Why should we make iced cookies only at holiday time? This unfussy, soft-centered sugar cookie is nice enough to eat as is or decorate to your heart's content -- any time of year.
Make Ahead: The authors recommend chilling the dough for 30 minutes, but honestly, the dough is firm enough to cut out and bake right away. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 10 days.
Servings: 15 large or 30 small cookies
- For the cookies
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at a cool room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- For the icing (optional)
- Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon (3 to 4 tablespoons), or more as needed
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar, or more as needed
For the cookies: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
Combine the sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer; beat on low speed to combine, then on medium-high speed until well incorporated.
Reduce the speed to low; add the vanilla extract and egg; beat to incorporate (the mixture will look loose), then gradually add the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar to form a smooth, soft dough.
Shape the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to ensure easy handling.
Divide the dough ball in half, keeping one half covered while working with the other. Place the dough half between 2 large pieces of plastic wrap and roll out to a thickness of 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Use large or small cookie cutters, rerolling the dough as needed. Arrange the cookies on the lined baking sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart. Repeat with the other dough half.
Bake one sheet at a time for 8 to 10 minutes, until the cookie edges are just beginning to brown. Let the cookies sit on the baking sheet for 2 or 3 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the optional icing: Whisk the lemon juice into the confectioners' sugar (in a bowl) until smooth and just thick. Use a small silicone brush or a clean finger to spread a thin layer of icing on each cooled cookie. Let them sit for at least 30 minutes before serving or storing.
Adapted from "Bite Me: A Stomach-Satisfying, Visually Gratifying, Fresh-Mouthed Cookbook," by Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat (Kyle, 2010).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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