A traditional sugar cookie — the perfect balance of tender and chewy but still tough enough to stand up to your icing and decorations.
2 1/2 c. All Purpose Flour, preferably unbleached (11.25 oz.)
3/4 c. Sugar
1/4 t. Kosher Salt
1 c. Unsalted Butter (2 4-oz. sticks), cold and divided into large chunks
2 Egg Yolks
1 ½ t. pure Vanilla extract
- Add the flour, sugar and salt to the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix on low just until the ingredients are combined (about 30 seconds).
- Add the butter. Mix on low speed until the butter forms small chunks, the size of peas (about 3 minutes).
- Whisk the egg yolks and vanilla together in a small bowl. Add to the butter mixture and mix on low to combine. Raise the speed to medium and mix until the dough comes together in large chunks.
- Turn the dough onto a work surface (a clean counter or marble pastry board) and knead briefly until the dough just comes together. Don’t overwork. Divide the dough in two pieces, form a flat disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes before using.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator. If it is not pliable, let it sit to warm up for a few minutes. Roll out one disc on a lightly floured surface until it is approximately a quarter inch thick, or thicker depending on your preference. (I like to roll out my dough between two pieces of parchment or plastic wrap). Repeat with second disc. (Be sure to scrape up scraps and reroll them for more cookies.)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place parchment paper on your cookie sheets.
- Use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out cookie shapes — dip the cutters lightly in flour so the dough doesn’t stick.
- Place the cookies on the cookie sheets, at least one to two inches apart. If desired, decorate with sugar now, or decorate after baking. Bake for 12-14 minutes on the middle rack of the oven, rotating half way through the baking time so the dough bakes evenly.
- Cool completely before decorating.
Lemon Variation: Add 2 teaspoons of freshly grated lemon zest to the flour mixture in step 1. Reduce the vanilla to ½ teaspoon.
*At this point, you can stop, ask your children or spouse or significant other to clean the kitchen, and refrigerate your dough overnight.