Sometimes the simplest pleasures are the most comforting, and these vanilla sugar cookies are the perfect example of a simple yet delicious treat. Their aroma reminds me of childhood snacks around our kitchen table. I have had this recipe for years, and it is the only sugar cookie recipe I use. Once you try it, I am sure you will also fall in love with it. I asked my kids recently if they want me to add anything to these cookies, maybe a chocolate or caramel drizzle, and they answered that these cookies are perfect the way they are, nothing more and nothing less. I couldn’t agree more with my young but wise kids…
These cookies are vanilla scented, buttery yet crisp enough that you can dip in milk or coffee. I sprinkle the tops with sugar right before baking, and it gives the cookies a lovely, sparkly texture. When I am planning on shaping these (mainly for birthday parties, wedding or baby showers, etc), I make sure they go in the freezer before baking, so that they maintain their shape. However when the cookies are just for snacking with a tall glass of milk (yummy), I opt for efficiency and bake these after 30 minutes of chilling. They are just as delicious and not as time consuming to prepare.
The makings of a delicious sugar cookie. The simplest ingredients can yield such great results! (Can you tell I love to shop at Costco?)
An offset spatula is crucial to carefully placing the cookies onto the parchment covered cookie sheet. If you don’t have one and love baking, then do add this to your holiday wish list, or treat yourself, here.
If you plan on decorating these cookies with royal icing, chill the cookies for at least 15 minutes before baking them or until they are stiff. This step will ensure the cookies do not lose their shape during baking.
These cookies will keep for at least 3-5 days at room temperature in a sealed container. You can make this dough up to two weeks ahead. Roll out between two sheets of parchment, wrap in plastic and freeze. Also, feel free to double the recipe. Enjoy!
- 2½ cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
- ¾ cup unsalted butter (1½ sticks), at room temperature (or vegan margarine)
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup sugar, for sprinkling onto the cookies before baking
- Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar together at medium speed until the mixture is fluffy and light. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until just combined.
- Add the flour mixture in batches, making sure to scrape down the bowl. Do not over mix.
- When combined, place the dough on a floured surface. Shape into a disk, and cover with cling wrap. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Preheat over to 350 F, and cover 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Place the cookie dough onto a large piece of parchment paper. Cover with another large sheet of parchment paper, and roll out the dough with a rolling pin to ¼ inch thickness.
- Using a round cookie cutter, cut out cookies. Using an offset spatula, place the cookies on the prepared sheets, about 1 inch apart.
- Sprinkle sugar on top of the cookies.
- (f you plan on decorating these cookies with royal icing, chill the cookies for at least 15 minutes before baking them or until they are stiff. Also do not sprinkle with sugar)
- Bake for 10 minutes, or until light golden brown.
- Cool on a rack.