Christmas Sugar Cookies

The holidays are here and time must be spent with family and friends. The days feel short lately, with so little sun and such busy evenings. I want to thoroughly enjoy every moment with loved ones—to relax and laugh, drink wine, and spend time in front of the fire—before heading back home to everyday life. For this reason, my words will be few.

It doesn't feel like Christmas until a batch of sugar cookies comes out of the oven, smelling of butter and tasting of joy. Last weekend I baked and decorated a large batch, wrapping them up in small boxes and gifting them out to those I hold dear. If there were ever a holiday for this simple, but beloved cookie, this is it.

Over the years, I've tinkered and played with this sugar cookie recipe until I've landed on this particular version. It is everything I look for in a sugar cookie—consistent, soft, and bakes up with a smooth and even surface for decorating. A heavy hand with the vanilla, a pinch of salt, and just the right amount of sugar to be pleasing, but not overpowering. There is nothing more I could wish for in a sugar cookie and I imagine you will feel the same.

One Year Ago: Almond Cardamom Rolls, Red Wine Chocolate Truffles, and Gingerbread Cookies
Two Years Ago: Banana Cocoa Smoothie, Pumpkin Panna Cotta, and Honey Cookies
Three Years Ago: Pear Chips, Candy Striped Meringues, and Chocolate Truffles

Sugar Cookies

Yields 2-3 dozen, depending on size of the cookie

3/4 cup (170 grams) butter
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (315 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Mix in the flour, baking powder, and salt until well combined. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour to firm up the dough.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick baking mat for best cookie removal.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness and cut out the cookies using cookie cutters (follow these tips for the best cookies). The dough that is not being handled should be kept refrigerated. Bake cookies for 6-8 minutes, depending on the size of the cookie. Cool completely on a cooling rack before frosting.