- Cooking Time:
- Preparation Time:
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 piece vanilla bean, about 2 inches long (I use 1 Tbs. vanilla bean paste)
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Colored sugars, decorating pens, etc.
- In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
- Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and, using a small, sharp knife, scrape the seeds into the butter mixture. (Or add vanilla bean paste here, if using.) Mix well.
- In a sifter, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Sift the flour mixture directly onto the butter mixture.
- Reduce the speed to low and beat until well mixed.
- Divide the dough into 4 equal portions.
- Shape each portion into a ball, then flatten the balls into disks.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (The dough can be prepared up to 3 days ahead.) Let it soften slightly at room temperature before continuing.
- Position a rack in the upper third of an oven and preheat to 350°F.
- Butter 2 large baking sheets. (I just line the baking sheets with parchment paper instead.)
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out a dough disk 1/4 inch thick.
- Using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes. Transfer the cutouts to the prepared baking sheets.
- Gather up and reroll the scraps and cut out more cookies.
- Repeat with the remaining dough disks.
- If using colored sugars to decorate the cookies, sprinkle on the sugars BEFORE baking.
- Bake until the cookies are golden on the edges, about 8 minutes.
- Transfer the cookies to wire racks and let cool completely.
- Decorate the cookies with royal icing, decorating pens, etc.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. Makes 24 to 30 cookies, depending on cutter size.
NotesThese are hands-down the best sugar cookies I've ever made or had. The recipe is from Williams-Sonoma.
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