Sugar cookies

This makes enough dough to keep your kids occupied for awhile, should be easy enough for them to work without frustration, but still tastes good. For variations on the spice, see my historical flavor suggestions.

    • 4 cups flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon cardamom
    • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
    • ½ teaspoon salt

    Whisk together.

    • ¾ pound (1½ cup) butter, softened
    • 1⅓ cup white sugar
    • 1–2 tablespoons brown sugar

    Cream together until fluffy.

    • 2 eggs
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla

    Beat the eggs in one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.

    • 1 tablespoon milk, as needed

    Stir in the flour mixture. If the dough is dry, add a tablespoon or so of milk.

  1. Chill the dough for at least a couple of hours, then roll, shape, and decorate, as they used to say, “to your fancy.”

    Bake at 375°F; how long will depend on thickness, but 8 to 10 minutes for ¼-inch-thick cookies should be about right.

What to look for

The dough, at room temperature, should be soft and pliable, not stiff but also not greasy or sticky like drop cookie dough. Too soft a dough will be hard to roll, even cold, so add another couple tablespoons of flour. If the dough is too stiff or crumbly, add dribbles of milk.

Baking time is really a matter of personal preference. I like them barely brown at the edges and still a bit soft in the middle so that they aren’t rock-hard, but some people prefer them brown and crisp. And if you roll them very thin, you may want to turn the oven up to 400°, since they’ll bake more quickly.

Variations

  • Spiced sugar cookies: With the cardamom and nutmeg, add 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, and ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves.