Essential Recipe No. 2: Sugar Cookies

essential recipe sugar cookies dough
Photo: Kate Sears
Makes 45 slice-and-bake cookies, 100 spritz cookies, or 30 cut-out cookies

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


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • ½ 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


  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 until incorporated (do not overmix).

  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. Decorate, if desired. Let dry at least 2 hours.

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