Sugar Cookies

Create classic decorated cutouts with this delicious and versatile dough.
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 4 hr 15 min (includes chilling, cooling and resting times)
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: about 5 dozen cookies
Save Recipe

Ingredients

Cookies:

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 large egg

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

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

1/4 teaspoon fine salt

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more, for rolling, optional

Icing:

1 cup confectioners' sugar

About 1 tablespoon milk

Food coloring, optional

Sprinkles, candies and/or colored sugar, for decorating, optional

Directions

  1. For the cookies: Whisk together the vanilla and egg in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Beat the butter with a handheld mixer in a large bowl until fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, add the granulated sugar, confectioners' sugar and salt and continue beating until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl again if needed, then add the egg mixture and beat for about 1 minute. Reduce the mixer to low speed and add the flour in batches, mixing just until blended.
  3. Divide the dough in half and place each half between 2 pieces of waxed paper or lightly floured parchment. Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into disks about 1/4 inch thick. Slide the covered disks onto a flat cookie sheet or the back of a rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.
  4. Position the oven racks with even space all around and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Place 1 disk of the cookie dough on a clean work surface and peel off the top sheet of paper. Cut out cookies with a 1 1/2-inch round or decorative-shape cookie cutter directly on the parchment. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to a prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 1-inch apart. Repeat with other disk of dough. Any excess dough can be re-rolled, refrigerated and cut.
  6. Bake until the edges of the cookies are light golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool.
  7. For the icing: In a small bowl, whisk the confectioners' sugar with just enough milk to make a thick icing. Tint the icing with food coloring if desired. Transfer the icing to a small plastic bag. Press the icing into a corner of the bag and snip off the corner with scissors to make a small opening. Gently squeeze the icing onto the cookies as desired. Top with sprinkles, candies or colored sugar if using. Set aside for about 1 hour to let the icing harden.
  8. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Cook’s Note

If desired, try one of these variations: Walnut-Orange: Add 3/4 teaspoon grated orange zest to the butter and 2/3 cup finely chopped walnuts to the flour. Pecan-Cinnamon: Mix 2/3 cup finely chopped pecans and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon to the flour. Sprinkle the tops of the unbaked cookies with a mixture of 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Almond: Reduce the vanilla extract to 1 teaspoon and add 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract. Add 3/4 cup chopped toasted sliced almonds to the flour. If desired, brush the top of each unbaked cookie with some egg white and press a few un-toasted almond slices on the top.

Get the Recipe

Crispy Rice Cereal Brain

Get gasps out of your guests with this ghoulishly delicious treat.

Sugar Cookies

Chewy Sugar Cookies

Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies

Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf with Brown Sugar-Ketchup Glaze

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies