I made these for Kian, who doesn't like chocolate cookies (or chocolate at all, for that matter). He likes these very much, and they're popular with Sadie and Shane too. (As for me, I'll stick with the chocolate ones.)
Instead of flavoring these with vanilla or lemon (mmm, lemon) I added a teaspoon of almond extract in with a teaspoon of vanilla.
Click here for cookie decorating tips.
4 Cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon baking powder
1 Cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 Cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 Teaspoons pure vanilla extract, or 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice and zest of 2 lemons
1/4 Cup fine sanding sugar, for decorating (optional)
In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
Use an electric mixer to cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs.
Add flour mixture, and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Stir in vanilla or lemon juice and zest. Wrap dough in plastic; chill for about 30 minutes.
On a floured surface (or sandwiched between sheets of parchment paper), roll dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes. Transfer cut outs to parchment-lined baking sheets and refrigerate until firm, 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
After chilling the cookies and preheating the oven, bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until crisp but not darkened. Cool on wire racks; decorate as desired. Yields about 16 large cookies.
1-pound confectioners' sugar
5 Tablespoons meringue powder
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugar and meringue powder. Mixing on low speed, add a scant 1/2 cup water. For a thinner consistency, usually used for flooding, add more water. A thicker consistency is generally used for outlining and adding details. Mix until icing holds a ribbon-like trail on the surface of the mixture for 5 seconds when you raise the paddle. Yields 2 1/3 cups.