I’ve tinkered with many sugar cookie recipes to find my own variation that never fails to produce tasty, beautiful cookies. I used to think sugar cookies tasted blah. All looks and no yum.
Judging from the number of sugar cookie posts on my blog, you can see that I’ve since flip-flopped. I just needed to steer away from grocery store bakeries and toward my own kitchen.
I’ve included my Classic Sugar Cookies recipe below and will post tips for rolling out perfect cookies next week. When I first started a couple months ago, the rolling out stage was by far the gnarliest for me. I think, with a few tips, you can bypass the gnarliness entirely. Woo!
Lastly, I often make my dough ahead of time and roll the cookies out later, as I generally need 20 minutes to make the dough and another hour to roll, cut, and bake. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a big chunk of time in your day to devote to cookies, that’s always a good option. Plus, cold dough is much easier to work with than room temperature dough. To make the dough ahead of time, just place plastic wrap over your prepared cookie dough, toss it in the fridge, and take it out about ten to fifteen minutes before you’re ready to roll and cut.
Feel free to post any questions you have regarding the Classic Sugar Cookies recipe below so we can all learn from one another. Happy baking!
CLASSIC SUGAR COOKIES
*Makes about 25 three inch cookies
3 or 3½ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour*
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature or a bit cooler)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons pure almond extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine flour, salt and baking powder and set aside.
3. Cream sugar and butter until light in color (Kitchenaid #4 about 3 to 5 minutes).
4. Add egg and extracts to the butter mixture until just combined.
5. Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, each time beating until just combined. Don’t forget to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and don’t worry if the dough is a bit crumbly. You can simply knead the bits in before you roll it out.
6. Take about one-third of dough and knead it together into a mass. Here’s where you can knead in those little bits and crumbs. Usually, just a few moments of kneading will do the trick.
7. Roll out dough (tips on rolling out perfect cookies to follow next week!), cut your cookies, and transfer them to an ungreased baking sheet.* Place the baking sheet with cookie dough cut-outs in the freezer for 5 minutes (this helps the cookies to retain their shape). Repeat this process with half of the remaining dough and then the final portion of dough.
8. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, keeping an eye on the oven around 8 minutes as small cookies tend to bake faster.
9. Let the baked cookies sit for a couple minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to wire racks to cool.
NOTES: I like to use silicone baking mats over my baking sheets, but they aren’t necessary. While some folks roll their dough out on a floured surface, I prefer to position cookie dough in between sheets of parchment or wax paper. If using this wax paper method, increase flour from 3 cups to 3 1/2 cups.