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  • Writer's pictureThe Rural Legend

Soft Sugar Cookie Recipe and Gift Ideas

My grandmother used to make the most delicious sugar cookies topped with red sanding sugar and raisins. They were so soft and fluffy, and completely different than any other sugar cookie I've ever had.

christmas cookies on a plate

After she passed, my grandfather gave me her recipe books to look through and I found the recipe for her soft sugar cookies, written in her handwriting. I had it enlarged and framed, and display it every Christmas in honor of her.

sugar cookie family recipe

Looking for other ways to decorate with family heirlooms or vintage décor at Christmas? Check out this post!

christmas sugar cookies

There's a bit of debate in my family about which way is better to serve these cookies - with sugar and raisins or with frosting. No matter how you decide to top them, these cookies are soft and buttery and will surely win your family over!

christmas sugar cookies

The problem with my grandmother's recipe is that there aren't any directions - just ingredients! I've made them several times with different techniques, and I'm pretty sure I've cracked the code. And today I'm sharing it with you! I also put together a list of ways to transform a beloved family recipe into the sweetest gift for the holidays! Make sure to read to the end!

sugar cookies

Soft Sugar Cookies


  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened

  • 2 C granulated sugar

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 4 cups flour

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • pinch of salt

  • 1 C milk

  • 2 T lemon juice

  • decorations - see the end of the directions for ideas!

  • I found these adorable sprinkles here

Baking Tools

sugar cookie decorating


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.

  2. In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Add in eggs and vanilla.

  3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

  4. Stir lemon juice into milk and let sit for a few minutes. Note: You can also just use 1 C buttermilk if you have it.

  5. Alternate adding dry ingredients and milk to the dough until just mixed.

  6. Chill dough for 30 minutes. This will prevent your cookies from baking flat.

  7. Spoon out dough with a Tablespoon onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Pro Tip: only put 6-7 cookies on each tray because they will expand and push together if overcrowded.

  8. Baking for 10 minutes or until the edges turn golden.

  9. Cool and decorate as desired.

Topping options

Before baking, sprinkle with sanding sugar and top with raisins - 3 raisins to stay true to Grandma Groff!

Frosting - This is a personal preference! Vanilla buttercream and cream cheese frosting are delicious. Want to take it up a notch? Chocolate peppermint frosting and crushed candy canes would taste amazing!

 sugar cookie recipe

Gift Ideas

The recipes I have from my loved ones that are written in their hand are so incredibly special to me. There are so many ways to transform these treasures into beautiful gifts for your family!

sugar cookies

Is there a family recipe you hold near and dear to your heart? Leave a comment and let me know! I hope you find some sweet inspiration here to get in the kitchen with your family. And if you have a favorite way to top these cookies, let me know!

boy decorating cookies

And don't miss these other holiday cookie recipes, including another from my grandma!

Make sure to follow along on Instagram for more easy DIY's, home styling tips, and a peek inside our every day life!

xoxo, L


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