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Place the baking rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, sift together (or stir with a whisk to combine) dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, add the sugar and butter. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the sugar and butter until the mixture is fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula when necessary. The mixture should resemble coarse, moist sand.
Add the egg and vanilla extract to the sugar and butter mixture from step 3. With the mixer on low speed, beat to combine until the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the dry ingredients from step 2 to the wet ingredients and beat with the electric mixer on low speed until the mixture is just combined, about 1 minute. Do not overbeat. For slice-and-bake cookies, go to step 6. For rolled cut-out cookies, go to step 7.
For slice-and-bake cookies, roll the dough into a log, about 2 inches by 12 inches. Wrap tightly with Saran™ Premium Wrap and chill for at least 1 hour. When the dough is completely chilled, remove the wrap and cut into 1/4-inch slices. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle the cookies with additional sugar, raw sugar or decorating sugar if desired.
Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until the edges of the cookies just begin to turn very light brown. If you are baking two cookie sheets at the same time, switch the top and bottom sheets halfway through baking.
Remove cookie sheet from the oven and place it on a cooling rack for 1 minute. Using a flat spatula, transfer the cookies to the cooling rack to cool completely before storing them.
The baked cookies can be stored in a large Ziploc® Brand container at room temperature for up to a week, or placed in Ziploc® Brand Freezer Bags and frozen for up to 1 month.
For rolled cut-out cookies, divide the dough in half. Wrap each half in Saran™ Premium Wrap, press into 6-inch round flat disks and chill for at least 1 hour. When the dough is chilled, remove it from wrap, place it on a smooth, lightly floured surface, and use a rolling pin to roll it out to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters and use a flat spatula to transfer them to an ungreased cookie sheet, placing each about 2 inches apart. Combine and roll out the leftover dough and continue cutting out cookie shapes to place on ungreased cookie sheets. Then follow the decorating and baking directions in step 6.
To enhance flavor and create even better texture, try vacuum sealing your cookie dough and letting it rest for 24 to 36 hours.
The same amounts of margarine, shortening or butter-flavored shortening can be substituted for the butter.
Raw cookie dough, wrapped in Saran™ Premium Wrap, can be frozen for up to 1 month or refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Sliced sugar cookies can also be rolled into a ball and baked for 14 to 16 minutes. Halfway through baking, flatten them with a spatula. When the cookies are completely cooled, dust them with powdered sugar.
When baking multiple batches of cookies, completely cool the cookie sheet by rinsing it with cold water and drying it before placing the next batch of cookies on the sheet.
Roll the cookie dough on a chilled sheet to keep it from getting too soft while rolling cut-out cookies. If the dough does get too soft, wrap it in Saran™ Premium Wrap and place it in the freezer for 5 minutes to rechill and firm