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Sugar Cookies

  • yield: Makes about 2 dozen 4-inch cookies

Ingredients

  • 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for surface and more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Royal Icing

Cook's Note

Cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Directions

  1. Step 1

    Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Turn out dough, and divide in half. Flatten each half into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.

  2. Step 2

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds of oven. Let one disk of dough stand at room temperature just until soft enough to roll, about 10 minutes. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to just under 1/4-inch thick, adding more flour as needed to keep dough from sticking. Chill in refrigerator until firm, about 30 minutes. Cut out cookies using desired cutters or templates. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets as you work. Roll out scraps, and repeat once. Repeat with remaining disk of dough. Chill cookies in freezer until very firm, about 15 minutes.

  3. Step 3

    Bake cookies, switching positions of sheets and rotating halfway through, until edges turn golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Decorate with Royal Icing.

Source
Martha Stewart Living, December 2009

Reviews (16)

  • 20 Dec, 2012

    Out of the zillions of sugar cookies out there, these taste the most "christmasy." I was using cutters with detailed edges so I made sure to chill the dough according to directions, but the cookies still spread out during baking. I blame my ancient oven for that. Be sure to roll out to 1/4" and bake for the minimum time or they'll turn out very crispy. Also, for the amount of ingredients called for, this recipe yields surprisingly few cookies. Consider doubling if baking as a gift.

  • 20 Dec, 2012

    Out of the zillions of sugar cookies out there, these taste the most "christmasy." I was using cutters with detailed edges so I made sure to chill the dough according to directions, but the cookies still spread out during baking. I blame my ancient oven for that. Be sure to roll out to 1/4" and bake for the minimum time or they'll turn out very crispy. Also, for the amount of ingredients called for, this recipe yields surprisingly few cookies. Consider doubling if baking as a gift.

  • 20 Dec, 2011

    be careful with organic "large" eggs. Even though they say large the first batch was crumbled and never came together, tried second batch w/ 3 eggs and worked great.

  • 23 Dec, 2010

    these were truly simple and tasted divine!

  • 13 Dec, 2010

    I really liked this recipe, the only difference between this and my mom;s old recipe was 1 egg. It turned out just like the Christmas Cookies I had as a child, the cookies I loved best were hard, as were these, very easy to make and roll out,

  • 6 Dec, 2010

    Wonderful! I usually DREAD making cut-out sugar cookies, but this dough was perfect. It wasn't even necessary to chill the dough before rolling it out. The very flavorful cookies came out crisp around the edges and soft in the middle. I work in a bakery and it took no time to cut out and bake almost 200 of these. Thank you Martha!

  • 6 Dec, 2010

    Wonderful! I usually DREAD making cut-out sugar cookies, but this dough was perfect. It wasn't even necessary to chill the dough before rolling it out. The very flavorful cookies came out crisp around the edges and soft in the middle. I work in a bakery and it took no time to cut out and bake almost 200 of these. Thank you Martha!

  • 6 Dec, 2010

    Wonderful! I usually DREAD making cut-out sugar cookies, but this dough was perfect. It wasn't even necessary to chill the dough before rolling it out. These very flavorful cookies came out crisp around the edges and soft in the middle. I work in a bakery and it took no time to cut out and bake almost 200 of these. Thank you Martha!

  • 6 Dec, 2010

    Wonderful! I usually DREAD making cut-out sugar cookies, but this dough was perfect. It wasn't even necessary to chill the dough before rolling it out. The very flavorful cookies came out crisp around the edges and soft in the middle. I work in a bakery and it took no time to cut out and bake almost 200 of these. Thank you Martha!

  • 26 Oct, 2010

    I skipped the extra chill after rolled out and the freezer chill after being laid on cookie sheets and they turned out GREAT. Totally unnecessary and weird things to suggest. I also made sure to roll out the dough thick--at LEAST 1/4" for softer cookies that stayed soft after icing in a tupperware bin. My adjustments made perfect and delicious cookies with less time and fuss.

  • 2 Jul, 2010

    These cookies were HARD AS A ROCK! Then you add the royal icing on top of that made them HARDER THAN A ROCK! THey turned out so cute and were great for looking at but OUCH! Pretty much impossible to eat without warming them first.

  • 1 Feb, 2010

    Best Sugar Cookie ever!!!

  • 21 Dec, 2009

    Good tasting but a little too sweet. I think the sugar amount could be reduced. The dough texture was awful to work with. It is one of the worse dough's I or my mother (who is a baker) has ever worked with. I would not make this recipe for sugar cookies again. Too much flour and not enough butter for the amount of flour called for. You may want to reassess this recipe.

  • 16 Dec, 2009

    what great cookies....it wouldn't be Christmas without out cut out cookies...thanks

  • 7 Dec, 2009

    Thank you!!!!

  • 4 Dec, 2009

    These cookies are ridiculously time consuming and labor intensive. I made them for school one night and they took FOREVER. The end result was good, but not worth all the time I put in. I didn't even finish making the batch, and it took AT LEAST 3 hours. It was absolutely preposterous how long it took to make simple sugar cookies. I would not advise making these on short notice, because they are not worth it and you will spend ALL of your time baking!