Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies


2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1–2 tablespoons water
Decorative sprinkles (your choice, optional)


In the bowl of a standing mixer (or in a large bowl, if using a hand-held mixer), cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat 1 minute. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients, and stir just enough to form a smooth dough.

Turn the dough out onto a counter lightly dusted with flour and divide into two equal portions. Gather each portion into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight.

Preheat your oven to 350° and position the racks in the middle. Grease two cookie (baking) sheets or line with parchment paper. Roll the dough out on a counter dusted with flour to a ⅛-inch thickness and cut out shapes with your favorite cookie cutters, gathering and rerolling the dough as needed.

Bake until just golden brown on the bottom, 12 to 15 minutes, rotating pans halfway through; then cool on wire racks.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar and water. When cookies are cool, spread with glaze; then sprinkle with decorative sugar.


about 4 dozen cookies

Preparation Time

45 Minutes

Total Time

90 Minutes

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