Classic Sugar Cookies

These are the familiar cookies, with crispy edges and a slightly soft middle. Superfine sugar gives them their crunchiness. The small amount[ of baking powder ensures that they puff just a little without spreading too much and losing their shape.]

Total Time:
3 hr 55 min
45 min
2 hr 45 min
25 min

about 30 cookies

  • Cookies:
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Royal Icing:
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup meringue powder
  • Food coloring, optional
  • Decorating sugar, for topping, optional
  • Sprinkles, for topping, optional
  • Special equipment: cookie cutters in desired shapes

  • For the cookies: Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.

  • Beat the superfine sugar and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes; beat in the egg, then the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and mix on medium-low speed until completely incorporated. Divide the dough in half, pat into 2 discs about 1/4 inch thick, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

  • Position oven racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

  • Let the dough sit at room temperature for a few minutes to make rolling easier. Roll out 1 disc of dough at a time between 2 pieces of parchment paper until 1/8 inch thick. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters and arrange about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.

  • Bake until the cookies are golden brown on the bottom, 10 to 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets until firm enough to transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

  • Gently gather any scraps of dough into a ball and press into a disc; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate the disc until firm enough to roll, about 1 hour. Cut out as many cookies as possible and bake.

  • For the royal icing: Beat the confectioners' sugar, meringue powder and 1/3 cup water with an electric mixer on medium-high speed in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Beat in the food coloring if using. (The icing can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.)

  • Decorate the cookies with the icing; top with decorating sugar and sprinkles if using.

  • Copyright 2015 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved.

Cook's Note: When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off the excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)

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    This recipe is featured in:

    12 Days of Cookies