoration, I found them on sale at Pottery Barn for 50 cents each and had to get them because they were so adorable! (they were actually x mas tree ornaments)

  3. elissa says: 27 Jan ’10 • 19:13:59

    JOYYY. I’ve been on a quest to find a good sugar cookie recipe. Looks like you posted just in time :) So thank you!

    Curious: what’s the difference between all-purpose flour and cake flour?


    • Joy Zhang says: 28 Jan ’10 • 12:02:52

      Awesome timing = the tits! All purpose flour is just a “coarser” form of flour where as cake flour is more “fine” and produces a tender and moist cake-like result opposed to something more dense. It pretty much has a lower gluten content which is more suitable for non yeast recipes like cakes, biscuits, cookies, etc. Tell me what you think! : )

  4. anncoo says: 27 Jan ’10 • 20:38:55

    Hey Joy, This is awesome. Everything looks so perfect here! Can I try some?


    • Joy Zhang says: 28 Jan ’10 • 12:03:59

      of course you can anncoo! haha thank you for your kind words :)

  5. Divina says: 27 Jan ’10 • 20:43:33

    You know, I’ve been waiting for your blog post, then I thought you must be busy but you were still able to take incredible photos and gorgeous presentation with the limited time you have. And of course, to share with us the ultimate sugar cookies. I think they are great for Valentines’ day. :D


    • Joy Zhang says: 28 Jan ’10 • 12:05:29

      Divina! Thank you so much for that comment, it really means a lot. I felt so bad for not having the time to post, it wasnt until I started working that I realized WOW blogging is really really time consuming. It is nice to have friends like you that appreciate the hard time and efforts we put into our little “food home base” :) Thanks for that!

  6. veeh says: 28 Jan ’10 • 00:42:02

    this is amazhang!!!! i lovelovelove sugar cookies, and i had mastered making snicker doodles a few years back but haven’t had time to bake since. but looking at this and reading it makes me want to try it out!!!

    or you could ship some my way heh heh *nudge nudge!!* miss you joyjoy <33 xxx


    • Joy Zhang says: 28 Jan ’10 • 12:06:04

      ha cool beans! Tell me how they turn out :)

  7. mangiodasola says: 28 Jan ’10 • 03:27:28

    These cookies look amazing and so tempting!!! YUM! Great photos, too!


    • Joy Zhang says: 28 Jan ’10 • 12:06:24

      Thanks so much mangio! :)

  8. penny aka jeroxie says: 28 Jan ’10 • 07:34:45

    It will be a lovely Vday present. I just need to get the cookie cutter ;)

    Another lovely photography. And it is yummy as well.


    • Joy Zhang says: 28 Jan ’10 • 12:08:33

      Penny! Thanks for the kind words :) You know it’s funny, when I first purchased my heart shaped cookie cutter Collin actually teased me and said ” what the heck are you going to do with a HEART SHAPED CUTTER” well BUDDY not only did i make these heart shaped COOKIES but i also used them for pancakes, gosh to think all of that wouldnt have been possible if I didn’t purchase the coolest heart shaped cutter ever :)

  9. dianalynnnguyen says: 28 Jan ’10 • 17:38:12

    Geez, you really need to show me how to take pictures! I don’t use my SLR the way it should be used!


    • Joy Zhang says: 4 Feb ’10 • 09:45:17

      hahaha Diana you are funny, I honestly just read cookbooks and observe the pictures they take to give me ideas of composition etc. Don’t hesitate to ask me any questions!

  10. the domestic mama says: 28 Jan ’10 • 18:39:58

    Wow~ I LOVE sugar cookies! Above all others! I am a vanilla ice cream and sugar cookie gal! I found your site cause you found mine- and I am so sorry I haven’t saved you sooner! (bookmarked, that is!) I LOVE your photos~ (I NEED tips!) Well, you just won my heart!


    • Joy Zhang says: 4 Feb ’10 • 09:46:25

      Yes sugar cookies are the best for sure :) , esp with vanilla ice cream! I am happy we found each other, it is nice to make new friends ^_^

  11. Chris De La Rosa says: 28 Jan ’10 • 20:31:21

    Sugar cookies are a big hit in our home.. just not from scratch. the pre packaged stuff. I’ll have to get the girls together and give this recipe a try. Sounds simple enough.

    happy cooking



    • Joy Zhang says: 4 Feb ’10 • 09:47:06

      Chris, it would be great to have the girls try this out :) You must tell me the results after!

  12. zurin says: 28 Jan ’10 • 22:11:51

    you are soo cute!!!! :) )))) n so are your cookies!!!


    • Joy Zhang says: 4 Feb ’10 • 09:47:23

      Zurin are you trying to make me blush, because it’s working!!!! ^_^

  13. Sook @ My Fabulous Recipes says: 29 Jan ’10 • 02:02:27

    What a great presentation! Love sugar cookies. Mmm, I want some now. :)


    • Joy Zhang says: 4 Feb ’10 • 09:47:43

      hahahaha Sook if you were here I’d make you eat an entire plate :)

  14. MaryMoh says: 29 Jan ’10 • 03:31:26

    Looks gorgeous and delicious. I need them now with my tea! I love all these beautiful pictures. Hey, I blink first, so all are mine!! :D


    • Joy Zhang says: 4 Feb ’10 • 09:53:31

      Hee hee I would give them all to you Mary :) !!!

  15. Phuong says: 30 Jan ’10 • 02:50:47

    Mmmm joy, ever since you baked those store bought sugar cookies it reminded me how much i LOVE sugar cookies because it’s not too sweet. You have some amazing and simple (due to your directions and pictures) recipes on here. You know how much i love to bake, so i can’t wait to try them out with my niece when I’m back in dallas again!

    P.S. Though I’m not so good with commenting on a regular basis, know that i love reading them. Good to hear you’re not eating ALL healthy. Miss you Joy!


    • Joy Zhang says: 4 Feb ’10 • 10:01:32

      HAHAHA phuong you are so cute I love you!! Thank you very much for your kind comment, it really means a lot. It makes me happy that even though we are far away we can still connect with each other some how :) I miss you too my dear, I cant wait to see you again!!!!!!!!!!

  16. The Little Teochew says: 30 Jan ’10 • 10:19:00

    I believe you! They already LOOK the part of ultimate sugar cookies. I’m sure they taste fab!!! Plain ones are lovely, but you HAD to take it one step further and make them even prettier. ;)


    • Joy Zhang says: 4 Feb ’10 • 10:06:28

      Hee hee Ju you are funny :) Thanks for the kind words!!

  17. kristy says: 2 Feb ’10 • 08:36:42

    This is such yummy cookies, Joy! And I love especially the two little kiwi in there. They’re just sooo cute. haha…


    • Joy Zhang says: 4 Feb ’10 • 10:34:06

      aw you’re the only one that noticed they were kiwis!!!

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