If I was ever to write a love letter to food, this would be it: ode to a sugar cookie. I mean, butter and sugar? Yes please – with frosting on top.
You just can’t go wrong with the classic sugar cookie. This recipe is from an old ’90s Betty Crocker cookbook my mom has – I have yet to find another that beats it! There are only a few simple ingredients (rare today), with little prep and baking time, and it comes together perfectly as an impressive dessert. It’s my classic go-to for any and all occasions, from birthdays and holidays to I-just-need-sugar days.
I included this (admittedly plain) picture to demonstrate the ideal blank slate that is the perfect sugar cookie. The possibilities – in shape, color, décor – are vast, and the taste is always consistent. In order to get that soft, melt-in-your-mouth sweetness, it’s important to take them out of the oven maybe a minute before you think they’re actually ready. I’ve found that this is right when they lose that doughy sheen, and start to look matte (I’m not sure that this is proper chef-speak, but after making them a million times, this is the best way I can describe it!).
Classic Sugar Cookies
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup salted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- colored sugars or other decorations
Basic Buttercream Frosting
- 1/2 cup of unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 1 T vanilla extract
- 1 t skim milk
- 2-4 cups of powdered sugar, depending on desired thickness
Yield: 3 doz. cookies
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt with a wire whisk. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until well mixed. Scrape down sides of bowl, then add the flour mixture. Blend on low speed just until combined.
Gather dough into a ball. Flatten the ball into a disk and wrap tightly in a plastic wrap or a plastic bag. Refrigerate 1 hour until firm.
On a floured surface, roll out dough to a 1/4 inch thickness. With cookie cutters, cut dough into desired shapes and place on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, being careful not to brown. Immediately transfer cookies with a spatula to a cool, flat surface.
Mix all of the frosting ingredients together, slowly adding powered sugar until you reach the desired thickness. (The measurements are loose on this one!) You can also add a few drops of food coloring. Frost and enjoy!