We used to make sugar cookies just around Christmastime, like loads and loads and loads of them, and we would wrap them up and give them to our neighbors and leave them for Santa and it was always my favorite part of holiday baking. Then I realized that they are so easy to make and found some really fun cookie cutters on Etsy that we started making them all the time. They are definitely a treat, these are not healthy in the least (the icing is literally just whole milk, confectioners sugar and food coloring) but the kids LOVE making them and they always come out so cute. Plus I love that we get to make something to share with neighbors. The best part is that these are quick to make, which isn't something you expect from make your own cut out cookies, but with this recipe you don't need to chill it at all and they bake in under 10 minutes. Give them a few minutes to cool and you are all ready to ice them. We like to pile a few in a stack, wrap them with brightly colored tissue paper, tie them up with a bow and hand deliver them.
1 cup butter (you can slightly melt it in the microwave or on the stovetop to make creaming it easier with the sugar) 1 cup sugar 1 large egg 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 teaspoons baking powder 2 3⁄4 cups flour
Preheat over to 400 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar using a hand held mixer. Add in the egg and vanilla. Mix all dry ingredients separately first and then add slowly to the butter cream mixture until well mixed. The cookie batter can be a little granular at this point, just knead it with your hands until balls form that you can roll out. Sometimes I add a few sprinkles of water to the dough balls to make them stick together better but don't over water them. Roll out on lightly floured board to desired thickness (we usually make them pretty thin, maybe 1/4 inch or so). Cut out shapes using cookie cutters and bake at 400 degrees for 7- 10 minutes or until they are light in color with light browning on the edges. keep reading for the icing recipe...
Take a bag of confectioners sugar and dump it in a bowl. Add a tablespoon of whole milk at a time, beat with a hand mixer until it reaches a consistency less thick than paste but thicker than the milk itself. The recipe just like this makes a pretty white (like the bunnies pictured above) or you can separate it into a few different bowls, add a few drops of food coloring (or more depending on what color you want, but stir in a few drops at a time to see how the colors turn out) to make every color of the rainbow. You can also ice half, let them dry a little and ice the other half (like the carrots). The beautiful 3 pictured above is a Jack creation, who wanted cookies instead of cake for his birthday.
This is where the kids really love the process, we lay out big sheets of wax paper on the dining room table, bowls of different sprinkles, and let them decorate them however they want. It doesn't matter if they get a little messy on the wax paper, just let them dry there and then use a butter knife to easily trim off any excess icing edges once dry.