In The Kitchen With The Editor: Mom’s Sugar Cookies

While at Thanksgiving dinner at my brother’s house, he and my niece began talking about the sugar cookies my mom used to make every holiday season. This got me to thinking just how long it had been since I tried to make them. Well, when my brother and sister-in-law also invited me for Christmas dinner, I figured I’d give it a try…if I could find the recipe and where I put the cookie cutters. Not only were they in the first place I looked, but I happened to have a moon shaped cutter, which made it mandatory I make them. You see, my two year old grand nephew, Gabriel, is currently fascinated with the moon and I knew he’d get a kick out of it. Besides, what better way to first enjoy his great-grandmother Ella’s cookies for the first time!

Now, don’t worry. This isn’t a Christmas recipe. These cookies are good for any occassion, just use the appropriate cutter, or just a plain round one. Shamrocks for St. Paddy’s Day, Eggs or Bunnies for Easter, etc.

I hope you enjoy these as much as my family and I always have!


Mom’s Sugar Cookies


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 2 ½  teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (measure by spooning flour into measuring cup and leveling with the back of a knife)
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  1. Before starting, be sure all ingredients, including butter and egg, are at ROOM TEMPERATURE. This is very important!
  2. Combine flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Place butter and sugar in a bowl and mix (with paddle attachment if using a stand mixer) on medium speed until fluffy, about 3-4 minutes, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the bowl as needed.
  4. Add egg and vanilla. Mix until well combined and smooth.
  5. Add the flour mixture, a little bit at a time, with the mixer on low until the flour is incorporated. Continue mixing until the dough holds together, up to 5 minutes.
  6. Divide the dough in half, and form each half into a 6-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill the dough for 2 hours or overnight. Do not skip on refrigerating the dough!
  7. Preheat oven to 375°F. While the oven is preheating, remove the dough from the fridge (if it has been in the fridge overnight, it may need to sit out 15 minutes before rolling).
  8. With a rolling pin, roll the dough to ¼” thickness (don’t go any thinner) between two pieces of plastic wrap with a light dusting of flour. Cut shapes with cookie cutters. Ball up the “scraps” and reroll. If the dough becomes too soft while rolling, put it back in the refrigerator for a few minutes to firm up.
  9. Place the cookies 1-inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle the cookies with colored sugar, if desired, and bake for 8-10 minutes or just until cookies begin to brown on the edges.
  10. Cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet, transfer to a cooling rack, and cool completely.
  11. Store cookies in an airtight container.