Yummy sugar cookie that my family has been making for as long as I can remember. These cookies are so soft but still perfectly hold their shape. The most versatile cookie can be rolled and cut with cookie cutters or pressed out. They have a very light sweet and buttery flavor; that works well with or without frosting.
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Step 1: Origins
Originally this recipe started from this old cookbook. It has seen a lot of wear over the years but I still pull this old book out every time I bake these cookies even though I'm pretty sure I know the recipe by heart, and it is very deviated from the original.
Step 2: Ingredients and Tools
Large mixing bowl
measuring cup and spoons
If doing rolled sugar cookies:
Cookie cutters or a glass
If doing pressed cookies:
Non stick spray
1 1/2 cups room temperature butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 Tablespoons vanilla
Splash of milk, no more than 2 Tablespoons
4 cups of flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
Dash of salt
Step 3: Cream Sugar
In your large bowl add the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Using the whisk cream until smooth and fluffy.
Step 4: Adding Dry Ingredients
Add the baking powder and dash of salt. Mix completely. Now add the flour about a half a cup at a time. As it gets thick and heavy change from the whisk to the wooden spoon. Add all 4 cups of the flour. The dough should hold together on its own. If it doesn't add a bit of milk. A tiny bit at a time. You don't want sticky dough. You may need all 2 Tablespoons or not. I usually use about 1 Tablespoon.
Now you can immediately start baking cookies or you can store the dough for another day. Put it in a zip lock bag with air removed to refrigerate for a few days. Or if you wish to keep longer, wrap in plastic wrap and store in a zip lock bag with air removed for up to a month.
Now I usually prep this dough in mid November for Christmas cookie. I've never tried to store it any longer. As you store it, it may dry out. in that case add a tiny bit of milk and knead it in. I will generally add about 1/2 Tablespoon after storing for the month.
Step 5: Rolled Cookies
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
You will need extra flour for this step.
Sprinkle flour on your counter and make sure your rolling pin is coated as well. Take a small handful of dough and place it in the center of your flour. Using the rolling pin to roll out the dough to an even thickness. I like to keep mine thin but some folks like a hearty cookie, do what feels right. Add flour to your work surface and rolling pin as needed to prevent the dough from sticking. Once rolled out use a cookie cutter to cut out as many shapes as can fit into the section of dough. If you don't have a cookie cutter use the opening of a glass to cut round cookies.
I always grab up as much extra dough from around the shapes as I can before trying to get the cookies. Do this slowly and carefully so if it didn't cut all the way through it doesn't tear away at the cookies. Now generally pick up each cookie and place on a cookie sheet. If you rolled them really thin a spatula might make this easier to do. Now skip to step 7 for baking.
Step 6: Pressed Cookie
This is a quick mess free way of doing these cookies. No tools needed. You will need to give the pan a very light spray of non stick spray.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Take small equal sections of dough and roll in to balls. Place on cookie sheet. Using your fingers press down on the ball to flatten it. If you are looking to make these cookies perfect you can use the flat bottom of a cup or glass sprayed with non stick spray. But, when I do these cookies this way I'm looking to avoid more clean up. Now go to step 7 for baking.
Step 7: Baking
Your oven should be heated to 325 degrees.
Place the cookies in the center. You can do two sheets at once. As long as all cookies on each sheet are similar thicknesses.
Now baking times vary slightly based on the thickness of the cookies. Start all cookies in the oven and rotate the pan 180° after 3 minutes. Thinner rolled cookies should need about 2-5 more minutes. No more than 10 minutes total. Thicker rolled and pressed cookies will need 5-8 more minutes no more than 15 total.
To tell if they are done the will get just very slightly golden at the very bottom edges.
Once done take out of the oven and let cool on pan a minute or two. Once cookies are slightly warm to the touch remove from pan and place on a wax paper lined surface.
I always do a test cookie or two to check baking times at the beginning. Bake one or two alone on a sheet in the center watching time closely. Check at the minimum bake time and about every one to two minutes after. Once you think its done take it out and let it cool on the pan than flip it over. the bottom should be somewhere between a light brown to a golden color. If it is to dark cook it for less time. To light cook a bit longer. Now you also have a snack while the others bake.