This recipe differs slightly from the one I use for my current orders (I have developed my own over time!), but this is a great basic sugar cookie recipe. The cookies have a nice flavour and hold their shape well.
Yield: Approximately 2 dozen, 3″ cookies
2 cups unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs (room temperature)
3 tsp vanilla extract
5 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1) In a separate bowl, combine the flour and salt. Use a whisk to gently mix, ensuring the salt is well-incorporated with the flour.
2) Using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer on low to medium speed. Mix until thoroughly incorporated (about 1 - 2 minutes), making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula periodically.
3) Add eggs and vanilla extract. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula and mix again for a few seconds more.
4) Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl. (You can place a large, damp tea towel between the edge of the bowl and the electric mixer so that the flour won't escape). Mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Remove towels to observe dough mixing; combine until just incorporated, mixing again on low for 5-second intervals if necessary. Careful not to over mix the dough, as that will make for misshapen cookies and a tough bite. When the dough clumps around the paddle attachment, it's ready!
5) Separate the dough into 2 - 4 discs, and wrap tightly in saran wrap. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Remove from fridge 30 - 60 minutes before rolling out (it should still be cold but medium-firm to the touch.
6) Roll the dough out to approximately 1/4" thickness. Cut out shapes, place on a baking sheet and into the freezer for 15 minutes prior to baking.
7) Pre-heat oven to 350°F .
8) Bake cookies for 8 - 12 minutes, or until the edges become lightly brown. Baking time will vary depending on your oven and the size of your cookies.
9) Remove cookies from the oven and let cool to room temperature on a cooling rack. Let sit for a few hours prior to decorating with royal icing.