The sugar cookie is often viewed as ‘basic’ or ‘simple,’ but let me tell you – this is far from true. To make a sugar cookie shimmer with a sugar dusting is to make a sweet work of art.
This recipe is an equal balance of butter and sugar: that’s the secret to a perfect sugar cookie. Cream the butter/sugar mixture well before adding any other ingredients, which means beating on high for 5 minutes. Don’t skimp on the time! You want the mixture pale yellow and fluffy. Then add eggs and vanilla.
Sift all dry ingredients before adding them to the wet ingredients. This is important for crispiness. Measure first, then sift. An easy method for sifting is to use a wire colander over a big bowl. Gently tap the colander to get your dry mixture through.
Do not over beat the dough.
Fill a small bowl with sugar (I used large crystals with this batch, but regular small-crystal sugar is lovely too), form the dough into equal-sized balls, then gently roll them around in the sugar. Shake off any excess.
To get the ‘snowflake’ effect seen in the picture, press each sugar-rolled ball with the bottom of a crystal glass, or any glass with a pattern on the bottom. Be sure to chill your dough well beforehand or it will stick to the glass’s bottom!
If you don’t have a patterned glass bottom, no worries – a simple flat-bottomed glass will create perfectly sized, snow-sparkly cookies.
This recipe is NOT for cutting into shapes — it’s too delicate!
Do not over-bake. The moment the edges look slightly golden, remove the cookie sheet and let them cool on the cookie sheet before removing.
One last note – to get the snow-white look, you must use an ultra-white flour, such as White Lily. Use the all-purpose variety, not self-rising.
3 cups all-purpose flour, measured then sifted
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. fine salt
3 sticks salted butter, softened (1 ½ cups)
½ cup sugar, plus extra for rolling
2 large eggs
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper, or silicone mats.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
Place the softened butter and sugar in a bowl. Cream butter and sugar together on high for 5 minutes until mixture is light and fluffy. Turn mixer to low and add eggs and vanilla, scraping the sides of the bowl so all is mixed.
With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture. Scrape the bowl and beat again for 30 seconds, no more.
Chill dough for 1 hour.
Pour decorating sugar into a small bowl to roll the dough in to cover.
Scoop the dough and gently roll into 1-inch balls. Shake each ball in the sugar bowl to coat, then place on the lined cookie-sheet 2 inches apart. Use the patterned bottom of a glass to gently press each ball, until it’s 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick.
Bake each sheet of cookies for 9 to 10 minutes, until the edges are slightly golden and the centers are just barely set. Don’t brown. Cool on the cookie sheets.