Whether you’re a donut fan or a cookie lover, donut sugar cookies offer the best of both worlds. These are essentially sugar cookies that have a hole cut in the middle. They are also often glazed like donuts or sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.
Donut sugar cookies are an excellent option for birthdays and holidays such as Easter or Christmas. You can also make and decorate them with your kids or grandkids, which should be fun.
Keep on reading to learn more about donut sugar cookies and how to make them!
Origin & Fun Facts About Donut Sugar Cookies
Donut sugar cookies are a modern iteration of the classic sugar cookies that have been popular for centuries. Their origins can be traced back to Nazareth, Pennsylvania. During the mid-1700s, German Protestant settlers developed a recipe for sweet, buttery cookies named Nazareth Cookies.
As the years passed and sugar became more widely available, people began to create different versions of the traditional sugar cookie recipe. They would add more dry ingredients or wet ingredients to create different-textured cookies. Thus, most modern households have their own family recipe they abide by.
Did you know:
- There’s actually a National Sugar Cookie day! It’s celebrated on July 9, and it’s a great chance to make some donut sugar cookies with your kids!
- Mixing butter and sugar in a standing mixer will aerate the dough, making it more fluffy and allowing you to make even more cookies!
- If you or your kids don’t like the pale color of sugar cookies, you can use different types of sugar, like brown sugar, to make them darker. You can also try adding some gel food coloring to make them a different color!
- One bakery in Nashville, Tennessee, tried to break the World Record for the longest cookie line. They made over 3,000 cookies measuring almost 800 ft, but they couldn’t finish their attempt due to unforeseen weather.
- Pillsbury has been selling premade refrigerated sugar cookie dough since the mid-20th century. Also, Pillsbury currently holds the world record for the “most cookies iced in one hour”. The record was achieved in 2015 in the Mall of America, where visitors decorated 1,169 Pillsbury cookies!
Ingredients & Supplies
Remember that there are countless recipes for sugar cookies that don’t differ significantly. You can always modify the base recipe to your liking by adding or removing certain ingredients. Also, the measurements in this recipe are for 16 cookies, so scale it up if you want to make more.
For the sugar cookie dough, you’ll need:
- ¾ cup sugar (you might need to use more or less depending on the type of sugar
- 1 cup of room temperature unsalted butter
- 3 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
You can glaze and decorate the cookies in any way you like. Here’s a recipe for a simple pink icing:
- 2-3 tbsp milk
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 drop of red food coloring
- Sprinkles (optional)
Finally, you’ll need these kitchen tools and supplies:
- A stand mixer (you can also use a hand mixer or knead the dough by hand)
- Flour sifter
- Plastic wrap
- Rolling pin
- Parchment paper
- Baking sheet
- Wire rack
- Piping bag (optional)
Step by Step on How to Make Donut Sugar Cookies
- In the bowl of your standing mixer, add the butter and sugar. Beat them using the paddle attachment until they incorporate well. Don’t forget to scrape the sides of the bowl every now and then.
- Add the egg and vanilla to the mixture and let it mix until all the ingredients have combined and the dough has a smooth consistency.
- Sift the flour and mix it well with the baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl mixer in small batches, and let it mix until it’s fully incorporated.
- When it’s done mixing, you can also knead the dough by hand for a little bit. However, don’t overmix it, as you don’t want to develop as much gluten. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap it with plastic wrap, and let it refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but, ideally, overnight.
- When the dough is properly chilled, it’s time to roll it out. At first, it might be a bit sticky, but you can use a little bit of flour on your counter to prevent it from sticking. Use the rolling pin to roll the dough out to about ¼-inch thick.
- Use cookie cutters to cut the dough into small cookies. Don’t forget to use a smaller cutter to cut the hole in the middle of each cookie (otherwise, you’ll get plain sugar cookies instead of donut sugar cookies). You can also use a donut pan if you want them thicker than real donuts. But, you’ll need to bake them for more time, and you risk burning them.
- After cutting the cookies, you need to refrigerate them again for a few minutes, so they don’t lose shape.
- Take them out of the fridge and bake them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, at 350°F, for 8-10 minutes, depending on your oven. You want them to be a pale yellow color with almost no browning.
- When the cookies are done, take them out of the oven and place them on a wire rack to cool completely. Then you can put frosting and decorations on them.
- Mix 1 cup of powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of milk, ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract, and one drop of food coloring until you achieve a smooth consistency. If you want the frosting to be thinner, add a little more milk.
- Scoop about ⅓ of the icing into a piping bag and pipe frosting to each cookie. You can create a thinner glaze and dip the cookies in it if you prefer.
- In the remaining mixture, mix in 1 additional cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon of milk, and ½ teaspoon of vanilla to get more frosting. You don’t have to add any extra food coloring, as the color should be bright enough to use.
- Repeat the process until all of your cookies are iced. Then, you can optionally put some colorful sprinkles on each cookie. Just make sure to do it while the icing is wet so they can stick properly.
- Mix the butter and sugar well, so you get more fluffy cookies.
- When you roll out the dough, you can put it in between two parchment papers and roll it out with a rolling pin. This way, the dough won’t stick at all!
- The dough must be chilled appropriately throughout the whole process to ensure the cookies maintain their shape and texture.
- When baking your cookies, it’s essential to leave enough space for each of them on the baking tray. This way, the oven’s hot air will circulate better and bake them more evenly. It’s better to bake them in batches (or use two baking sheets) rather than cram them together on a single baking sheet.
- You want to decorate your sugar cookies while their glazing is still wet. Be careful, though, because if it’s too wet, your toppings will just slide off. Leave the cookies for 1-2 minutes for the glaze to set a little bit before adding your rainbow sprinkles or other toppings.
Donut sugar cookies are a very fun alternative to traditional sugar cookies. And the best part is you can make them with regular sugar cookie dough. Or, if you don’t want to make your own dough, Pillsbury has you covered with its refrigerated sugar cookie dough!
Also, this dough is very adjustable according to your tastes. Essentially, sugar cookie dough is a blank canvas, and you can decorate each cookie with whatever you or your kids enjoy. You can try different color frostings, different types of toppings, or even not any decorations at all.
Just sprinkle some sugar and cinnamon on the dough before you bake it, and you’ll have some delicious cinnamon donut sugar cookies. In any case, try this recipe out yourself and enjoy some donut sugar cookies!
When Are Sugar Cookies Done?
Sugar cookies take very little time to cook. Depending on your oven, you’ll need to bake them for 8-10 minutes or until they barely start to brown. Don’t overbake them, though, as they might begin to crumble and fall apart.
When Do Sugar Cookies Expire?
Homemade sugar cookies are generally good to eat for 1-2 weeks if you store them properly in an airtight container. You can also put them in the fridge or the freezer, where they can last up to 6 months!