This recipe is my go-to recipe for all things sugar cookie. It is really versatile and lends itself not only to the soft, cakey kind of frosted cookie you can find at your local supermarket and the thin and crispy kind you can find in a box, but also the kind you roll out, cut and frost for holidays. Check out the bottom of the recipe for baking variations.
4 cups flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 scant teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Sift flour and baking powder together in a medium sized bowl and set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix butter, sugar and salt on medium speed for around 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Scrape down sides of bowl. On low speed, mix in vanilla and eggs until thoroughly combined. Add in flour mixture, a little at a time, until fully incorporated. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least ½ hour before use.
For soft, cakey cookies: Preheat oven to 350-375 degrees. 350 makes the cookies extra cakey while 375 is a little firmer. I’ve even gone as low as 325. The cookies pictured were baked at 375. Roll dough into 1 ½ inch balls, place on cookie sheet and press to ½ inch with the bottom of a glass. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the bottom of the cookie is golden brown and the edges of the cookies are just barely brown. Remove from oven. Let rest 1-2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Cool thoroughly and frost as desired.
For holiday cut out cookies: Refrigerate dough at least 2 hours. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to ¼ inch. Bake at 375 degrees until just the edge of the cookie is golden. Cooking time will vary based on personal preference for thickness as well as the size and shape of cookie cutter you use. Once done, remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Frost and decorate as desired.
For thin and crispy cookies: Roll dough in a log and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until log is firm. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a sharp knife, slice ¼ inch rounds from the log and place on cookie sheet. Bake for around 8 minutes or until cookie edges are golden. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack.
Sugar Cookie Frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
On low speed, mix together butter and powdered sugar until well combined. Turn mixer to medium speed and mix until fluffy and creamy. Mix in vanilla to fully incorporate. Mix in milk to finish. At this point, you can color or flavor your frosting as desired. Frost and decorate cookies. Let frosted cookies dry at room temperature for at least two hours. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to a week.
Want to have dough on hand for unexpected visitors or the occasional after school snack of milk and cookies? Store a log of dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. When you want cookies, preheat the oven, slice of dough rounds and bake as desired.