This one I can take no credit for. I got it recently from my friend Kate's recipe blog www.ourbestbites.com (MUCH more professional than my blog). I made them for a party last weekend and they really made the yummiest sugar cookies I've had - and I have tired a LOT of recipes. So here they are! Check out her blog for more amazing tips on decorating http://www.ourbestbites.com/2008/12/sugar-cookies.html
1 C real butter (no substitutions!)
1 C sugar
1 1/2 t almond extract (you could use vanilla too)
3 C flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy- about 2 minutes. Add in eggs and extract and mix to incorporate.
In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt and whisk to combine. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until completely combined.
Shape the dough into 2 flat disks and wrap in waxed paper and place in the fridge to chill for 1-2 hours. The longer the better, and don't you cheat. If you want your cookies to hold their shape well, the dough needs to be really chilled. If you're in a hurry, immediately roll dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper and place on a flat surface in the fridge. It will chill super fast and be ready to go in no time.
When you're ready to roll out dough lightly sprinkle flour onto your work surface and roll out dough with a rolling pin.
Alright now, cut out those cookies. Thick or thin, however you like it...
Bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes. The baking time really depends on how you like them. I like them really soft so I really under-bake them. In my oven, about 8 minutes does it. However if you're making large cookies, or ones with small parts or heavy frosting, you might want to be careful because they might break when they're super soft.About 8 minutes will get you a really soft cookie, a few minutes longer (when they start to just brown around the edges) and you'll get just a little crispiness around the edges and then a soft center, bake even longer (and roll thinner) and you'll get a crispy cookie. Any way you do it, they'll taste good. Remove onto cooling racks when you're done and let cool completely. I honestly think these even taste better the second day.Frost any way you like. If I'm making sugar cookies merely for the purpose of eating them, then my preference is a big swirl of almond cream cheese butter cream, hands down.
Rae Note: I found for the thickness I like -about 3/8 an inch - 11 minutes was perfect for a soft, but slightly crisp cookie. yuuummm