Seeing Stars! Our sugar cookies take shape.Being the genius that I like to label myself as, I decided that this year, instead of sending out Christmas cards, I’d hand out cookies to all restaurant owners.

Brilliant idea you say? Thank you. I agree. However, there was one obstacle I needed to overcome in order to fulfil this plan: The fact that I have never baked anything before in my life. Nothing. Ever. Luckily, I had Jillian knocking on my door 3 milliseconds after I mentioned baking and cookies in the same sentence over the phone. She’s what I like to call a “Master Baker” (insert your own joke here).

After diligent consultation with Pina and her good friend, the Martha Stewart website, we decided on an easy yet tasty recipe for sugar cookies.

Sugar Cookies (courtesy of
Makes about 16 large cookies or thirty 2 1/2-inch cookies

4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extractor 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice and zest of 2 lemons
1/4 cup fine sanding sugar, for decorating (optional)
Royal Icing, for decorating (optional)

1. In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
2. Use an electric mixer to cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs.
3. Add flour mixture, and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Stir in vanilla or lemon juice and zest. Wrap dough in plastic; chill for about 30 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 325°. On a floured surface, roll dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes. Transfer to ungreased baking sheets; refrigerate until firm, 15 minutes. Remove from refrigerator, and decorate with sanding sugar, if desired. Bake until edges just start to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Decorate with Royal Icing, if desired. May be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.