Classic Sugar Cookies

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      Classic Sugar Cookies
      1-1/2 cups sugar
      2/3 cup shortening or butter
      2 eggs
      2 tbs milk
      1 tsp vanilla extract
      3-1/4 cups flour
      2-1/2 tsp baking powder
      1/2 tsp salt
      Early in the day or the day before: In a large bowl cream the shortening and the sugar. Add the eggs, extract, and milk. In a medium bowl mix the dry ingredients with a wire whisk. Add the dry ingredients to the large bowl. Mix with mixer until well combined. With hands, shape dough into a ball. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.
      Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease cookie sheets.
      Roll half or 1/3 dough at a time, keep the rest refrigerated. For crisp cookies, roll dough, paper thin. For softer cookies, roll 1/8″ to 1/4″ thick.
      With floured cookie cutter, cut into shapes. Re-roll trimmings and cut. Place cookies 1/2 inch apart on cookie sheets. Decorate. Bake 8 minutes or until very light brown. With pancake turner, remove cookies to racks. Cool. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.
      Peel off the now top sheet of waxed paper and the dough is ready to cut with cookie cutters. Collect the dough scraps in a plastic baggie so they don’t dry out, re-roll when you have enough for a large sheet. I reuse some of the waxed paper sheets for re-rolling the scraps. Take a portion of the dough out and put the rest back in the refrigerator so as not to let the dough to get to room temperature. Let the piece working with, warm slightly but keeping beneath room temperature. Experiment with different lengths of time of warming until the best temperature is found the easiest to work with.

      To decorate with colored sugars: Prepare cookies by brushing with heavy cream or an egg white slightly beaten with 1 tbs of water. Sprinkle with decorative toppings.

      To decorate with food colors: Mix 1 egg yolk and 1/4 tsp water. Divide mixture among several custard cups. Tint each with different food color to make bright colors. (If paint thickens while standing, stir in a few drops of water.) Paint designs on cookies with small paint brushes.

      Makes 36 cookies
      clock smilie

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