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Ultimate Sugar Cookies
Sugar Cookies Recipe
Grace Parisi / TODAY
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Rating:
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Prep time:
Yield:
About 36 three-inch cookies

Unlike gingerbread cookies, sugar cookies are perfect all year round, so bookmark this recipe for your next baby shower, Halloween, Valentine's day, or my favorite, July 9th, National Sugar Cookie Day!

Cookies, rolled and cut into holiday shapes and festively decorated are essential at the Christmas. These are fantastically delicious and easy to bake. Plus decorating them is a snap.

Choose from three simple decorations: brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar before baking, glaze with white icing (in a squeeze bottle for easy handling) or glaze with a mix of white and colored icings.

Make-Ahead Tip: the cookies can be stored between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container for up to 1 week. 

Ingredients

    • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened (8 ounces)
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 large eggs, separated
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
    • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
    • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
    • Sanding sugar, sprinkles, nonpareils for decorating

Preparation

1. In a standing electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter with the sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg yolks, vanilla and salt and beat until combined. Add the flour and beat on low speed until moistened. Divide the dough into 3 discs, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 350° and line 3 baking sheets with parchment. Working with one disc of dough at a time, on a floured surface, roll the dough ¼-inch thick.

How to Make Sugar Cookies: Stamp out as many cookies as possible from the dough Grace Parisi / TODAY

3. Stamp out as many cookies as possible.

How to Make Sugar Cookies: Transfer the cookies to a baking sheet 1-inch apart Grace Parisi / TODAY

4. Transfer them to a baking sheet 1-inch apart. Gather the scraps and reroll more cookies. Bake the cookies in the center of the oven until lightly browned, 12 to14 minutes. Let cool slightly, then transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough, re rolling the scraps.

How to Decorate Sugar Cookies: Spread the white glaze to cover the cookies and let dry completely Grace Parisi / TODAY

5. Make the glaze: in a bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Add the lemon juice and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Spread the white to cover the cookies and let dry completely.

How to Decorate Sugar Cookies: Transfer the white glaze to glaze to a piping bag or squeeze bottle with a tiny tip and pipe designs all over the cookies Grace Parisi / TODAY

6. Transfer the remaining glaze to a piping bag or squeeze bottle with a tiny tip and pipe designs all over the cookies. Sprinkle with sanding sugar. Let dry completely, then transfer to platters to serve.

How to Decorate Sugar Cookies for Christmas Grace Parisi / TODAY

Alternative decorations:

• Lightly brush the unbaked cookies with a mixture of 2 egg yolks combined with 2 tablespoons of water. Let dry slightly, then sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake as directed above.

• Divide the glaze into bowls and add food coloring to each. Glaze the cookies with one solid color then pipe dots or lines onto the wet glaze. Let dry completely.

Grace Parisi is a New York City-based food writer, cookbook author and food stylist. Her book, Get Saucy, was nominated for a James Beard award. Her latest book, Quick Pickles comes out in Spring 2016. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

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