Easy Sugar Cookies
Lemon-Poppy Seed Sugar Cookies:
Prepare as directed, except before adding sugar, combine sugar and 1 Tbsp. lemon zest in a small bowl. With fingertips, rub lemon zest into sugar until sugar becomes very fragrant. Add 2 Tbsp. poppy seeds with the flour.
Spicy Sugar Cookies:
Prepare as directed through shaping. In a shallow dish combine 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper. Roll dough balls in sugar mixture before baking.
Chai-Clementine Sugar Cookies:
Prepare as directed, except add 2 tsp. clementine zest along with the butter and sugar. Add 2 tsp. chai seasoning with the flour. (To make your own chai seasoning, combine 1 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom, 1/4 tsp. ground ginger, 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon, and dash ground cloves.)
White Chocolate-Pistachio Sugar Cookies:
Prepare as directed, except reduce flour to 1 1/3 cups and add 1/3 cup finely ground pistachios and 1/4 cup grated white baking chocolate to the flour mixture. If desired, stir in 2 tsp. cracked pink peppercorns with the flour. After removing from oven, sprinkle with additional finely grated white baking chocolate.
Butterscotch Sugar Cookies:
Prepare as directed, except omit the cream of tartar. Reduce granulated sugar to 1 cup. Add 1 cup packed brown sugar with granulated sugar. Add 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice with the flour.
Lime-Coconut Sugar Cookies:
Prepare as directed, except combine the sugar, 1/3 cup toasted coconut, and 2 tsp. lime zest in a food processor. Pulse quickly until coconut is very fine. Add to butter mixture as directed.
Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies:
Prepare as directed, except substitute 2 tsp. vanilla bean paste for the vanilla. (Or cut one vanilla bean in half lengthwise; scrape the seeds from the pod. Beat seeds into dough with the egg yolks.)
Layer cookies between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.