These are the sugar cookies my whole family has loved…warm with a big glass of milk.

They aren’t as fancy as the ones we put out for Santa every year…but they are really really good!

I found these in my James Beard American Cookery more than 20 years ago and I’ve made them every Christmas since. And like everything else I’ve ever made from that cookbook, they are easy to make and simply delicious!


James Beard’s Sugar Cookies


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon mace

1 egg, lightly beaten

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 egg white, lightly beaten

Sugar for sprinkling


 Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Cream the butter with the sugar, salt, and mace until light and creamy. Add the egg, heavy cream, and vanilla and stir until well blended. Sift the flour with the baking powder and gradually add to the mixture. Mix until the dough is slightly stiff.

Chill the dough for 15 minutes, divide into thirds, and let the remainder chill while you prepare the first and second thirds. Roll each portion to a 1/8” to 1/4” thickness and cut out the cookies with a cookie cutter of your choice. Brush the cookies with beaten egg white and sprinkle them with sugar.

Bake at 350ºF for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Ice cookies and add any type of decoration. They have a delicious crispness. If you wish to vary them, you can sprinkle them with sugar and cinnamon and place an almond half on each one before baking. Then they are called sand tarts.

By the way, if you are looking for a cookbook for someone this Christmas, James Beard’s American Cookery is my bible. I don’t think I’ve ever made a bad recipe from here.

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Happy cooking!


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