cut-out butter cookies
(yields 3 dozen)
The flavors of the dough and icing taste so homemade, they can only come from a love-filled kitchen.
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
For Creamy Icing:
1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
3 or 4 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very pale and fluffy (several minutes). Add egg and vanilla and combine well. Blend in dry ingredients slowly (to avoid flour-bombing your kitchen). Scrape the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Form it into a disk and wrap well. Chill dough for at least two hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface. The thickness should be about 1/4 inch or less. Cut your cookies in small batches to prevent creating warm and sticky dough. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes or until they get just a hint of color. Cool completely before decorating.
To make the Creamy Icing: Using an electric mixer, beat all the ingredients at high speed until smooth and creamy. Add more milk if the icing is too stiff. Spread onto cookies with a small metal spatula. Add any decorating sugars and other embellishments to the cookies before the icing dries.
FRIENDS WHO BAKE TOGETHER STAY TOGETHER
This recipe is adapted from my dear friend Jude. When I first met her over 20 years ago, she already had a longtime tradition of making these cookies over Thanksgiving weekend with her best friend. They still do!