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Better Than Swig Sugar Cookies

sugar cookies with aqua icing

Have you ever gotten a sugar cookie from Swig?  They are thick, soft, buttery cookies with the perfect melt in your mouth texture and a beautiful dollop of frosting swirled right over the top.  Classic Swig cookies have pink icing, but how could I resist using aqua food coloring?  I have to say, after seeing these I don't think I could ever do pink.  Aren't they just gorgeous!?!?!?!  (Of course you can use YOUR favorite color in your frosting and totally personalize these.)

I've recipe tested, adjusted, tweaked some more and am calling these hands down the best sugar cookie I've ever had.  One of the secrets?  My family LOVES almond extract, so I used almond instead of vanilla in the icing and OH.MY.GOODNESS.  It is absolute heavenly perfection!  Almond not your thing?  Feel free to switch out vanilla but my fam swears that this little change knocks these out of the park over Swig cookies, so give it a try - I only add a 1/2 tsp, so it's not overwhelming, just downright delicious.  

A couple of tips:  

  • The butter should be room temperature, no warmer, so if I forget to take it out a couple of hours prior I will put it in a bowl and microwave it on power level 4 for 30 seconds or so. 
  • I love butter flavored shortening in many recipes, but plain will give you the best taste and texture you are looking for here.
  • You don't want to overcrowd the baking sheets.  The ones I'm using in these pics are huge, half sheet pans, bigger than your normal jelly roll pan, so if you aren't using those, don't put so many on the tray at a time.  You want a little space for them to spread slightly.
  • These cookies are big!  If you want to make smaller ones you totally can, use a smaller cookie scoop and just reduce the cooking to 8-10 minutes and start checking at 8 so you don't overcook!

Cookie Ingredients:
  • 1 cup butter, softened to room temp
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Frosting Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup softened butter
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
  • food coloring
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-4 Tbsp milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Prepare baking sheets by lining with parchment paper or silicone sheets.
  2. Cream together the butter, shortening, sugar and powdered sugar about 3 minutes.  
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time until the mixture is light and fluffy looking. 
  4. Add the milk and vanilla and mix for a minute.  
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.  
  6. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and let the mixer stir until evenly combined.
  7. Using a large cookie scoop to keep the cookies the same size, place a scoop of the dough in to your hand, gently form it in to a ball, then place on the prepared baking sheets.  
  8. Add about 1/4 cup granulated sugar to a bowl.  Use the bottom of a glass sprayed with cooking spray to dip in the sugar and press down each ball to about 1/2 inch thick.  (They will look crackly around the edges.)
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes until they are cooked, but not browned.  (They will look a little puffy, but will cool perfectly.)
  10. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them sit on the tray for 5 minutes.  Then remove to a cooling rack.
  11. Let the cookies cool completely before frosting.  

To prepare the frosting:

  1. Cream the softened butter with the sour cream and almond extract.  
  2. Add the powdered sugar, 2 Tbsp of the milk and the food coloring, then beat together until it all comes together nice and smooth - it will take a minute or two.  
  3. Add another Tbsp or 2 of milk as needed to thin the frosting out just a bit.  You want it to spread easily but not be runny.  I usually use a total of 3 Tbsp milk.
  4. Use an offset spatula to swirl a good glob of frosting on each cookie, pushing it about halfway over the ruffled edges.  
Leftover cookies can be stored in an airtight container or in plastic baggies with waxed paper in-between if you stack them at all.  (I like them kept in the refrigerator so they are nice and cold.)

Like to see pictures?  Here are some at various stages if it helps!

cookie dough
The beautiful dough...

sugar cookie dough balls
Rolling in to balls...

raw smashed sugar cookie dough
Press the balls down with a glass sprayed with non-stick spray and dipped in sugar...

aqua frosting in an aqua kitchen aid mixer
The prettiest light and fluffy frosting ever...

sugar cookies with a swirl of aqua frosting on top
Swirl a dollop right on top of the baked and cooled cookies.

sugar cookies with aqua almond frosting on top

Note:  You can make the frosting whatever color you like...
look how cute they are in pink!

sugar cookies with pink almond frosting on top

sugar cookies with pink and aqua almond frosting


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