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Under 30 Minutes

Basic Vanilla Cookie Dough


For tinted cookies, add drops of gel-paste food coloring once the flour is incorporated. If you'd like to try a variation, see what ingredients to add: Spice Cookie Dough, Chocolate Cookie Dough, Citrus Cookie Dough.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:

Source: Martha Stewart Living, December 2010


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder (omit if making thumbprints, ball cookies, or spritz cookies)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Beat butter and granulated sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture, and beat until combined. Proceed with variations:

    Thumbprints and Ball Cookies

    Shaped Icebox Cookies

    Layered Icebox Cookies

    Glazed Spritz Cookies

    Cutout Cookies

Reviews Add a comment

  • Elsie F
    23 JAN, 2014
    These dough recipes make a crunchy cookie, more hard than tender, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Beware: the proportion of sugar is so high that the cookies can become overdone and burnt VERY quickly, so you must keep an eye on them in the oven. I had to toss a few (or a MANY) charred cookies from each batch before I got the timing down.
  • seritav
    23 DEC, 2013
    These cookies are SO DRY. I tried to use it for thumbprints as suggested and half of them just broke into pieces because the dough was so dry. I would not suggest this recipe ESPECIALLY for thumbprints.
  • LOLOlainer
    1 DEC, 2013
    Any clue on what temperature to cook these at and for how long?
  • NikkiNicole
    2 DEC, 2012
    Going traditional this Christmas & Martha's helping me the whole way.