Traditional Sugar Cookies

It's day two of the week o' cookie making. Next up: my all-time favorite frosted sugar cookies.

If I were stranded on a desert island and could only have one cookie with me, it would have to be these babies. (Although the chocolate toffee cookies I tried recently would be a very close second.) Sugar cookies might taste a little strange with the pina coladas I would undoubtedly be sipping on my desert island, but I could deal with it because they're so darn good. (Wait. You wouldn't be eating sugar cookies and drinking pina coladas while stranded on a desert island? Then what the heck would you be doing?)

Although the sugar cookie and pina colada duo may leave something to be desired, I can attest to the fact that fresh sugar cookies with lots of tasty frosting are about the best thing you could eat with your morning cup of coffee. Trust me, I know. I made sure that recommendation was accurate by trying it two ... OK, you got me ... three times this morning.

OK, OK. So you're sick of my rambling and want the recipe already. I'm more than happy to oblige. Just watch out: Once you start eating these treats, you won't be able to stop.

Traditional Sugar Cookies
Makes approximately 4 dozen 3-inch cookies (which might be enough for your coffee breaks)

The merry ingredients:
3/4 c. shortening (I usually do part softened butter, part shortening)
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

The festive steps:
Mix thoroughly shortening, sugar, eggs, flavoring. Blend in flour, baking powder, salt. Cover; chill at least 1 hour. Taste test dough to make sure it's yummy enough.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Roll dough 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured cloth-covered board. (In my world, the thicker the dough the better.) Cut into desired shapes.

Place on ungreased baking sheet (again, parchment paper is great). Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until very light brown (in our ancient, super-powered oven, I only bake them for 5 1/2 minutes).

While cookies cool ...

... make vanilla butter frosting. (This recipe makes enough for about a double batch of cookies, so unless you really go overboard with the frosting, you'll want to half this.) Blend 1/3 cup soft butter with 3 cups confectioner's sugar. Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and about 2 tablespoons milk; beat until frosting is smooth and of spreading consistency. Then don't forget to add the food coloring!

Now all that's left is the decorating. Have some fun here, folks. And don't forget to "accidentally" break a few as you're frosting. Since you can't give away broken cookies, you'll have to go ahead and eat them. It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it.

Just watch out for curious dogs who have a sweet tooth. This fellow seen streaking through the picture here actually spent the majority of my cookie frosting time sitting as close to me as he could get, looking up at the cookies longingly and drooling all over my leg. At one point I actually had to stop frosting to wipe up the puddle of drool on the floor so I didn't slip on it.

Lucky for him, one cookie slipped out of my hand and he got to try it out.

And no, I don't know how he had green frosting matted on his head when we got up this morning. I hope he wasn't stealing cookies while we slept.


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