When I was a kid, my godmother would always have myself and my cousins over to make Christmas cookies a few days before Christmas. Since I now live too far away to participate, I'm going to start my own tradition of holiday cookie making.
Iced Christmas Sugar Cookies
Cookies very slightly adapted from Pillsbury's Old Fashioned Sugar Cookie Recipe
Icing slightly adapted from Wiltons' Buttercream Icing Recipe
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup margarine or butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well. Cut in one cup margarine until mixture is crumbly. In small bowl, beat eggs. Gradually add sugar, vanilla, and lemon extract, beating until light. Beat in flour mixture. (If necessary, knead dough 10 times to incorporate dry ingredients.) Refrigerate until ready to use (at least 1 hour).
2. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. On lightly floured surface, roll out portion of dough to desired thickness (we did about 1/8 inch). To keep dough from sticking to rolling pin, cover dough with wax paper while rolling. Once dough is rolled to desired thickness, cut using cookie cutters, and place on cookie sheet ~1 inch apart. (We actually use stoneware for most of our baking.)
3. Bake at 375 degrees F until light/golden brown. (Should be 6-10 minutes.) Let cool for about 2 minutes, then remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool cookies completely before icing.
1 pound powdered sugar (4 cups)
1 cup Crisco shortening
2 tablespoons of milk or water
1 teaspoon extract of choice (lemon, vanilla, etc.)
1. Add sugar, one cup at a time, to shortening while beating on medium with electric mixer. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been added, icing will appear dry.
2. Add milk or water and beat at medium speed until icing is light and fluffy.
Coloring the Icing:
1. Remove desired portion of icing to small bowl.
2. Add desired amount and color of food coloring.
3. Stir, stir, stir. (A regular spoon will work just fine).
4. Add food coloring as needed to achieve desired color. (The color will darken as icing sits).
Decorating with Icing and Sprinkles:
1. Ice cookie desired color. (I spread icing with a teaspoon, I'm sure there is an easier way to do this, but it worked just fine.).
2. Sprinkle sugar or sprinkles or whatever else as desired. Pat decoration into icing with finger (lightly) so sprinkles don't roll off the second you move the cookie.