Today, I’m sharing my all time favorite sugar cookie recipe. It’s very buttery, sweet, and has a great mouth feel. I use it for all of my decorated sugar cookies. It’s quite the hit with my family and friends.
There are tons of versions of this recipe, which I think just confirms how great it is.
I usually pair this with glace icing…yes, I’m sitting on that side of the fence. Well…sort of- I guess I’m on the actual fence. I do like royal icing and use it often for detailing my cookies. Yet, the experience of biting into a soft, buttery cookie paired with a soft and sweet icing, is just heavenly.
This post focuses on the roll-out version of the recipe. However, you can make a quick version if you’re in the mood for sugar cookies. I often do this with my kids. Just follow the recipe, shape the dough into small balls, place the balls on a cookie sheet and flatten with the bottom of a glass. We sometimes sprinkle table sugar on them as well, right before they go into the oven.
To start, I’d like to go over how I measure flour for this recipe. I measure flour differently for each recipe, whether cakes, cookies, or anything baked. For some recipes, I measure by using a scale. For others, I use the “scoop and sweep” method. This is a very important step in baking. Here’s a must read post on the topic written by Jamie at Mybakingaddiction.
For this recipe, I use the scoop and sweep method with excellent results. Here’s another tip: first use a wire whisk to stir and aerate the flour in the container where it’s stored. Then, scoop and sweep. After adding the salt and baking powder (optional), use the wire whisk again to mix all of the dry ingredients.
This is a very forgiving recipe. I’ve had times when I lose count of how many cups of flour I’ve measured. I start over, then lose count again (I have issues with multi-tasking). Yet, the cookies come out okay- maybe a bit more likely to crumble, but still okay. Hopefully, you don’t get as distracted as I do 🙂
In the photo above, I’ve doubled the recipe. I do use baking powder for this recipe and I double that as well. I have seen a doubled version of this recipe that calls for 3 teaspoons of baking powder. I’ve experimented with using 2 teaspoons and 3 teaspoons and didn’t really notice a difference in my cookies.
Some bakers omit the baking powder altogether. I’ve read it can produce a denser cookie that is also flatter and spreads less. I really don’t have an issue with my cookies spreading when baking-with the baking powder included. They’re still the same size as the cutter, but some do have a somewhat sloping edge. I’m definitely interested in experimenting with the “no baking powder” recipe just to see how they come out.
In this photo of my doubled recipe, I have: 6 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour (it is recommended you use bleached flour but I have no issues with unbleached), 2 cups of sugar, 4 sticks (2 cups) of unsalted butter, 2 large eggs, 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and one teaspoon of salt (also optional).
First, cream the butter and sugar. Keep your mixer on low while blending the two ingredients. Next, switch the speed to level 6 for creaming, about 3 minutes. Return the mixer speed back to low and add the egg. Once the egg is blended, move up to speed 6 again for about 60 seconds. Repeat with the vanilla extract but… keep the mixer speed on low or even better, turn it off when adding the vanilla extract…unless you like the scent of “eau de vanilla parfum.”
Now it’s time for the flour. Add the flour, a cup at a time, while the mixer is on the lowest setting…or you’ll be bringing back a fashion trend from the 18th century.
Another very important part of baking cookies- don’t over mix your dough. The cookies may turn out tough and hard. As the flour is added to the creamed mixture, work quickly until the flour is incorporated. Stop the mixer at this point.
The dough probably won’t look like the above photo. You will most likely have a bit of flour in the bottom of the bowl. To remedy this, remove the bowl from the mixer, set it on a low table and dig in…with clean hands of course. Knead the dough directly in the bowl until it looks like the photo above.
This dough can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks or frozen for up to two months. I’ve tried both refrigeration and freezing, and they still come out delicious. Once baked, you can store them in an airtight container for up to a week and a half or two weeks.
For decorated cookies, it’s best to eat them as fresh as possible (considering the decorating process) and not pass more than 7 days. Really, this is also a personal preference of each cookie fiend…I don’t like the texture after 5 days, but my family and friends will eat them after 7 plus days with no complaints.
Just try and see 🙂
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (12oz/340g)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (optional)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter (8oz/230g) at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar (8oz/230g)
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Take out butter and eggs and let them come to room temperature.
- If baking today, preheat the oven to 350F.
- Before measuring your flour, use a wire whisk to aerate the flour where it is stored.
- Measure the flour by scoop and sweep method.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, if using, and salt. Using the wire whisk, mix the dry ingredients.
- Place butter and sugar in the bowl of your mixer. Using the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, approximately 2-3 minutes. Make sure to stop and scrape the bowl halfway through mixing.
- Add the egg and beat approximately one minute.
- Stop and scape down the dough. Add the vanilla extract while the mixer is stopped.
- Beat vanilla approximately one more minute.
- Reduce mixer speed to the lowest setting.
- Slowly add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, continuing on the lowest mixer setting.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl continuously.
- Once you add the last amount of flour mixture, mix for 30 seconds on the lowest setting.
- Stop the mixer.
- Mix the dough by hand: either pour the dough mixture onto a sheet of parchment paper and knead or keep the dough in your mixer bowl, immerse your hands into the bowl and knead.
- Roll into a ball or log.
- Cover with cling wrap and place in a plastic bag in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to use.
- If baking immediately, bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges of cookies begin to brown lightly.
*Others sift the flour. I find using the whisk to be sufficient.
*I have always used the scoop and sweep method of measuring flour with this recipe and find it is very consistent.
*This recipe can be frozen for up to two months with excellent results.
*This recipe can also be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.