Christmas Sugar Cookie Recipe

3 cups flour (do not firmly pack)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder.
In the bowl of a kitchen mixer, beat together unsalted butter and sugar. Once mixed well, add in egg. Mix again, then add in vanilla.
Slowly add in flour mixture (about a cup at a time). Mix until dough forms and begins to clump together. If your dough is still crumbly, keep mixing!
Gather up dough and knead it with your hands until it’s nice and smooth. Roll it into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap and place in fridge to chill. Twenty minutes is usually optimal. You will want it to be firm, but not hard. If it’s too hard, leave it out on the counter for a little bit until it softens up. You can also knead it a tad with your hands to help soften it up. To speed up to process further, break it in two and knead each ball until they soften.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. You can also use silicone baking mats made especially for treats like this!
Roll out the dough. Toni of Make Bake Celebrate says she likes to do so in between a lightly flour-dusted sheet of parchment paper (on the bottom) and wax paper (on the top). However, you can definitely use two sheets of wax paper or parchment paper if you prefer — or if that’s all you have. Rolling the dough between the papers keeps the dough very smooth, preventing marks from the rolling pin (and not sticking to it either!). The reason Toni uses one of each is “I like the flexibility of the wax paper on top and I like the parchment paper on bottom because it’s heavier, and if I am cutting a difficult shape I can bake right on the paper that it was cut on after removing excess dough.”
The wax paper can wrinkle and leave marks on the dough. Toni says that when she first lays her ball of dough down, she uses her hands to push it flat. Then she lays her wax paper over it, and uses her rolling pin to roll it out smooth.
Now for the fun part: Cut out your cookies! Once the dough is rolled out, you can use cookie cutters to cut out the shapes. If the cookies are sticking in the cutter, you can lightly dust it with flour to help. The cookies will usually stay right in the dough where you cut them. Once you’re done cutting all the cookies, tear away the excess dough. Then you can gently lift the cookies by pulling up the edge of the parchment paper and gently transferring the cookie from the paper to your lined baking sheet by hand. Another way of doing this is simply cutting the shapes out on the same surface they will bake. Just remove the excess dough around each shape and bake right on the sheet. This keeps the cookies from stretching, but it limits the amount of dough you can use the first round. And the less times a dough has been rolled the better. So unless you’re cutting a really delicate cookie, it’s usually best to carefully transfer them.
Now place the cookie sheet (with cut out cookies) into the freezer for about 2-4 minutes, depending on the size. This helps the cookies keep their shape. Once they have chilled for a few minutes, pop them in the oven. Baking times really really depend on size of cookie. The cookies pictured were about 2.5 inches and baked perfectly at 7 minutes. Turn your oven light on and set the timer for six minutes. Check them at six minutes, and proceed  to add a minute or two as needed. If you like your cookies super soft, pull them out right when you notice the very “moist look” of the dough is gone on top or if you notice the bottom turning golden brown at all. Toni says she’s a “burn-a-phob” causing her to yank them out of the oven when they’re just baked.
After removing them from the oven, let them sit on the warm pan for a minute or two. This gives them a minute to firm up and bake a tiny bit more. Then carefully grab the edges of the parchment paper and slide them off, parchment paper and all, onto wire cooling racks. It helps a ton to pull them off while they’re still on the parchment paper. Using a spatula can squish or  even break them.
Once the cookies are cool, you can use a spatula and gently stack them before you bake more.

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