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Buttery Sugar Cookies

Buttery Sugar Cookies for holiday cookie cutouts

Buttery sugar cookies that are so delicious, no icing is necessary

Buttery Sugar Cookies

By Chef Pharrell Worthylake

Yield: 1 dozen 1/2” thick cookies

Total time: 60 minutes


These buttery sugar cookies are easy to make with your kids. They hold their shape and you can make them as thick or thin as you like. Decorate them before or after you bake them. They will be delicious either way.


1 cup unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 large egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

These buttery sugar cookies are delicious and so easy to make.  They may disappear before you get to decorate them! The texture is soft on the inside and crisp on the crust.  Perfect for using your favorite holiday cookie cutters.

Do not substitute granulated sugar for the powder sugar or your cookies will spread when baked and your trees will look more like footballs.


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cut the unsalted butter into 1 tablespoon slices and let them soften. Place in a deep mixing bowl and beat with powder sugar until smooth and creamy. I find that using a stand mixer is much easier, especially if you wish to double the recipe.  Add the egg and vanilla extract to the butter mixture all at once, beat until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder until well blended. This is an important step, so don’t skip.  Blending the salt and baking powder together with the flour, ensures that they will be well distributed throughout the dough. Your cookies will rise properly and have a nice crumb texture.

Slowly add the flour mixture in thirds to the butter and sugar mixture, scraping the slides with a spatula. When you are finished, the batter should be stiff but workable. It’s best to place the batter in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before you begin to work with it.

When you are ready to start cutting out the cookies, sprinkle more powder sugar on your counter or a clean cutting board in a thin layer. Cover your hands with powder sugar and pat out the dough into a thick layer about a 1/2″ thick. Measure the first one, so you can estimate the rest better. The important thing is to be sure they are all the same thickness. We like ours soft on the inside with a light brown bottom. If you like yours thin and darker brown, pat the dough to a 1/4″ thickness. The great thing about this recipe, is that the dough does not spread when it’s baked so your cookie cut outs will hold their shape no matter how thick they are.

After you cut them out, you can decorate them with sprinkles before you bake them, for a super easy fun holiday treat. They are so delicious, you really don’t need icing. Place them 2” apart on parchment paper. Don’t spray the cookie sheet with cooking spray. The added oil will cause the cookies to spread. The cookies should be far enough apart so they aren’t crowded and can brown on all sides.  Bake them for 8 minutes and check them. If they are light brown around the edges and look dry on the top, remove them from the oven.  Let them sit on the sheet for 10 minutes to set. Remove them from the baking pan, but leave them on the paper until they are completely cool. If you try to remove them before they are cool, they will break easily.

When totally cool, they are ready to enjoy or decorate with your favorite sprinkles or candies.

Store in airtight container for up to a week, or freeze for up to 3 months.

© 2015 Artful Chefs, Inc. Chef Pharrell Worthylake



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