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Recipe for my mother’s sugar cookies

Food styling by Sheryl Julian and Valerie Ryan; photo by Lane Turner/Globe Staff/Lane Turner

Makes about 42 rectangular cookies

It takes a cheeky daughter to turn her mother’s sugar cookies on their head. I watched her roll them carefully into balls, flatten with a glass dipped in sugar, and bake perfect rounds. Now I make rectangles, rolling the dough between sheets of parchment paper sprinkled with sugar, marking the rectangles, chilling the dough, separating the rectangles, and baking them. The cookies are incredibly crisp and look even and quite professional.

1cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room
cup sugar
1teaspoon vanilla extract
1egg, lightly beaten
½teaspoon salt
cups flour
Extra sugar (for rolling)

1. Have on hand 2 rimless baking sheets and a roll of parchment paper.

2. In an electric mixer, cream the butter until soft. Add the sugar and beat until it is incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and salt.


3. With the mixer set on its lowest speed, beat in the flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until it is blended.

4. Set a piece of parchment paper on the counter and sprinkle generously with sugar. Turn the dough out onto the paper. Dip your palms into sugar and flatten the dough into a rough rectangle. Sprinkle the top with more sugar and set another piece of parchment on the dough. Roll to the edges of the parchment, turning the sheets often for even rolling. Peel off the top parchment.

5. Make 6 vertical cuts and 6 horizontal cuts in the dough to make 1½-inch rectangles (you may have some small triangular pieces at the edges. Slide a baking sheet under the parchment paper; refrigerate for 30 minutes. Line the other baking sheet with parchment paper.

6. Set the oven at 350 degrees.

7. Use a narrow metal palette knife or spatula to lift the scored rectangles one by one and transfer half to the
second baking sheet, setting them 1 inch apart. Move the rectangles on the first sheet so there is 1 inch
between them. Sprinkle all cookies with sugar.


8. Bake the cookies for 15 to 20 minutes (watch
carefully; thinner and smaller cookies from the edges of the dough will bake faster than thicker rectangles in the middle) or until they are lightly browned at the edges. Transfer the cookies on the parchment to wire racks to cool. Store in an airtight container. Sheryl Julian