Soft, sturdy, flavorful sugar cookies that work every time, even in a warm kitchen.
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1–1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon lemon extract
Sift flour and salt together into a small mixing bowl and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar on medium high for about five minutes. Your butter mixture will become very pale and fluffy.
Add in the egg and beat until combined.
Turn your mixer as low as it will go and slowly add the flour, mixing until thoroughly combined. Mix in the vanilla and lemon extracts and crank your mixer up to medium for about 10 seconds to make sure everything is well blended.
Carefully dump your dough out onto a large sheet of plastic wrap and press it together into a ball. Flatten the ball into a disk, cover completely and put the dough into the fridge for at least 45 minutes.
Clear a space in your kitchen to roll out your dough. I have a baking mat that I then cover with parchment. Unwrap your chilled dough and place it on the parchment, then put another sheet of parchment on top. Scour your house for two objects that are the same thickness, preferably between 1/4 and 1/2 inch. I used two cutting boards. Places them on either side of the dough about as far apart as the span of your rolling pin. These will be your guides to make sure your dough is rolled to an even thickness. With the parchment paper over the top, roll your cookie dough until it’s even with your guides. Slide something stiff under your rolled out dough, and transport it back to the refrigerator to chill for another 15 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 325.
Remove your rolled dough from the fridge, cut the shapes you want, place the cut dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, and then put the cookie sheet in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Bake your cookies for 12 to 15 minutes. They’ll still be quite pale, but you want them to set enough that they won’t crumble when you try to frost them.
Let the cookies cool on the pan for another 10 minutes, then remove them to wire racks to cool completely before decorating. Or not. They’re totally awesome eaten plain.
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