This recipe came from Good Eats with Alton Brown on the Food Network. I’ve tried many sugar cookie recipes, but this one is the best for a perfect balance between soft and tender, yet crisp.

One of Alton’s hints is to transfer the cut cookie dough from counter to cookie sheet before removing the cookie cutter. That prevents the shape from getting boggled. Just slide a thin spatula under the cookie cutter, dough and all, and place it gently on the cookie sheet, then lift the cutter off.

3 C flour
¾ t baking powder
¼ T salt
1 C unsalted butter, softened
1 C sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 T milk
Powdered sugar for rolling out dough.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on slow speed and gradually add flour. Beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Sprinkle countertop with powdered sugar. Remove one wrapped pack of dough from frig, and roll out to ¼-inch thick. Work quickly so dough stays cold. Move the dough around to make sure it is not sticking. Cut into desired shapes and place at least 1 inch apart on greased baking sheet, and bake 7-9 minutes, just until cookies begin to turn brown around edges. Let sit on baking sheet 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to wire racks. Serve or ice as desired.

Royal Icing

1 pound powdered sugar
½ t cream of tartar
3 egg whites (pasteurized)

Beat thoroughly with mixer until stiff. Store in covered dish with damp rag inside cover.

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