To make cookies from scratch, combine butter and sugar in a bowl and beat them with a stand or hand mixer until it's fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, flour and optional flavorings before adding to a cookie sheet. Bake the cookies for approximately 10 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can make a simple, versatile sugar cookie batter and use it to make several different types of cookies from scratch. Start by creaming 1 1/2 cups of butter with 1 cup of sugar with the mixer on medium speed. Once it's combined and fluffy, beat in 1 egg and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Turn the mixer to low and add 4 1/2 cups of flour and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Shape the dough into two logs or disks, wrap it in plastic and chill it until it's firm. Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thick to make cut out cookies, or slice and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake the sugar cookies for 10 minutes until they're golden. Let them cool for about five minutes before transferring the cookies to a rack.
Swap almond or lemon extract for the vanilla and add crushed nuts or citrus zest to change the flavor of the cookies. Add a bit of cinnamon or other spices to make spice cookies, or use equal parts of brown and granulated sugar in addition to semisweet chocolate chips to make chocolate chip cookies.