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Friday, December 10, 2010

Recipe: Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies

These are a classic sugar cookie. They tend to be somewhat crisp, especially if you leave them out and uniced. I usually ice them and put them in tupperware, and they stay nice and moist, but my father-in-law loves classic sugar cookies, so I have to leave a few out for him. He says they remind him of cookies his grandma used to make.

I also have no idea where this recipe came from (it's in my family cookbook), but it's a pretty generic sugar cookie recipe, so I'm not sure anyone could claim it came from anywhere but general knowledge.

Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies:

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter (at room temperature)
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs (at room temperature)
2 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl (or the bowl of an electric mixer), beat butter and sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture.

Remove the dough from the bowl and divide into two equal-sized balls. Flatten the balls slightly, and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate discs until firm, at least 1 hour, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325.

On a surface lightly covered with powdered sugar, roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thick. I usually put some powdered sugar on top of the dough to get it to roll out easier, and I also frequently pick up the dough to toss more powdered sugar underneath - otherwise, it has a bad habit of sticking terribly. Cut cookies with 4-5 inch cutters. A metal spatula is also very useful in removing cookies from the counter, if they start to stick a little.

Place cookies about 2 inches apart on parchment-paper-covered cookie sheets. Chill cookies on the cookie sheets in the freezer for approximately 15 minutes, until dough is firm (this helps them keep their shape and spread less when baking - if you put them straight in the oven without freezing them first, you'll end up with rounded corners and less distinct shapes).

Bake 12-15 minutes, until edges are barely beginning to brown. Allow to cool completely, then ice with the following powdered sugar icing recipe. Like I said earlier, though, these cookies are also good without any icing at all (albeit a little plain). I'm just a sugar-fanatic, so I can't fathom eating anything plain that could otherwise be enhanced with icing (which, in my world, is most food items).


3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients until smooth icing forms. Add food coloring. This recipe is usually enough to ice all the cookies. I divide it up into portions before coloring it. Adding food coloring usually makes the icing slightly more runny, so keep that in mind as you mix it. If it's too stiff, add more milk, 1/2 tsp at a time. If it's too runny, add powdered sugar 1/8 - 1/4 cup at a time until desired consistency is attained.

After icing, let the cookies sit out overnight until icing hardens before stacking them in tupperware containers with wax paper between layers of cookies.

Usually makes around 4 dozen 4-inch cookies.


  1. Laura, if I may offer an alteration...
    I suggest adding almond extract in place of vanilla for these cookies, it will change your life. :)

  2. Oh man, you know me too well. I love almond extract... so of course you're right. Thank you!! And I'm sorry it too me so long to notice this. :D