Game plan: The dough logs can be frozen for up to a month—just wrap the plastic-covered logs tightly in aluminum foil before freezing. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before slicing and baking.
This basic recipe also tastes great when the logs are rolled in spiced sugar (1 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, cinnamon, or cardamom) before slicing.
This recipe was retested and updated by the CHOW Test Kitchen in December 2012.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoonbaking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks), at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoonvanilla extract
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl to break up any lumps; set aside.
Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until lightened in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle with a rubber spatula.
Return the mixer to medium speed, add the egg and vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle with the rubber spatula.
Turn the mixer to low speed and slowly add in the reserved flour mixture. Mix until just incorporated.
Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and divide it in half. Roll each portion into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
When ready to bake the cookies, heat the oven to 350°F and arrange the racks to divide the oven into thirds.
Remove the dough logs from the refrigerator, remove the plastic wrap, and slice into 1/4-inch rounds. Place the rounds on 2 baking sheets about 1/2 inch apart (about 20 cookies will fit on each sheet).
Place both sheets in the oven and bake for 6 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom and bake until the edges of the cookies are firm but the tops are still soft, about 6 to 7 minutes more.
Place the baking sheets on wire racks and let cool for 5 minutes. Using a flat spatula, transfer the cookies to the wire racks to cool completely.