My mom’s famous sugar cookie recipe, with crisp edges, a soft center, and great flavor. Perfect for any time of year.
1. Combine the butter and sugar in a stand mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add the egg, vanilla, and and salt and blend again, scraping the sides down as necessary.
2. Turn off the mixer and add half the flour. Mix on the lowest speed until flour is mixed in, and then add the rest of the flour. The cookie dough will seem very dry and crumbly at first. If the dough does not come together after 1 minute of mixing, add water a few drops at a time.
3. Turn dough out onto counter and divide in half. Press into rough discs, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Allow the dough to chill at least 2 hours, and up to 1 day.
4. When you are ready to bake, work with one disc at a time. Let it sit on the counter to slightly soften. generously flour counter and rolling pin.
5. Roll cookies out to a thickness of 1/8 of inch to 1/4 inch. If the dough seems too stiff, let it sit at room temperature for a few more minutes.
6. Cut out cookies, placing the cookie cutters as close as possible to each other. Reroll the scraps, but only once. Place the cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet, making sure they are not touching.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Thicker cookies will take longer to to bake. The edges should be slightly browned. Cool on baking sheet.
8. Wait until the cookies are completely cool and decorate as desired. (See notes for simple glaze recipe.)
To make ahead, freeze the dough as a disc as described in step 3. Fully baked, un-iced cookies also freeze well.
You can flavor these with flavors other than vanilla. Try lemon, almond, or orange extract.
You can add sparkling sugar before baking as a simple decoration.
If you want to decorate with a simple glaze, mix 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons corn syrup, and a small dash of milk. Dip the cookies in and add sprinkles or colored sugar.
You can of course also decorate these with royal icing or buttercream for a fancier cookie.
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