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Basic Sugar-Cookie Dough

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Here's one of the best-kept secrets of professional bakers: It takes only one cookie dough to produce a beautiful assortment of holiday cookies. Use this dough to make Santa's Snowflakes, Orange Spritz, Chocolate-Raspberry Thumbprints, and Hawaiian Snowballs.

  • Yield: Makes enough for our 4 varieties of cookies

Photography: Antonis Achilleos

Source: Martha Stewart Living, December 2003

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, vanilla, and salt; mix on medium speed until combined. With mixer on low speed, add flour in 2 batches, mixing just until incorporated.

  2. Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Place each on a piece of plastic wrap; flatten into disks. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or up to 1 week.

Cook's Notes

Use a kitchen scale to quarter the dough precisely, as called for in these recipes. Each piece should weigh just under 1 pound.

Reviews Add a comment

  • wefflebean
    1 DEC, 2014
    Too crumbly, I couldn't use it at all. I'm not sure what happened I followed the directions exactly..
    Reply
  • Ellen C
    12 JAN, 2014
    Results are flavorful, rich and buttery. Good recipe and consistent results. I used the dough for standard holiday cookies and for jelly thumb prints. I baked both at 375. The rolled sugar cookies took less time overall to bake because they were thinner.
    Reply
  • anickh
    1 AUG, 2012
    this makes awesome sugar cookies. i use this recipe A LOT, so trust me Everyone, you'll love it!!!after the dough has been refrigerated for at least an hour, the dough needs about an extra 1 cup flour for rolling out and cutting out into shapes. roll out about 1/2" thick (on your floured surface) and cut dough into shapes using cookie cutters. Bake cookies for apx 8 min at 350. remove cookies from cookie sheets immediately after cookies come out of the oven so that the bottoms don't brown.
    Reply
  • Sudeak Brown
    21 JUN, 2012
    Made them for my two best kids in the whole wide world brook,and stinker man
    Reply
  • MissFurniture
    10 FEB, 2009
    Why is the dough crumbly?
    Reply
  • meadow1ark
    22 DEC, 2008
    The recipe calls for 2 TABLEspoons of vanilla. Usually a cookie dough has 1 to 2 TEAspoons. I've made the recipe with 1 TABLEspoon and it seems to be a little too strong. I haven't baked it yet. Any comments on this?
    Reply
  • glmom
    22 DEC, 2008
    Here is a fantastic conversion site http://www.dianasdesserts.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/tools.measures/Measures.cfm 113.4g=1 stick
    Reply
  • chicagomama
    17 DEC, 2008
    one stick = 1/4 pound or 8 tablespoons. not sure what that would be in grams, but I am sure there is an online conversion tool somewhere.
    Reply
  • Fchc
    17 DEC, 2008
    Can someone please let me know how much a 'stick' of butter weighs! I have some cup measures but in Uk we buy butter in 250g packs. Thanks!
    Reply
  • Fchc
    17 DEC, 2008
    Can someone please let me know how much a 'stick' of butter weighs! I have some cup measures but in Uk we buy butter in 250g packs. Thanks!
    Reply