If you have a delightfully twee set of cookie cutters that you’ve wanted an excuse to use, or need a cookie to use as the base for one of those fanciful royal icing decorating projects that constantly clog up your Pinterest feed, this is a very solid choice to make. They’re slightly golden, with a crunchy firmness, and pleasantly sweet but not cloying. They’re simple and understated; the equivalent of saying “I like you but I don’t like like you”. They’re not showy or trying to make any bold statements other than “I’m a sweet and tasty little sugar cookie – why not pair me with some lovely tea?”
BA’s Best: Sugar Cookies
Taken directly from BA’s Best arsenal, with some very minor changes
Makes ~2 dozen cookies
¾ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour, measured correctly + more for dusting
1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ½-inch pieces
1 cup white sugar
1 large egg + 1 large yolk
1 tsp vanilla
Decorative sugar or sprinkles, for decorating (I used vanilla sugar and a coloured sanding sugar)
Whisk the salt, baking powder, and flour together in a small bowl and set aside. Using electric beaters or a stand mixer set on high, beat the cold butter and sugar together until well combined (it will not get particularly fluffy like typical cookie recipes because of course the butter is cold). Add the whole egg, yolk, and vanilla, beating just to combine. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture. Mix until just combined; you can also leave the dough just slightly under-combined and finish incorporating the flour gently with your hands. Turn the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Form into 2 ¾-inch thick disks, wrap tightly, and chill for at least 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Let one disk of dough sit at room temperature until slightly softened, only 5 minutes or so. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper until ¼-inch thick, dusting with flour as needed to avoid stickage. Use cookie cutters to create whatever you fancy and transfer the cookies to a lined baking sheet. Bake the cookies, rotating the baking sheets halfway through cooking from top-to-bottom and front-to-back, until the edges are golden, ~12 minutes for smaller shapes and ~14 minutes for larger ones. Immediately sprinkle the cookies with sugar or sprinkles and oh-so-lightly press them in to set (they’ll still scatter sugar like mad, but the mess will be mitigated somewhat). Transfer the cookies to cooling racks. Cool completely if planning to ice. Repeat the whole process with the other dough disk whenever you like – right away or up to a few days later. EAT COOKIES.