The Best Butter Cookies

Your search is over -- this perfect butter cookie will stay in your recipe box for years. It's crisp, yet tender and perfect for tea for two or cookies for Santa. Plus, you have the choice to make drop cookies or a slice-and-bake version!
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 45 min
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 36 cookies
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Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour (see Cook's Note)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder 

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 

2 sticks (16 tablespoons) good-quality unsalted butter, at room temperature 

3/4 cup granulated sugar 

1 large egg yolk 

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

1/4 cup turbinado sugar 

Directions

  1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter and granulated sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on high speed for a full 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl halfway through the mixing; the butter should be very light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on medium speed until well combined. Add half the dry ingredients and beat on low speed to combine. Scrape down the mixing bowl before adding the remaining dry ingredients and beat to combine. Refrigerate for 1 hour in the bowl for drop cookies, or form into a 1-inch log for slice-and-bake cookies.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  3. Place the turbinado sugar in a small bowl. For drop cookies, scoop the cookie dough with a 1 tablespoon-size cookie scoop and then dip the tops of the cookie dough balls into the sugar. Place onto the prepared baking sheet.  
  4. For slice-and-bake cookies, cut the log into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Press the tops into the sugar and place on the prepared baking sheet.  
  5. Bake the cookies until slightly puffed and lightly golden on the bottom, about 15 minutes. 

Cook’s Note

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