Is there anything so pure and delightful as a warm sugar cookie? Some may say, 'a child's laughter,' but I would disagree. These are still my favorite sugar cookies, despite having tried so many different kinds in my sweet-loving life, and now I share them with you.

4½ - 5 cups flour, divided

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature

2 cups sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 tablespoons milk

In a large bowl, with a whisk, combine 4 ½ cups flour, baking powder and salt until thoroughly mixed.

  1. Beat the butter and sugar electric mixer at medium speed until creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs, vanilla and milk and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. With mixer at medium-low speed, gradually beat in flour mixture until just blended. If dough seems soft, add some of the remaining flour, a little at a time, until a small handful can be pressed into a soft dough.
  2. Gather the dough into a ball and divide into quarters. Wrap each quarter in plastic wrap and refrigerate until dough is very cold, 3 to 4 hours or overnight. (At this point, the dough can be wrapped tightly in aluminum foil and refrigerated for up to one week or frozen up to three months. If frozen, thaw in refrigerator before proceeding.)
  3. Adjust two racks to divide oven into thirds. Preheat to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two baking sheets.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll one quarter of dough to a thickness of 1/8”. Cut into shapes and arrange on baking sheets, spacing about 1” apart.
  5. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes until cookies are pale golden. Reverse baking sheets on racks and from front to back once during baking. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool completely. Store cooled and decorated cookies in a tightly sealed container, separating and cushioning layers with sheets of waxed paper.

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