Sugar cookies are buttery classics that are delicious anytime on their own -- but they also make ideal holiday cookies when festively decorated with icing. Try customizing them to your taste with an addition such as lemon zest, a bit of brandy, or a hint of cinnamon.
Tips for Baking Cookies
Chilled dough will help retain the shape of the cookies; soft, warm dough tends to lose its shape when cut and moved. Rolling out the dough is sometimes difficult. Roll out the dough in small batches, make sure it's cold, and use a light dusting of flour or sugar to keep it from sticking to the work surface. Don't overmix the dough once you have added the dry ingredients. Overmixing will make the cookies tough. Dip cookie cutters in flour to prevent sticking. Rotate baking sheets halfway through baking to ensure that the cookies bake evenly.
Ingredients ( Makes 2 dozen)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons brandy, or milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar; mix until light and fluffy.
- With mixer running, add egg, brandy, and vanilla; mix until well combined. With the mixer on low, slowly add reserved flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
- Transfer dough to a work surface. Shape into 2 discs, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with nonstick baking mats or parchment paper; set aside.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes, and transfer to prepared baking sheets, leaving an inch in between. Leftover dough can be rolled and cut once more. Bake until lightly golden, about 10 minutes; do not allow to brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool.