Everyone needs a basic recipe for sugar cookies – sometimes referred to as rolled or cut-out sugar cookies. This is a basic dough, not too sweet, but sweet enough, buttery and handles easily. Make sure to chill the dough as recommended to retain your cookie’s shape.
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 large egg yolks
- Whisk flour and salt together in a small bowl to aerate; set aside.
- Place butter in the bowl of a mixer and beat with flat paddle on medium-high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar gradually and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice; beat in vanilla, almond extract and nutmeg. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition, again scraping down the bowl once or twice.
- Turn machine off, add about one third of the flour, then turn machine onto low-speed. Gradually add remaining flour, mixing just until blended, scraping down bowl once or twice. Form into two very flat discs, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or until firm enough to roll. Dough may be refrigerated overnight. (You may freeze dough up to 1 month; defrost in refrigerator overnight before proceeding).
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Remove one disc from refrigerator and roll out to ¼-inch thickness on floured surface; you may need to flour your rolling pin, too. Cut out cookies with shapes of choice. Transfer cookies to prepared pans placing 2-inches apart. Decorate with colored sugars or regular sugar, if desired. Refrigerate cookies on pans until very firm, at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Position racks in upper and lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Bake for about 9 minutes or until edges and bottoms have just begun to turn very light golden brown. Cool pans on rack for a few minutes, then slide parchment onto racks to cool cookies completely. Decorate with frostings or paint with dissolved edible coloring, if desired. Cookies may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
- You might have noticed that there is a trio of vanilla, almond extract and nutmeg. We feel this combo gives the cookie a subtle background flavor that adds interest. You won’t necessarily taste any almond or nutmeg – we think you will just taste deliciousness – but if you prefer to just use vanilla, increase it to 1 1/2 teaspoons and leave out the almond extract and nutmeg.
- If you are making cookies of varying sizes make sure to place similar-sized cookies on the same baking sheet so that they all bake evenly. And watch baking times. A 1-inch cookie will bake much faster than a 3-inch, and of course your yield will vary as well.