Vanilla Sugar Cookies

Preparation info

  • Makes about


    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Art of the Cookie

The Art of the Cookie

By Shelly Kaldunski

Published 2011

  • About

Buttery and crisp, these sugar cookies have a delicate vanilla flavor that makes them delicious on their own. Transformed with icing and sprinkles, they become even more appealing and festive.


  • 3 cups (15 oz/470 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (8 oz/250 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • cups (10 oz/315 g) sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream


    1. In a bowl, whisk together the 3 cups flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2–3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on low speed until the egg is completely incorporated. Beating on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and continue to beat until almost incorporated. Add the cream and beat on low speed until just incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
    2. Press the dough into a rough rectangle, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or up to overnight. (The dough can be wrapped well and frozen for up to 1 month.)
    3. Follow the desired recipe for rolling and cutting, or do the following: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, using a floured rolling pin, roll out the chilled dough until about ¼ inch (6 mm) thick. Using cookie cutters or a paring knife, cut the cookies into the desired shapes. Use a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to the prepared sheets, spacing them 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Press the dough scraps together, roll out, and cut out additional shapes.
    4. Follow the desired recipe for baking and cooling or do the following: Bake 1 sheet at a time until the cookies are lightly golden around the edges but the tops are barely colored, 16—19 minutes (or as indicated in the recipe). Let cool on the sheets for 5 minutes. Using the metal spatula, transfer to wire racks and let cool completely, about 30 minutes.
    5. Decorate the cookies as desired.