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Essential Recipe No. 2: Sugar Cookies

This delicious, easy-bake dough is just the beginning. With a few fresh decorating tricks, you can make treats to suit any occasion.

  • yield: Makes 45 slice-and-bake cookies, 100 spritz cookies, or 30 cut-out cookies
Photography: Kate Sears

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for rolling and cutting
  • Sanding sugar and other decorations (optional)
  • Confectioners'-sugar glaze

Directions

  1. Step 1

    In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, cream butter with sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well to combine. Mix in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour and mix just un-til incorporated (do not overmix).

  2. Step 2

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Space cookies 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until just barely golden around the edges, 7 to 12 minutes (depending on size of cookies). Cool completely on baking sheets.

  3. Step 3

    Decorate, if desired. Let dry at least 2 hours. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Source
Blueprint, November/December 2007

Reviews (10)

  • 10 Dec, 2013

    Pretty decent. I tried both this and the Basic Sugar Cookies Recipe (http://www.marthastewart.com/338471/basic-sugar-cookies?czone=food%2Fholiday-cookies-center%2Fholiday-cookies-recipes&gallery=275340&slide=338471&center=276951). This has a fluffier texture but is more difficult to work with - requires a decent about of flour while Rolling out. I did use 2 eggs based on suggestions in other reviews.

  • 13 Nov, 2013

    Do I need to refrigerate the dough before baking?

  • 25 Jun, 2008

    I have used this recipe several times for cut out cookies and spritz to rave reviews... the only change I make is adding 1/2 tsp of almond extract to the mix!

  • 2 Jun, 2008

    I like to use 2 eggs and 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract.

  • 8 Feb, 2008

    I have an old recipe like this that is by far the best sugar cookie I have ever had; my family and friends agree. Basically the same as this one, except add another egg and four tablespoons of milk. I also added one tablespoon of light brown sugar to give it a nutty taste. Also, I freeze it for at least an hour and up to two weeks before I work with it and make shapes. Keep your rolling surface floured. Enjoy!

  • 28 Dec, 2007

    These lacked flavor but worked best as icebox cookies--slice and bake--but failed as spritz...it was too thick (even without the chilling) for the cookie gun. I used a different spritz recipe to test the theory, and sure enough--the other batter was just fine, perfect texture. I iced the sliced cookies, but they look much better than they taste--bland, and heavy (not flakey) in texture.

  • 15 Dec, 2007

    I used the recipe to make spritz cookies. The cookies (and dough) tasted very yummy! The dough, though, as a spritz cookie dough, proved somewhat unsuccessful. The first few batches were good but as the dough warmed (to the temperature of the kitchen) the dough oozed out of my cookie press continuously. I am going to try the Everyday Food recipe next !

  • 13 Dec, 2007

    These were very easy to make, relative to other sugar cut out cookies. The directions in the magazine say you can make these as slice and bake, spritz, or rolled cookies. I did the rolled cookies and found the dough fairly easy to work with. I did not chill the dough as long as the directions recommended - I did about 40 minutes when shaped in a disk, and 10 minutes once it was rolled out. It worked fine.

    The taste is very basic, buttery and sugary as you might expect.

  • 13 Dec, 2007

    These were very easy to make, relative to other sugar cut out cookies. The directions in the magazine say you can make these as slice and bake, spritz, or rolled cookies. I did the rolled cookies and found the dough fairly easy to work with. I did not chill the dough as long as the directions recommended - I did about 40 minutes when shaped in a disk, and 10 minutes once it was rolled out. It worked fine.

    The taste is very basic, buttery and sugary as you might expect.

  • 21 Nov, 2007

    I tried this recipe and it was so easy. The cookies were better than store bought.