When I was a kid, every holiday - every holiday - was met with the presence of my great-grandmother's sugar cookies. This is her recipe, modified for modern times. Hers called for "lard" or "oleo" and a few other ingredients that we just don't have laying around the kitchen anymore. One note: Using Parkay in the place of butter makes these cookies extra-yummy. I use butter because, after looking into the ingredients in margarine, it's been banned from my fridge. The butter also causes these cookies to not puff up as much as the margarine. I think it's because there isn't any water in the butter.
Now, I make cookies a little differently than everyone else. I absolutely hate the two-bowl method of making anything, so I've devised a way of getting all of the ingredients into the dough without making a huge mess or ruining the chemical reactions that must take place for these cookies to be "puffy".
What you will need:
2 c. granulated sugar
1 c. Butter or Margarine (see my note up above)
1 c. sour cream (you can substitute buttermilk, but you'll need extra flour)
1 tsp. Salt (I use Kosher)
1 tsp. Baking soda
3 tsp. baking powder (make sure it's not super-old!)
1 tsp. Pure vanilla extract (the alcohol will bake out)
1/4 tsp. each of Pure almond extract and Pure lemon extract
4 1/2 - 5 1/2 c. All-Purpose flour (unbleached is better for you!)
5) Set the oven to 400*F. Grease your pans! I put foil on them, too. Can you tell why?
Wilton's Buttercream Icing. I like a nice, thick layer on mine!
Make sure that you let your little ones help decorate them. (And make sure it's not just before bedtime - the sugar will have them bouncing off the walls!)