Basic sugar cookie: makes 2 dozen
- Using a mixer, cream together 1 cup softened unsalted butter, a pinch of salt, and ¾ cup powdered sugar.
- Add 2 egg yolks, one at a time, and mix until creamy. Gradually add 2¼ cups flour, and mix just until a smooth dough comes together.
- If making one of the variations below, add ingredients to the dough. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill at least an hour or up to overnight.
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Lightly sprinkle work surface and dough with powdered sugar to keep it from sticking to the counter or rolling pin.
- Roll out the dough to a thickness of ? inch and cut out cookies using a 2-inch circle cutter.
- Place cookies on sheets and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until set but still pale in color.
Maple: Add 2 tsp maple extract to the dough. Sprinkle cookies with raw (turbinado) sugar before baking.
Cranberries and Dark Chocolate: Add 1 cup dried cranberries . When cool, dip half of cookie into melted chocolate chips.
Vanilla: Add 2 tsp vanilla-bean paste or vanilla extract . Sprinkle cookies with vanilla sugar before baking.
Lemon: Add 2 tsp fresh lemon juice and 2 tsp minced lemon zest . Sprinkle cookies with sparkling sugar before baking.
Ginger: Add 2 tsp ground ginger and ½ tsp cinnamon. Sprinkle cookies with cinnamon sugar before baking.
Apricots and White Chocolate: Add 1 cup chopped dried apricots . When cool, dip half of cookie into melted chocolate chips .