First thing you should know, I was never a fan of sugar cookies, that is until I met this cookie, and this is still the only sugar cookie I will eat. I found it when Hubby and I were first married in a cookbook that I can't remember anymore. It has all the right qualities to it that I never found in a sugar cookie before. All the other ones were to dry, crumbly, or the taste was off. I like balance and this cookie has it, a nice buttery texture and just enough sweetness. The bonus is that since it isn't horribly sweet it takes frosting perfectly. I have been making this cookie for 11+ years now and that says a lot.
It is very adaptable, so if you wanted to play around with extracts and/or add zests it would take it just fine. The batch I made last night I added vanilla bean caviar to it. I just love those little black flecks.
Cookie Cutter Cookies
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cream butter and sugar, add eggs one at a time then add in vanilla. If you want to add in anything else this would be the time. Add in flour and mix until combined. Turn out and make into a disk giving the dough a couple of good kneads as you do. You want it to be smooth. Then wrap in plastic and place in the fridge for at least 30 min*.
When you are ready to make cookies preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment or silpats. If you have let it sit for more than the 30 minutes it will take about 5 minutes before the dough relax enough to roll. The butter gets pretty hard sitting for long periods of time. If not then flour your work surface and roll our dough.
Roll out dough to about 1/4" thickness (mine are never perfect) and cut out. Bake for about 10 minutes. This will depend on how large your cookie cutter is. The smaller the cutter the shorter the bake time and vise versa. If you are using a convection oven it will take about 14 min. Remember to turn your baking sheets and rotate if baking more than once batch at a time.
If the dough starts to get too soft, put it back in the refrigerator for 10 minutes until it firms up again. When you get ready to remake your dough into a ball for the next rolling dust off as much flour as you can, this helps with the texture of the cookie. I get as many rolls out of this dough as I can and my last roll cookies look and taste just as good as the first roll does.
This recipe doubles and triples beautifully. I am sure if your mixer was big enough you could just keep going.
*I have left it in the refrigerator for a week before and they still turn out perfectly