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I've been using this basic cookie dough since my children were little. The variations are endless. You can shape them, roll them or plop them on a cookie sheet by the tablespoon. Add spices, nuts or chocolate chips.

I usually divide the dough into quarters and make a different kind of cookie with each quarter. They make perfect gifts for teacher or hostess.

Note: There are two ways to measure flour. The most common way is to scoop it from the canister or bag with a dry measure and then level it off. The second way is to fill the dry measure with a spoon - this method is taught in cooking schools and used in most magazines and books. It will give you slightly less flour. This recipe uses the first method.

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2 cups unsalted butter (1 pound), room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar

4 large eggs

6 cups all-purpose flour (use the scoop and level method for measuring)

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons kosher salt


Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cream butter until softened, then beat in sugar until mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl until fully and incorporated. Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract if you want plain sugar cookie dough without any variations.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in separate bowl. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet and beat until just incorporated.

Form mixture into a log and cut into four pieces. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until needed. The dough can be used as is. Roll out and cut into shapes or leave in a log and slice into ¼-inch thick cookies.

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