YieldsMakes about 45 2 1/2-inch cookies
This sugar cookie dough recipe is one of our readers' all-time favorites. Notes: Keep the dough cool as you roll and cut cookies; if it becomes too soft to handle, freeze briefly until firm. Store cookies airtight, layered between sheets of waxed paper, for up to 3 days. Prep Time: about 15 minutes.

How to Make It

Step 1
1

In a bowl, with an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat room-temperature butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Stir or beat in flour until well blended. Flatten dough into a 1-inch-thick disk. On a lightly floured board, roll dough about 1/8 inch thick. Follow directions below to make cookies.

Step 2
2

Ornaments

Step 3
3

With a floured cookie cutter, cut ornament shapes from cookie dough.

Step 4
4

Make an imprint in the center of each cookie by lightly pressing a star-shape cookie cutter into dough, making sure not to cut all the way through.

Step 5
5

Use a drinking straw to poke a hole in each cookie. Transfer to baking sheets lined with cooking parchment.

Step 6
6

Bake in a 300° oven until golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks to cool.

Step 7
7

Serve when cool, or thread a ribbon through each hole, tie, and hang from a tree or in a window.

Step 8
8

To make them special: Prepare cookies as above, but skip step With a small offset spatula, spread a thin layer of tinted Royal Icing on each ornament.

Step 9
9

To make them spectacular: Follow directions above for special version; let icing dry. With a pastry bag fitted with a #2 plain tip and filled with icing, create raised accents. Sprinkle sanding sugar over the still-wet piping, then tilt and tap cookie to remove excess. Add dragées.

Step 10
10

Wreaths

Step 11
11

With a floured 3- to 4-inch fluted-edge cookie cutter, cut out large circles from cookie dough. With a floured 1- to 2-inch cutter, cut out a circle in each cookie. Transfer cookies to baking sheets lined with cooking parchment. Gather scraps, reroll, and cut out more wreaths.

Step 12
12

Bake in a 300° oven until golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks to cool.

Step 13
13

Serve when cool, or thread a ribbon through each wreath and hang from a tree or in a window.

Step 14
14

To make them special: With a pastry bag fitted with a #2 plain tip and filled with green Royal Icing, pipe "branches" onto the wreath. Or with a small offset spatula, spread a thin layer of tinted icing on each wreath.

Step 15
15

To make them spectacular: Follow directions for special version; with a pastry bag fitted with a #2 plain tip and filled with red Royal Icing, apply "berries" to each wreath. Sprinkle sanding sugar over the still-wet icing, then tilt and tap cookie to remove excess.

Step 16
16

Cutout Cookies

Step 17
17

With a floured square cookie cutter with a fluted edge, cut out 20 cookies from cookie dough. Transfer to baking sheets lined with cooking parchment.

Step 18
18

With smaller floured cookie cutters (we used a pear shape), cut out 20 top pieces from dough. If necessary, gather scraps, reroll, and cut out more top pieces.

Step 19
19

Brush the back of each top piece with a little water and press gently onto squares.

Step 20
20

Bake in a 300° oven until golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks to cool.

Step 21
21

To make them special: With a small offset spatula, spread a thin layer of tinted icing on each top piece.

Step 22
22

To make them spectacular: Follow directions for special version; use a pastry bag fitted with a #2 plain tip and filled with Royal Icing to create dots and leaves. If desired, apply a bit of gold leaf while icing is still moist.

Ingredients

 1 cup (1/2 lb.) butter
 1/2 cup sugar
 2 large egg yolks
 1 teaspoon vanilla
 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Directions

Step 1
1

In a bowl, with an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat room-temperature butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Stir or beat in flour until well blended. Flatten dough into a 1-inch-thick disk. On a lightly floured board, roll dough about 1/8 inch thick. Follow directions below to make cookies.

Step 2
2

Ornaments

Step 3
3

With a floured cookie cutter, cut ornament shapes from cookie dough.

Step 4
4

Make an imprint in the center of each cookie by lightly pressing a star-shape cookie cutter into dough, making sure not to cut all the way through.

Step 5
5

Use a drinking straw to poke a hole in each cookie. Transfer to baking sheets lined with cooking parchment.

Step 6
6

Bake in a 300° oven until golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks to cool.

Step 7
7

Serve when cool, or thread a ribbon through each hole, tie, and hang from a tree or in a window.

Step 8
8

To make them special: Prepare cookies as above, but skip step With a small offset spatula, spread a thin layer of tinted Royal Icing on each ornament.

Step 9
9

To make them spectacular: Follow directions above for special version; let icing dry. With a pastry bag fitted with a #2 plain tip and filled with icing, create raised accents. Sprinkle sanding sugar over the still-wet piping, then tilt and tap cookie to remove excess. Add dragées.

Step 10
10

Wreaths

Step 11
11

With a floured 3- to 4-inch fluted-edge cookie cutter, cut out large circles from cookie dough. With a floured 1- to 2-inch cutter, cut out a circle in each cookie. Transfer cookies to baking sheets lined with cooking parchment. Gather scraps, reroll, and cut out more wreaths.

Step 12
12

Bake in a 300° oven until golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks to cool.

Step 13
13

Serve when cool, or thread a ribbon through each wreath and hang from a tree or in a window.

Step 14
14

To make them special: With a pastry bag fitted with a #2 plain tip and filled with green Royal Icing, pipe "branches" onto the wreath. Or with a small offset spatula, spread a thin layer of tinted icing on each wreath.

Step 15
15

To make them spectacular: Follow directions for special version; with a pastry bag fitted with a #2 plain tip and filled with red Royal Icing, apply "berries" to each wreath. Sprinkle sanding sugar over the still-wet icing, then tilt and tap cookie to remove excess.

Step 16
16

Cutout Cookies

Step 17
17

With a floured square cookie cutter with a fluted edge, cut out 20 cookies from cookie dough. Transfer to baking sheets lined with cooking parchment.

Step 18
18

With smaller floured cookie cutters (we used a pear shape), cut out 20 top pieces from dough. If necessary, gather scraps, reroll, and cut out more top pieces.

Step 19
19

Brush the back of each top piece with a little water and press gently onto squares.

Step 20
20

Bake in a 300° oven until golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks to cool.

Step 21
21

To make them special: With a small offset spatula, spread a thin layer of tinted icing on each top piece.

Step 22
22

To make them spectacular: Follow directions for special version; use a pastry bag fitted with a #2 plain tip and filled with Royal Icing to create dots and leaves. If desired, apply a bit of gold leaf while icing is still moist.

Favorite Sugar Cookie Dough