Everyone needs this recipe in their repertoire. Here's why. It's delicious...well, duh. That's kind of important. Second, it's versatile. I mean it. This dough is very versatile. I've used it for mini tarts, sugar cookies, pies, etc. This stuff is multi-faceted like crazy. Third, it's easy to make. I know I say this about most of my recipes, but trust me, I'm not BSing you. This dough is really easy to make. I usually whip it up in under ten minutes when the ingredients are at room temperature, which should be a given. There is absolutely no reason to not try this. You will love it. You will be using it a lot and you will be eating the raw dough like nobody's business. That's just how it goes. So better to try it now so you can impress your neighbors with your cool Halloween and Christmas cookies when the time comes.
Place the room temperature butter into the bowl of your stand mixer or into a large bowl. Use some decent quality butter, please.
Mix on medium-low speed until light and fluffy for about five to seven minutes.
Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Pour in the granulated sugar in a steady stream and mix on medium speed until sugar dissolves and the mixture is fluffy. Should take about four to five minutes.
On medium speed, add in one egg at a time, allowing the egg to absorb before adding the second one. Stop the mixer and scrape.
Add in the zest, vanilla and lemon juice and mix for a minute until combined.
Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and pour into the dough all at once.
Begin to pulse the dough a few times with the stand mixture until big clumps of dough forms and some of the flour is absorbed. Stop at this point and remove the bowl from the stand mixer.
Use a rubber spatula to mix in the dry ingredients into the dough. This will take time. I use a stabbing motion to mix in the flour. Don't overmix. Some flour will be visible, but the dough will look smoother in texture and slightly darker in color.
Move into a plastic container or form into a round shape and cover in saran wrap. I typically chill in the freezer overnight, which is ideal. You can also chill in the fridge or freezer for a few hours. This allows the dough to relax and absorb the rest of the flour.
When you are ready to use the dough, let it thaw for at least a half hour from the freezer or fridge. It should be somewhat pliable, but still cold. If the dough isn't cold, your shapes won't cut out as nice and the cookies will spread once in the oven. So, it's important that the dough is cold but workable. It will be crumbly, to begin with. Work it and it will become easier to work with, smoother and slightly darker in color.
You can wrap up the unused dough and freeze for later use. Here are some examples of decorated sugar cookies I made with this delicious dough.
See how I do it:
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons sour cream, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- zest and juice from one large lemon or two medium lemons
In the bowl of your Kitchen Aid mixer with the paddle attachment or with a bowl and hand mixer, cream the room temperature slightly softened butter at medium-low speed until light and fluffy, about five minutes.
Pour in the sugar and mix for about four to five minutes. Scrape.
Add in the sour cream all at once and mix.
Add in one egg at a time on medium-low speed. Let the egg absorb before adding the next egg. Stop the mixer and scrape.
Add in the lemon zest, juice and vanilla extract. Mix for about a minute on medium speed until combined.
Next sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and add it all at once to the creamed mixture. Pulse until big clumps of dough form. Take the bowl off the mixer at this point.
Use your rubber spatula and "stab" in the dry ingredients. It will take a few minutes, so take your time. Don't overmix! Flour will still be visible.
Wrap in plastic container or form into a round and cover with saran wrap.
Chill for at least a couple hours or overnight before using.
Knead in portions until it comes together. It will be crumbly at first. That's normal. Keep working it.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a ½" thickness and cut shapes as desired and bake at 350°F for about 9-11 minutes or until the bottom edge is very lightly golden brown. Note: smaller shapes will bake faster, so if you're baking a variety of shapes, make sure to take the small shapes out of the oven first.
Once the cookies are baked off, leave them on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes. Move to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store them in a plastic container covered for about a week.
You can store the dough in the refrigerator for up to one week and freeze wrapped well for up to three months.