1 cup organic butter at room temperature
3/4 cup fine organic cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Add butter, sugar, and vanilla together in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer until smooth. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing on low speed. When they are just combined, add the flavorings of your choice (or none if you want just plain sugar cookies). I split the dough in half and added the zest of 1 lemon and about 1 teaspoon of juice to half of the dough. To the other half, I added about another 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract and seeds from about 1/2 of a vanilla bean. After adding the extra ingredients, continue mixing until the ingredients are combined. The dough will be crumbly and not held together. Form the dough into a ball and roll it out onto a lightly floured surface. The dough rolls best when it's slightly warm. Roll until about 1/4-inch thick and cut into desired shapes. Top with sugar, if desired. Place about 1/2-inch apart on the baking sheets and bake for about 8-10 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Continue until all dough has been used. Let cool on a wire rack.