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By Martha Hall Foose
March 2023
approx. 3 dozen cookies


  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting work surface and rolling pin Sanding sugar, finely chopped nuts, or decorations of your choice
Delicious star-shaped sugar cookies sitting in a plate.


In a large bowl using an electric mixer with a paddle or beater attachment beat the butter, sugar until smooth and creamy about 3 minutes on medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla and salt and mix for a few seconds. 

Add the flour gradually and mix just until well combined. 

Divide the dough into three equal parts and press to form flat disks to aid in rolling out later. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and chill for 4 hours or overnight. 

Heat oven to 350 degrees and bake.

Dust work surface and rolling pin with flour and line several cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. 

Assemble whatever toppings you choose to use. Gather a small bowl of cold water and a pastry brush.

Unwrap dough and place on floured work surface. Roll to 1/8-inch thick. Cut into desired shapes and place on prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Brush tops of cut-outs very lightly with water and sprinkle with desired sugar or toppings.

Bake for 7 to 9 minutes rotating pans as needed to brown evenly. Bake until the edges are slightly browned. Let cookies cool on pan for 2 minutes then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling. 

Repeat with remaining dough, as desired. 

Cool completely before storing in airtight container. 

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