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1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Divide dough in half. If necessary, cover and chill about 30 minutes or until dough is easy to handle.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough at a time to 1/8- to 1/4-inch thickness. Using desired cookie cutter, cut dough into shapes. Place 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
3. Bake for 7 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are very lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack; cool.
4. If desired, prepare Royal Icing or Powdered Sugar Icing. Spread and/or pipe the icing (if using) onto cookies. If desired, top iced cookies with sprinkles and/or candies.
1. In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and vanilla. Stir in enough milk until icing reaches spreading consistency. If desired, tint with paste food coloring.
1. In a large mixing bowl stir together powdered sugar, meringue powder, and cream of tartar. Add warm water and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined. Beat on high speed for 7 minutes or until stiff. Cover bowl with damp paper towels and plastic wrap. Chill for up to 48 hours.