This is the sugar cookie recipe I have honed over the years. It’s pretty simple but gets rave reviews. People who don’t even love sugar cookies very much say that they just can’t stop eating these. I think it’s the balance from the good amount of salt and the high quality ingredients (check the notes section).
The other special thing is the small amount of baking powder. Reducing the amount keeps your cookies from spreading. That way, even through baking, the cookies will stay in the shape of whatever awesome cookie cutters you chose.
I do want to call out the ingredients I use. I use Kerrygold unsalted butter. It’s European-style which means it has a higher fat and lower water content. There is nothing inherently bad in using non-European style butter isn’t bad or anything, you just might need to adjust the amount of flour
I use fine-grain kosher salt, Diamond brand to be specific. If using iodized (table) salt, halve the amount. I do not recommend using flaky salt
I highly recommend using a scale and measuring your flour and sugar by weight. I give those weights here in grams. I give the butter measurement in ounces and sticks because it just makes sense with how butter is sold here
My favorite brand of vanilla is Sonoma Syrup Company. Not gonna lie, it’s not cheap. I do think it is worth it to splurge on a good vanilla that you really enjoy the taste of
- I mention 2 optional changes you could make if you want to make this already very low-spread recipe as close to zero-spread as possible. They are to remove the baking powder and add some corn starch. I only use this option if I am making embossed cookies that have a lot of detail or where any warping might compromise the design, like for human faces.
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
225 g sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
340 g flour
1/4 tsp baking powder (omit to minimize spread)
1 Tbsp corn starch (optional to minimize spread)
1/2 tsp salt
In a medium-large bowl, use a hand or stand mixer to cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high for 3-4 minutes, until it becomes fluffy and lighter in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the egg and vanilla at a medium speed. Then increase speed to high and mix for a couple minutes until completely homogenous and a really lush, creamy, smooth texture is achieved. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt just so everything is evenly distributed.
Add flour mixture to the butter mixture in 2 additions on low speed. Mix only long enough until flour is incorporated and the dough starts to come together and pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Wrap dough in saran wrap and chill in the fridge for 20-30 minutes until using.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Roll out dough and cut into shapes. I roll mine out to 1/4 in using this rolling pin to help keep everything even. You can roll it out thicker if that’s to your liking but I don’t recommend going much thinner.
Bake for 13-16 minutes or until the edges become slightly golden brown. For very small shapes, start checking for done-ness at 10 minutes.
Cookies keep for a couple days in a tupperware container, up to a week in a heat-sealed bag, and up to 2 months in the freezer