Classic Sugar Cookies

Classic Sugar CookiesThere are some desserts that are classically All-American. Pie, s’mores, and sugar cookies. I’ve been meaning to share this recipe for sugar cookies for a while, and I mean awhile because the draft has been saved for probably over a year. I actually make these often, so it’s not like I didn’t have a reason to, it’s that almost every time I make a batch of them, it’s for orders and often times when I’m done decorating them, it’s nighttime and lighting isn’t right for photographs. Seeing as I’m leaving for three weeks, I noticed I had some leftover dough frozen from last month, and I knew I needed to quickly bake up a batch to leave behind for 4th of July festivities. Classic Sugar CookiesAvid bakers and cooks, have their favorite recipes that become their go-to’s and this sugar cookie recipe is just that for me. It’s one I’ve used for years now, and it’s become a favorite. Contrary to drop sugar cookies, which of course are much easier, this recipe is simple but does require some patience and time. From experience, if you’re using intricate cookie cutter shapes, it’s important to properly chill the dough at least two hours before rolling, and then again once the shapes are cut out. After all you’re putting in the effort to create pretty and fun cookies, so you wouldn’t want them to lose their shape once baked. I often put my cookie trays in the freezer at least 5 minutes, they firm up much quicker.

Classic Sugar CookiesThese sugar cookies are soft and chewy, because that’s how I like them. And that’s how almost everyone I know likes them, well except for J. I mean really, who likes hard crispy sugar cookies?! I do this especially for orders too, thick soft sugar cookies are much more of a crowd pleaser, plus thinner cookies have a bigger risk of burning much quicker when baking. Classic sugar cookies can be decorated with royal icing once baked and cooled, which is my recommendation for intricate designs. They become works of art as favors or dessert at a themed party. But the simpler way of decorating them is with colored sugars sprinkled before baking.

Classic Sugar Cookies Classic Sugar CookiesI had no reason to spend a day making and coloring royal icing, and precisely creating images onto these cookies, so I choose to use colored sugar and sprinkles to create festive 4th of July flag cookies. Although, not the most beautiful looking cookies, they are just delicious and fun! This would be a fun thing to with kids. They’ll definitely have enjoy themselves being creative with the colorful sprinkles. I guess you could say I was channeling my inner kid making these cookies, after all there is something nostalgic about eating a classic sugar cookie.

Classic Sugar Cookies Classic Sugar CookiesThese taste amazing as a base for ice cream sandwiches or s’mores too! Leave out the royal icing, and lightly sprinkle the tops with sugar if you’re using them for one of these dessert ideas. 
Classic Sugar CookiesSugar cookies are simple and definitely delicious to serve at a 4th of July barbecue or any other outdoor summer gathering, or really for any reason at all!Classic Sugar Cookies

Classic Sugar Cookies

Ingredients {Makes about 3 dozen}

4 sticks – Unsalted Butter {room temperature}

3 cups – Granulated Sugar

2 large – Eggs

1 teaspoon – Pure Vanilla Extract

1 1/2 teaspoons – Salt

5 cups – All Purpose Flour {You can also use 2 1/2 cups All Purpose flour + 2 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour}

Royal Icing for decorating, optional

Colored Sugars or Sprinkles for decorating, optional 

Recipe {Adapted from Martha Stewart}

In the bowl of an electric mixer, with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy {about 4 minutes}. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, then add in the vanilla and salt. Mix until combined. With the mixer on low, slowly incorporate the flour in two to three batches, mixing just until incorporated.

Place dough onto a lightly floured surface, divide in half, flatten each into rounds, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Pre-heat oven to 350*F, and line baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one piece of dough to 1/4″ thickness. Cut out shapes with cutters, and transfer to prepared sheets about 2″ apart. Repeat until your dough is used up, or refrigerate leftover dough wrapped very well in plastic, up to a week, or freeze. Chill cut-out shapes for 15 minutes, or until firm.

If decorating with sprinkles or sanding sugar, sprinkle the tops of cookies before baking. Bake cookies, rotating pans halfway, until slightly golden around edges and firm to touch {about 15 minutes – If you prefer a crisper cookie bake an additional 2 minutes}. Cool cookies completely on a cooling rack. Decorate completed cooled cookies with icing as desired. Allow icing to dry completely before storing in an airtight container, layered between sheets of wax paper or parchment for up to 3 days.

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