Everyone loves a basic sugar cookie.  You really can’t go wrong. Sugar cookies are versatile and they’re easy to make into something special. As much as I loved all the fun and new recipes at Christmas, as a child I liked the basics. When it came to the cookie platter, I’d go for the sugar cookie almost every time.

Sugar cookies need to stand alone. They should be perfectly crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle. Add a little tang or vanilla punch and that’s a good place to start. These simple cookies have been my go-to cookie because you can add some different spices or flavoring to make the cookies unique such as lemon zest, cinnamon, coconut, cream of tartar, or almond flavoring. You can even add chocolate chips. 

This is the recipe I use for Snickerdoodles and for a summer frosted lemon cookie. I also love dressing them up with some colored sprinkles. Make them your own by experimenting and see what your family prefers. 

Happy cookie baking!

Simply Perfect Sugar Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup shortening

1-3/4 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 Tbsp. vanilla

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cream of tartar

3/4 tsp salt

Plus 1/3 cup sugar for finishing

Optional additions:

Snickerdoodles: increase cream of tartar to 2 tsp. and add 2 tsp cinnamon to the finishing sugar 

Lemon cookies: add 1 Tbsp. lemon zest and 1 tsp cream of tartar

Chocolate chip cookies: omit 1/2 cup of sugar and replace with 1/2 brown sugar; omit the cream of tartar and add 1-1/2 cups chocolate chips

Cherry cookies: add 1/2 tsp red food coloring and 1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries

Preheat oven to 375º. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 

In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. 

In another large bowl, mix butter and shortening. Add sugar and beat until creamy; about 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients just until combined. 

Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in finishing sugar. Space cookies 3 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 9-10 minutes until slightly golden brown on the edges. Transfer to cooling rack. Cool completely and store in an air-tight container. 

Lisa Erickson is a food columnist who loves adventure and food. You can find more recipes at www.wild-chow.com or email her at wildchowrecipes@gmail.com.


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