These sugar cookies have received rave reviews from anyone who eats them and after a little bit of tweaking, I finally think I have them just perfect. This recipe yields about 60 cut-out cookies, which is just right for me to give some as gifts and leave some at home for us to nibble on. The longest part of this process is the frosting, but it's fun (I cheesily blast Holiday tunes while I frost) and I look forward to a couple years from now when my son, Maxwell, can help me (instead of me frosting them while he naps).
I will admit that I wouldn't try to tweak the recipe to be healthier (shocking that I would say that, I realize), by adding whole wheat/less butter/other sweeteners or whatever, because I've been trying it for awhile and my results yield a mediocre cookie (using whole wheat flour) with less than stellar reviews. So, enjoy this treat in moderation.
The frosting/icing recipe is found here (along with how to make Chocolate Sugar Cookies):
1 1/2 Cups Butter, Softened
2 Cups White Sugar
2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract (the real thing is better than imitation!)
4 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour (plus more for rolling out the dough)
2 Tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Sea Salt
1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in the vanilla.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
4. Roll out dough (working with 1/3 the batter at a time) onto a floured surface. Roll out the dough to 1/4" to 1/2" thickness. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Reroll scraps 2-3 more times and cut shapes into that (eventually dough will get too stiff and flour-y, so discard scraps after 2-3 re-rolls).
5. Place cookies 1" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 7-9 minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom. Transfer to wire rack to cool.
Serve plain or frost and decorate as desired (directions found here).
Some Menorahs for my Jewish friends.
Some Personalized Christmas Stocking Cookies