Toothsome Images / Holiday Recipe: The Best Sugar Cookies


I know this is a big statement, but these are the best sugar cookies I have ever tasted. The touch of sour cream in the dough provides the ideal balance, ensuring a fine-textured crumb and imparting a slight tang to the sweet and buttery flavor. Cut shapes using your favorite holiday cookie cutters, or drop the dough by the teaspoonfuls onto the baking sheets and use the bottom of a juice glass to press out rounds.

Makes about 6 dozen 2-inch-round cookies

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for dusting
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pearl sugar, sparkling white sugar, or sparkling colored sugar for sprinkles

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg, sour cream, and vanilla and beat on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute. (The mixture will look grainy.) Add 1 cup of the flour mixture and mix on low speed just until the flour disappears. Mix in the remaining flour mixture 1 cup at a time, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice with a spatula. Do not overmix.

Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a thick disk about 6 inches in diameter. Tightly wrap each disk in a plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, at least two hours. (The dough can be made up to 2 days in advance.)

Remove the dough from the refrigerator 20 minutes before rolling and shaping the cookies. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or use nonstick baking sheets. Lightly dust a work surface with flour and granulated sugar. Roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick. Using your favorite cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as possible. Arrange the cookies on the baking sheet, spacing them about one inch apart. Gather up the scraps and repeat. Sprinkle the cookies with decorating sugar. Refrigerate the baking sheets for 1 hour.

Position one rack in the center and another rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the cookies until firm but not brown, 10-12 minutes, switching the pans between the racks. The cookies should be lightly golden on the bottom but not have browning on the edges. Let the cookies cool on the pans on wire racks for 5 minutes, then transfer to the racks and let cool completely.

Posted By: AP Studios
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