Sugar cookies



15 min


5 dozen

Sugar cookies

Brown sugar shortbread cookie. (Photo, Sian Richards.)


  • 5 to 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter , at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tsp vanilla


  • In a large bowl, using a fork, stir 5 cups flour with baking powder and salt. In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter with sugar on medium-high until well mixed, at least 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down side of bowl as necessary. Then beat in vanilla just until well mixed. Using a spoon, gradually stir in flour mixture just until mixed. Overmixing will toughen cookies. Then, if dough is too sticky to form into a ball, stir in remaining 1/2 cup flour, 2 tbsp at a time, until dough is soft but not sticky. You may not need all of flour. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Form each into a ball, then flatten each slightly into a disc. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or up to 3 days. Or freeze up to 1 month.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375F. Lightly spray or oil 2 baking sheets or line with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough no thicker than 1/4-in. Cut out shapes. (See below for decorating variations.) Place on baking sheets about 2 in. apart. Bake in centre of preheated 375F oven, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookie edges are lightly golden, 8 to 10 minutes depending on thickness. Remove from oven. Let cool on wire racks. Store in an airtight container in a cool place or in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.


Baking School: How to cream butter

Nutrition (per serving)

  • Calories
  • 101,
  • Protein
  • 1.4 g,
  • Carbohydrates
  • 14.8 g,
  • Fat
  • 4.1 g,
  • Fibre
  • 0.3 g,
  • Sodium
  • 64 mg.


Lemon Drizzle: On the day of serving, stir 1 cup icing sugar with 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice. Mixture should be thick enough to coat a spoon yet thin enough to drizzle. Thin with a few more drops lemon juice, if needed. Place baked cookies on a rack over waxed paper. Dip tines of a fork in lemon drizzle. Move fork back and forth over cookies to create a zigzag pattern.

Colourful Sugar: Place dough cut-outs on baking sheets. Brush with water. Sprinkle with coloured sugar or decorate with silver balls. Bake.

Double Sugar Cookies: Before baking cookies, brush with water, then sprinkle with granulated or coarse sugar.

Chocolate Drizzle: Drizzle baked cookies with melted white and/or dark chocolate.

Sugar Cookie Star and Jam: Cut out large stars or rounds and place on an oiled baking sheet. Cut out a small star or round from centre of half of cookies. Remove cut-out pieces. Save for re-rolling. If you want a sparkly sugar coating on cut-out cookies, lightly brush with water, then generously sprinkle with granulated or coarse sugar. Or leave cookies plain to decorate later. Bake cookies as above. Cut-out cookies will need slightly less baking time. Let cookies cool. On the day you serve cookies, lightly spread whole cookies with apricot or seedless raspberry jam or a thin icing. Cover with cut-out cookie tops. To dress up plain cookie tops, lightly dust with icing sugar or drizzle with icing just before placing on jam-covered bottoms.