Monday, December 22, 2008

Sugar Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
4 cups sifted flour
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 scant cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
dash salt

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until fluffy.

Add vanilla, sifted flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well.

Cover and refrigerate. (Dough can be refrigerated for several days.)

When ready to bake cookies, preheat oven to 350°.

Working with small portion of dough at a time, roll out on floured board until about 1/4-inch thick.

Dip cutter in flour and cut out shapes.

Place on ungreased baking sheets

and refrigerate while working on the next batch; this will keep cookies from spreading, making their shapes more defined. (For best results, put cookies of the same size on each sheet.)

Bake cookies for 9 to 11 minutes, or until cookies are just beginning to brown on the edges.

Cool on pan for a minute or two, then remove to wire rack to finish cooling.

We decorated these cookies one night last week. We were aiming for fun and for tasty cookies, so how they looked wasn't so much important.

That's why we used a simple buttercream rather than royal icing, which turns out gorgeous cookies but doesn't taste as good as buttercream and wouldn't have been nearly as much for a seven year old.

I creamed a stick of softened butter and added a few cups - about one box - of confectioner's sugar, then a teaspoon or two of vanilla. I love vanilla so you may not need that much. Then add water or milk (I used water because the faucet was closer than the fridge), a tablespoon at a time until it's the consistency you'd want on your sugar cookies.

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