My family's favorite sugar cookies, perfect for decorating and must have cream cheese frosting!
In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter with an electric hand or stand mixer on high speed for about 3 minutes, until fluffy and the sugar is mostly dissolved. Scrape down the bowl as needed to evenly beat the mixture.
Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Make sure to spoon the flour into your measuring cup and level it off with a knife to ensure accurate measurements. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until completely combined.
Roll the dough between 2 sheets of parchment or wax paper and place on a baking sheet in the refrigerator. Chill for about 20-30 minutes.
When ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Dip cookie cutters of your choice in some extra flour and cut dough into shapes with cookie cutters and transfer to a baking sheet. Gather any excess dough into a ball, then re-roll and cut out more cookies and repeat until all of the dough is used.
Bake cookies at 350ºF for 8-12 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before decorating with frosting. Store in an airtight container.
*For this recipe, the dough only needs to chill about 20-30 minutes in the refrigerator since it is already rolled out. If you would rather chill the dough first before rolling, you'll want to increase the chill time to about an hour.
*Using the parchment paper is a great tip for rolling the dough, because it eliminates the need to add extra flour to keep it from sticking.
*My cookies were done baking in 9 minutes, but check yours closely. You want them to be just barely set and not yet browned. They'll seem slightly undercooked right out of the oven, but will firm up nicely once cooled. 9 minutes seemed to be the sweet spot for me!
*Once the cookies come out of the oven, only let them stay on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, or just until you're able to carefully slide a spatula underneath the cookies without breaking them to transfer to a cooling rack. Letting the cookies stay on the baking sheet any longer will dry them out, making them less soft and tender.
*If you'd rather not decorate cookies with frosting, you can decorate cookies with sprinkles and colored sugars before baking.
*Nutritional information does not include frosting.