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This recipe is part of Alice Medrich's Cookies and Brownies.

Vanilla Sugar Cookies

Vanilla Sugar Cookies

The vanilla sugar cookie recipe from Cookies and Brownies is a cookie standard – and heavy on the vanilla flavor. This is a fun, flexible cookie that cuts well, maintains its shape, and is great to decorate with all sorts of things.

Because of its delicate nature, it is essential to use a good-quality vanilla and to handle the cookies with care so they don’t toughen up. Roll the dough between sheets of parchment or wax paper so you don’t add flour to the dough while rolling.

A few notes about this recipe:

  • No spread at all – these maintain their shape very well.
  • These are a crunchy, crispy cookies with a tender middle. If you sandwich cookies using this dough, they will soften depending on the filling you use.
  • Assumed 1 cup flour = 5 oz
  • Rested the dough 24 hours before rolling between parchment

Vanilla Sugar Cookie
3 3/4 c AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
16 T unsalted butter, slightly softened
2 c sugar
2 large egs
1 T vanilla extract

2 cookie sheets, lined with foil or greased

  1. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and mix together thoroughly with a whisk or fork. Set aside.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 3 – 4 minutes.
  3. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
  4. On low speed, beat in the flour just until incorporated.
  5. Scrape the dough into a mass and knead it with your hands a few times until smooth.
  6. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and form each into a flat patty.
  7. Wrap and refrigerate the patties until firm enough to roll, preferably several hours or overnight.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350. Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
  9. To roll and cut cookies, remove 1 patty from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature until supple enough to roll but still quite firm. It will continue to soften as you work.
  10. Roll the dough between two pieces of wax paper or between heavy plastic sheets from a plastic bag to the thickness of 1/8”.
  11. Turn the dough over once or twice while you are rolling it out to check for deep wrinkles; if necessary, peel off and smooth the paper over the dough before continuing to roll it.
  12. When the dough is thin enough, peel off the top sheet of paper or plastic and keep it in front of you.
  13. Invert the dough onto that sheet and peel off the second sheet.
  14. Cut cookie shapes as close together as possible to minimize scraps, dipping the edges of cookie cutters in flour as necessary to prevent sticking.
  15. Use the point of a paring knife to lift and remove scraps as you transfer cookies to cookie sheets.
  16. Place cookies at least 1 1/2” apart on the cookie sheets.
  17. If the dough gets too soft at any time – while rolling, cutting, removing scraps between cookies, or transferring cookies – slide a cookie sheet underneath the paper or plastic and refrigerate the dough for a few minutes until firm.
  18. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
  19. Press all of the dough scraps together gently (don’t overwork them with too much kneading), and re-roll.
  20. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, or until pale golden at the edges, rotating the cookie sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking.
  21. Repeat until all the cookies are baked.
  22. Slide parchment lines onto cooling racks or transfer the cookies directly from the pan to the rack with a metal pancake turner, waiting 1 or 2 minutes if necessary to let cookies firm up before moving them. Cool cookies completely before stacking, decorating, or storing.

Makes about 90 21/2” cookies or 55 3 1/2” cookies

May be kept, airtight, for at least 1 month.

This recipe comes from Alice Medrich's Cookies and Brownies, and is available on Purple House Dirt with permission from the author.


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