Sugar Cookies

A deliciously sweet, easy-to-make sugar cookie is an all-time holiday favorite.

By Roger Kimpton and Kate Sonders

This cookie from a recipe by cookbook author Helen DeFrance, celebrates the season. It's buttery, sweet, and can be decorated with sugar or frosting — a perfect task for the kids. 

Gift Tip from DeFrance: "Another favorite gift from our kitchen is the sugar cookie dough, wrapped in red or green food-safe cellophane and tied with holiday ribbon. Present it along with the icing recipe and a cookie cutter. I get a jump on the busy holiday season by starting to make my Christmas cookie dough right after Thanksgiving, as it freezes beautifully."

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Colored or white sugar for sprinkling, optional

For the buttercream frosting:
1-pound box confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Food coloring of your choice, optional

1. For the cookies: Cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Stir in eggs and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Stir in flour and baking powder until well combined.

2. Place dough on a large piece of floured parchment paper and coat with flour. Enclose dough tightly in parchment and refrigerate until dough is quite firm, about 1 hour.

3. Now preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

4. On a lightly floured board, roll out about one-fourth of the dough at a time to about 1/8-inch thick. Do not overwork dough or it will stick to the board. Keep board lightly floured to roll the remaining dough.

5. Cut out cookies with holiday cookie cutters. Transfer shapes to prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with colored or white sugar, if you like.

6. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned. Let cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.

7. For the frosting: In a large bowl, beat together sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla until smooth.

8. If necessary, add more milk until frosting is of spreading consistency. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and stir to blend. Use to frost cookies.

Makes about 6 1/2 dozen cookies and 2 cups frosting


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