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I've never met a sugar cookie I didn't like. It's hard to go wrong with such a simple, classic recipe.
Instead of wasting an hour Googling "best sugar cookie" or "best roll-out sugar cookie" or "best cut-out cookie", make these. The recipe comes from a Canadian cornstarch package, and it's a little different from your average sugar cookie.
For starters, you only need four ingredients (cornstarch, powdered sugar, flour, and butter). The cornstarch makes the dough silky and smooth. Be sure to chill the dough briefly before rolling them out—it's a very soft and slightly sticky dough and this will make it easier.
Once baked, the cookies combine the buttery quality of shortbread with the delicate sweetness and crunch of a classic sugar cookie. On their own, they're plain and simple: the perfect blank canvas for decorating with royal icing or sprinkles.
But if you don't plan to decorate them, I recommend stirring in some add-ins to make the cookies a bit more exciting. My favorite versions are vanilla and crunchy almond. To make the vanilla version, mix in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla paste or vanilla extract. (I like vanilla paste because it adds gorgeous flecks of vanilla bean to the dough). To make the almond version, add 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract and 1/2 cup of crisp rice cereal.
Any flavor extract will work (lemon, anise, or rum would all be nice). You could dust the cookies in cinnamon sugar, or add toasted chopped nuts to the dough. You could leave them plain and dip the finished cookies in melted chocolate.
Whatever you do, don't leave them sitting out on your kitchen counter within easy reach while you wrap your gifts. They are irresistibly good, and you'll find yourself reaching for another (and another and another) until—Christmas miracle!—they are gone.
Adapted from Fleishmann's Canada
Makes 30 small cookies
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 cup all-purpose flour
Photos by Posie Harwood