Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

Erin McDowell

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been personally victimized by an iced sugar cookie. Us too. So often, they’re utterly gorgeous but taste like cardboard. So instead of treating this year’s cookies like a vehicle for icing, make our recipe for cut-out sugar cookies. These treats are buttery, easy to make and if we’re being honest, delicious even without the decorations.

Brown Sugar Cookies with Dulce de Leche


3 cups all-purpose flour

1¾ teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of fine sea salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

¾ teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Sift the flour into a medium bowl. Add the baking powder and salt, then whisk gently to combine.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix well to combine. Scrape the side of the bowl to make sure all the ingredients are evenly incorporated into the mixture.

3. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until the dough comes together. Form the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to ½ inch thick. Cut the dough using your favorite cookie cutters, then transfer the cookies to an ungreased baking sheet. (You can gently reroll the scraps once, but the batch may not be as pristine.)

5. Bake until the cookies are lightly golden around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. For even baking, rotate the pan halfway through baking. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack, and cool completely before decorating or serving.

Erin McDowell

Freelance Food Editor

Erin Jeanne McDowell is a recipe developer, food stylist and author of multiple cookbooks, including The Fearless Baker, which was named one of the Best Baking Books of 2017 by...
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