1-2-3 Cookie Dough

If there was ever a recipe you needed to know, it’s this one. 1-2-3 cookie dough is so simple and so delicious. It’s also extremely versatile. It works as a fantastic crust for sweet tarts and also makes wonderful decorated cookies. I used this recipe to make approximately 20,000 Christmas cookies each year in my bakery. If you follow the basic instructions you will have a reliable recipe for years to come.

This is called 1-2-3 cookie dough because the original recipe calls for 1 pound of sugar, 2 pounds of butter, and 3 pounds of flour — plus 3 eggs. But that’s a lot of cookie dough so I have reduced the recipe to a more manageable size. This smaller recipe will make enough dough to line two 9 inch tart shells.


The Recipe

by volume                                            by weight

1/4 cup sugar                                   56 grams sugar

1/2 cup soft butter                        112 grams soft butter

1½ cups all purpose flour          168 grams all purpose flour

1/2 egg                                               34 grams egg



Make sure the butter is soft and mix it together with the sugar until completely combined.

Add the egg and mix until smooth.

Finally, add the flour and mix just until the flour is completely absorbed.

Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead a couple of times to bring the dough together into a ball.

To line a tart shell, roll half of the dough out on a lightly floured surface to approximately 1/8″ thick and transfer the dough to the tart pan.

Remove the excess and then fit the dough snugly into the bottom edge of the pan with your thumb.

Use an offset spatula or the back side of a knife to trim the top edge of the tart shell.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Line the pan and weigh it down with beans.  (Many people buy expensive pie weights but they really aren’t necessary. A piece of parchment or a few large coffee filters with some small beans or peas works really well. The beans can be used over and over again as can the parchment or coffee filters.)

Bake for approximately 20 minutes until the tart shell is a medium golden brown. Let the tart shell cool for a few minutes before you try to remove the beans or you may damage the crust.



I usually use a tart ring with no bottom just because it is what I prefer. If you like, a fluted tart pan with a removable bottom will work just as well.

I like to keep this dough really simple when I use it but if you make cookies vanilla, lemon, or orange work very nicely to give the dough extra flavor. Or, make this into a chocolate cookie dough by substituting 50 grams of cocoa powder for 50 grams of the flour.

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