Sugar Cookie Standouts
- In a large mixing bowl beat butter on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, milk, and, vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill dough for 2 to 3 hours or until easy to handle.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll half the dough at a time to 1/8 inch thickness. Using a 2-1/2-inch cookie cutter, cut into desired shapes. Sprinkle with edible glitter, sparkling sanding sugar, or granulated sugar, if desired. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
- Bake in a 375 degree oven for 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are firm and very lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Makes about 36 cookies.
From the Test Kitchen
Prepare as above, except use a 3 1/2-inch scalloped square-shaped cutter to cut dough. Use a 2-inch alphabet-shaped cutter to cut desired letter out of center of half the cookie cutouts. Bake and cool as above (bake letter cutouts as above and decorate as desired). Before serving, spread 1 teaspoon of seedless raspberry jam over each uncut cookie. Top with remaining cookies with center cutouts to create sandwich cookies. Makes about 14 sandwich cookies.
Prepare as above, except do not divide dough in half. Tint one-third of the dough red with 3/4 teaspoon liquid red food coloring before chilling. On a lightly floured surface form a mound by dropping small amounts of each of the doughs close together in a random pattern. Gently shape the mound into a ball. Divide in half. Cover and chill until easy to handle. Roll, cut and bake as above, except use 3-inch alphabet-shaped cutters. Gently gather scraps of dough together to reroll.
Prepare as above, except reduce granulated sugar to 1/2 cup. Add 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves with the sugar. Roll, cut, and bake as above except use a 4-inch hexagonal-shaped or round cutter. Use Powdered Sugar Icing to pipe snowflake design on cooled cookies. Makes about 20.
Prepare as above, except reduce sugar to 1/2 cup. Add 2 teaspoons ground ginger with the sugar. Omit the milk and beat in 1/4 cup honey with the egg and vanilla. Roll, cut and bake as directed above, except use a 3-1/4- to 3-1/2-inch hexagonal-shaped cutter and decrease baking time to 6 to 7 minutes per batch. Decorate as desired.
Powdered Sugar Icing
- In a small bowl stir together powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. If necessary, add milk, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, to reach piping or spreading consistency. (Or, stir together 1/2 cup purchased vanilla icing and enough milk to reach piping or spreading consistency.) Makes 1/2 cup.