This is a very basic sugar cookie recipe that makes stellar holiday decorating cookies. We make them for just about every holiday - Easter, Halloween, Christmas... I prefer to make them the day before I need to serve them, because then the frosting has a chance to harden slightly, which makes it easier to transport to my kid's school classes. It also allows the cookie to absorb some of the moisture from the frosting, making a softer cookie. The kids love to decorate these and we give them their own bowl of frosting and their own knife - which makes them feel all grown up and important.
1 1/2 cups shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs - slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk (+/-)
Combine shortening and sugar in mixer. Add eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, soda, and salt. Slowly add dry mixture to wet and blend until it resembles dry pie crust mixture. Work in buttermilk - adding more for moist drop cookies and less for easier working dough if planning on rolling out and using cookie cutters.
For drop cookies, use a medium cookie scoop and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 7-8 minutes, or until edges are just a very light brown. Remove and cool 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.
For cookie cutter dough, roll dough out onto a floured surface until 3/8" thickness. Cut with cookie cutters, drinking glasses, or a knife and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet 7-8 minutes, or until edges are just a very light brown. Remove and cool 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting - Straight out of my trusty Better Crocker cookbook!
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
1. In medium bowl, mix powdered sugar and butter with spoon or electric mixer on low speed. Stir in vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the milk.
2. Gradually beat in just enough remaining milk to make frosting smooth and spreadable. If frosting is too thick, beat in more milk, a few drops at a time. If frosting becomes too thin, beat in a small amount of powdered sugar. Frosts 13x9-inch cake generously, or fills and frosts an 8- or 9-inch two-layer cake.