Prep: 15 minutes; Cook: See individual recipes for times.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (about 5 3/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown or Muscovado sugar
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Ingredients for variations
For bars: 8- x 8- x 2-inch pan lined with a long piece of foil folded to cover the bottom of the pan. Allow it to extend up and over 2 sides to serve as handles for removing the baked cookies.
For all other cookies unless otherwise noted: ungreased baking sheets (can be lined with parchment or silicone baking mats).
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350º.
Lightly spoon the flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
In a food processor, process the sugars for about 1 minute until they're well mixed. With the motor running, add the butter in pieces. Process until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the egg white and vanilla and process about 5 seconds, just until incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pulse in the flour mixture until incorporated, about 20 pulses.
Unless directions say otherwise, drop dough by even tablespoons 2 inches apart onto 2 baking sheets lightly coated with cooking spray. Bake 1 sheet at a time for 15 minutes or just until the cookies begin to brown on top and are just set around the edges. Do not overbake.
Remove baking sheets from oven and allow cookies to sit on sheets for 2 minutes or until firm enough to lift with a small, flexible pancake turner. Transfer the cookies to racks to cool completely before storing them in an airtight container.
I've used this to make the Decorated Sugar Cookies and the Lemon Bars, and they were both very good. I use fresh-milled white wheat flour, and granulated honey instead of the regular white sugar, and the results are fine. The recipe even doubles well, to allow making more than one recipe at once (with a few adjustments to the steps), as I did above. This has gone into my file as a good, basic recipe I'll return to again and again.
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