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Author Notes: Here's a vanilla cookie (plus a chocolate variation) for all of your holiday cookie-decorating needs. These cookies are buttery and chewy and can be flavored with anything from spices to coffee to citrus zest -- or even a little booze. —Erin McDowell
Makes about 2 dozen cookies
- 3 1/4 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour (or 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup cocoa powder, for chocolate cookies)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch ground cinnamon
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup (6 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (8 ounces) dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or white chocolate chips (or the equivalent in bars, roughly chopped), optional
- sprinkles, crushed candy canes, flaky sea salt, crushed nuts, chili pepper, shredded coconut, optional
- In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon to combine.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine, scraping well after everything is incorporated.
- Add the flour mixture all at once (unless your mixer physically can’t handle that), and pulse the mixer a few times to avoid a floury cloud from poofing up out of the mixing bowl. Mix on low speed just until the flour is incorporated, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Form the dough into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/2-inch thick. Cut the dough using your favorite cookie cutter and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake until the cookies are lightly golden around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. For even baking, rotate the pan halfway through baking. Transfer the baked cookies to a cooling rack and cool completely before decorating or serving.
- If you're dipping the cookies in chocolate, melt your chocolate of choice over a double boiler or in the microwave in increments of 10-20 seconds until melted. Dip the cookies half in the chocolate, sprinkle with desired toppings, and lay on wax paper until cool.
- NOTE: To make chocolate sugar cookies, reduce the flour to 2 3/4 cups and add 1/2 cup cocoa powder. To make marbled cookies, make one batch of vanilla dough and one batch of chocolate dough and mix to desired ratio.
- This recipe is a Community Pick!