Sugar cookies fascinate me. There are so many variations of this simple cookie and the slightest variation can yield big differences in texture and taste. This recipe has been my favorite for many years. I often try others to see if I like them better but I always come back to these. The texture is difficult to describe and how thickly or thinly they’re rolled has a lot to do with the texture. My description would be soft but crisp.
A helpful tip I learned this year. Roll out the dough between layers of waxed paper, and then chill the dough flat on a cookie sheet in the refrigerator. It makes the rolling and clean up so much easier. Forever more I will roll out the cookie dough using this method. It was so much easier and much less messy.
My son, the college freshman helped decorate these. He looks forward to this tradition, and I love to have his help in the kitchen.
We love the almond flavoring, but understand that not everyone likes it the way we do. You could just go with the vanilla, or you could zest some lemon in place of the almond.
Roll Out Sugar Cookies
1 c. butter
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. almond extract (optional)
2 1/2 c. flour
1 t. cream of tartar
1 t. soda
Whisk together the flour, cream of tartar and soda. Set aside. Cream together the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. Add the egg and blend completely. Mix in the vanilla, and almond. To roll the traditional way, chill the dough for four hours. Divide the dough into four pieces and roll out one piece at a time. To flour your board use a mixture of 1/2 c. flour and 1/2 c. powdered sugar, using only the amount you need to keep the dough from sticking to your board or rolling pin. Cut out with decorative cookie cutters.
For the tidy, easy method of rolling follow these directions. Immediately after mixing the dough together divide it into four pieces. Place one piece of dough between two layers of waxed paper and roll. Repeat with other three pieces. Leave the dough between the pieces of waxed paper and stack them on a cookie sheet. Refrigerate until firm. When the dough is firm remove the waxed paper and cut out the dough with decorative cookie cutters.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Cool completely before icing.