Christmas just isn’t the same for me without sugar cookies cut into all kinds of festive shapes. My mother has a huge old cookbook she got as a graduation gift, and she just keeps stuffing recipes written on cards and random slips of paper into it. This cookie recipe is one copied by my great-grandmother onto a faded sheet of stationery and as children we always lit up when we saw the familiar sheet of paper emerge from the big yellow cookbook. Over the years, the recipe has been updated by various family members (no more lard!!), but we still love to make and decorate these cookies. Something about them just says Christmas!
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 T. vanilla extract
3 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1. Sift dry ingredients into a bowl and set aside.
2. Cream butter and sugar in a separate bowl. [NOTE: I learned from Cook's Illustrated that three minutes is the magical amount of time for creaming butter and sugar. I tried and it worked - so passing it on!]
3. Add eggs and mix until fluffy. Then add vanilla and mix until blended.
4. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet and mix well.
5. Separate dough in half, and wrap each half in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
6. Roll half of dough out to thickness of about 1/8 inch or so, and cut into whatever shapes you please. Repeat with other half.
7. Bake for 6-8 minutes, and then cool completely on wire rack before frosting.
The frosting that goes with the family sugar cookie recipe is so thick that it kind of overwhelms the cookies, so I often use this icing recipe that I got from the blog Southern Plate
Sugar Cookie Icing
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 T. softened butter or margerine
2 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
a few drops of food coloring
1. Mix all ingredients, except the food coloring, together with a fork until everything is smooth.
2. Add food coloring and stir.
– Lynn Spencer