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These are hands-down the best sugar cookies I've ever made or had. The recipe is from Williams-Sonoma.


  • 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.

Categories: Cookies  Dessert 

Author Credit: Williams-Sonoma

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