Most sugar cookie recipes are pretty much identical because they work. This one is the Bible's. The main difference in the result is how thick or thin you roll the dough. They make these great rubber band things that you can place on your rolling pin to denote a specific thickness. I need to get some of those.
Another thing that will affect the quality of the cookie is how many times you roll out the dough. Since you have to flour the board to keep it from sticking, the dough will pick up a little more each time and eventually become tough. I've controlled this problem by buying a really big pastry board. It's something like 18" x 24". I have to place it in the corner of my counter, because it's larger than the actual work space. Cutting out the cookies as close to each other as possible also reduces the number of re-rolls.
I cheated on the icing in order to try out some "quick-setting" stuff that comes in a bag. It tastes great and comes with its own pastry tip, but wasn't the texture I had in mind. I'll make my own next time.
If you don't want to make so many cookies (this recipe is at least 4 dozen), you can cut any cookie recipe down to what I call "the least common egg". In other words, if there are 2 eggs in the recipe, make half, 3 eggs, make a third, etc.
3-1/4 C flour
1-1/2 C sugar
2/3 C shortening
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
2 Tb milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
decorations or icing
1. Into large bowl, measure all ingredients except decorations and/or icing. Beat until well mixed and starts to clump together.
2. Shape dough into a ball. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate at least 1 hr. Preheat oven to 400º and lightly grease cookie sheets.
3. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface. The thinner you roll, the crisper the finished cookie will be. Cut out shapes with floured cookie cutters and place on baking sheets. Re-roll trimmings and cut until all has been used.
4. To decorate before baking: brush tops of cookies lightly with milk or egg white and coat with sugar or sprinkles.
5. Bake for 8 minutes or until very light brown around the edges. Cool on wire racks. If frosting the cookies, wait until completely cooled.
Difficulty rating π
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