Growing up, my mom and dad always made frosted sugar cookies for Christmas. They would make the dough, cut-out the cookies and bake them. Then we would all gather around the kitchen counter to frost and decorate them. Soft, frosted sugar cookies are one of my favorite holiday treats.
This was the first year I actually made rolled sugar cookies myself. It's a bit time consuming, but well worth the effort. These cookies were soft and scented with lots of vanilla and the frosting was buttery and delicious. All my family and friends that tried them really liked them. I would suggest rolling the dough thick if you like soft, pillowy cookies like me.
Soft Rolled Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
In large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix well.
Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add alternately to shortening mixture with milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Cover dough and chill in refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight. (If chilled overnight, let dough sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before rolling out.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On lightly floured surface, roll out dough using floured rolling pin to about 1/4" thickness. Cut with cookie cutters. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets at 350 degrees F for 7-10 minutes until very light golden brown around edges. Let cool on cookie sheets for about a minute, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.
This makes a ton of frosting, so you may want to half it. Also, I know shortening doesn't sound too appetizing, but it really helps with the spreading consistency.
1 cup shortening
5 to 6 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 to 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and butter until fluffy, 5 to6 minutes. Add sugar, and continue creaming until well blended.
Add salt, vanilla, and 4 ounces whipping cream. Blend on low speed until moistened. Add additional 2 ounces whipping cream if necessary. Beat at high speed until frosting is fluffy.