This is the best recipe* for cut-out sugar cookies. It's from an old cookbook my aunt gave me many years ago called "Palette to Palate." Before we delve into the recipe, take a look at the Silpat on my much-loved
Silpat is one of the seven wonders of France. It's a washable, reusable silicone pan liner for baking. Through some kind of scientific miracle, it withstands heat to prevent food from sticking and results in even browning. Many, many parchment trees will be saved due to my discovery of this wonder. So, many thanks to my darling, beloved Aunt Sharon for sending it to me. You are a rock star, baby. Onto the deliciousness:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar)
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
Granulated or colored sugar
Extra powdered sugar for frosting
Note: Oh, yes, extra powdered sugar for frosting because there is not enough p. sugar already in this.
Combine flour, cream of tartar and baking soda in a small bowl; set aside. In a large bowl, cream 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in egg and flavorings (vanilla, almond extracts - if you dislike almond extract or can't use it, double vanilla). Stir in the flour mixture. Cover and refrigerate 3 hours.
Divide dough into halves and shape into a large patty (it will seem hard but it softens up quickly). Roll each half about 3/16-inch thick on lightly floured cloth-covered board (I used another Silpat I have that is for rolling; you can also just use flour-covered waxed paper). Cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Sprinkle with granulated sugar, if desired, or leave plain and decorate after baking.
Place on parchment (or Silpat) -lined cookie sheet. Bake in pre-heated 375 degree oven until edges are lightly brown, only 7-8 minutes. Remove from oven; place on wire rack to cool.
If frosting is desired (I desire), just mix a cup of powdered sugar with a little milk until it is the proper consistency (unlike cake frosting, it will be thinner but not so thin it runs off the cookie). Sprinkle while frosting is wet.
Now, try very hard not to eat so many that you have to make another batch before the band concert which is where they are supposed to go. Enjoy!
*Technically, my mom makes the all-time best sugar cookies but they call for shortening and I just can't eat nearly as many thinking about all that shortening.