Classic Sugar Cookies
I don’t make sugar cookies very often, but there are occasions that call for cut-out cookies, to decorate or to sandwich. To make linzer cookies—sandwich cookies that typically have ground nuts in the dough—replace 1/2 cup of the flour with finely ground almonds, pecans or hazelnuts.
In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla for 2-3 minutes (use the paddle attachment of your stand mixer, if you have one), until pale and light. Add the flour and salt and stir or beat on low just until the dough comes together. Gather it into a ball, shape into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 20 minutes, or for up to a few days. (It can also be frozen.)
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350˚F. If your dough has been chilled, let it warm up a bit on the countertop until it’s more pliable. On a lightly floured surface, roll it out about 1/4-inch thick and cut into whatever shapes you like. To make sandwiches, use a small cutter to cut a window out of the middle of half the cookies.
Using a thin spatula, transfer them to an ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until pale golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Once completely cooled, spread the solid cookies with jam, and sprinkle the ones with a window with icing sugar—this is easiest to do through a sieve, or using a shaker. Carefully place the sugared cookies on top of the jam cookies.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies or 1 1/2 dozen sandwiches.
About Julie Van Rosendaal:
Julie Van Rosendaal is the Calgary-based author of eleven best-selling cookbooks. Her twelfth, Cookies I Have Loved, was released on December 1. She has been the food columnist on the Calgary Eyeopener on CBC Radio One for over 15 years, and writes about food for the Globe and Mail and for other publications across Canada. Julie teaches, speaks and cooks at culinary schools and events across the country, and has a very engaged audience on her social media channels and website, Dinner with Julie.