Sugar Cookies

from: Martha Stewart Living December 1992

Makes about 2 dozen 4-inch cookies


  • 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.
  2. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Divide dough into quarters; flatten each quarter into a disk. Wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees with racks in upper and lower thirds. Let one disk of dough stand at room temperature just until soft enough to roll, about 10 minutes. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness and cut out cookies with a 4-to-5-inch cookie cutter. Transfer the shapes to baking sheets lined with nonstick baking mats.
  4. Bake, switching positions of sheets and rotating halfway through, until edges turn golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

Royal Icing


  • 2 large egg white
  • 3 1/2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • juice from one lemon


  1. Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry.  Add the sugar and lemon juice.  Add water if it is too think, more sugar if too thin.

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