I was recently rummaging through some of my old cooking books and came across this sugar cookie recipe.
This has to be one of the best sugar cookie recipes ever. Don't be put off by the large amount of butter, certainly more than you usually find in more modern recipes. These cookies are absolutely delicious.
The secret to their success is to work with chilled dough. Because of the high butter content the dough can be sticky, but once baked they have a beautiful flavor.
I have to confess I was not a huge sugar cookie fan, but after tasting these I am now a sugar cookie enthusiast.
Beat the butter in a large bowl until it has considerably lightened in color. Gradually add the sugar, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until the sugar has dissolved. Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract. The mixture should be pale and fluffy.
Sift the flour and salt together and add to the butter mixture. You can stir by hand with a wooden spoon or beat with an electric mixer on low speed. Mix until just blended.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and gently knead it into a smooth rounded ball. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and flatten into disks. Wrap each disk with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets or line with baking paper.
Remove the dough from the fridge. As you work with one disk, leave the others chilling in the fridge. Roll out each portion of dough to a thickness of 1/8 - ¼ inch (3 - 6 mm).
Cut out cookie shapes using a cookie cutter. Try to get as many shapes as possible from the first roll. Repeat with remaining dough. Gather all the remaining dough and re-roll.
Arrange on the cookie trays leaving about an inch of space between each cookie. Bake in the oven for about 10 - 12 minutes or until golden.
Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool slightly on the trays before transferring them to wire racks with a spatula.
Allow to cool completely before decorating.
If using regular sized cookie cutters, this best sugar cookie recipe should yield about 3 dozen cookies.
If incorporating the flour and butter with an electric mixer, use your paddle attachment.
This dough can be made the day before and left in the refrigerator before baking.
After removing the dough from the fridge let it sit for about 15 minutes or until it is soft enough to roll.
If you find the dough is too sticky roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper.
Because of the high butter content you will need to work with chilled dough. If it becomes too soft to work re-chill for a few minutes.
If using an intricately shaped cookie cutter, chill the cut out cookies in the fridge for 15 - 30 minutes before baking. This will ensure they keep their shape.
To make chocolate sugar cookies, reduce the amount of flour to 1 ¾ cups and add ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder.
Some more delicious sugar cookie recipes