Let's start with the best part first . . .
My Favorite Sugar Cookie Frosting
1 C Butter, room temp
1 8 oz. brick Cream Cheese, room temp
1 Tbsp Vanilla
Slowly stir in:
1 2-pound bag bag Powdered Sugar
Frosting should be soft and creamy, so watch closely as you add the powdered sugar and stop adding sugar before the frosting starts to get too 'stiff.'
2-3 drops red food coloring (for Valentine hearts)
1-3 tsp Almond Extract (Add, stir and taste, add, stir and taste. I like lots. Your tongue may be more wimpy.)
Cover with plastic wrap and hide it from yourself and the kids in fridge just while you bake your cookies. Don't leave for too long in the fridge! It will get too firm. (Great for eating with a spoon but not good for spreading on cookies.)
Amazingly Easy Sugar Cookies:
2 Cups Margarine (sticks not tub)
Do NOT try to get fancy and substitute butter. Trust me: this time butter is NOT better.
2 Cups Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla
2 large eggs
Stir together dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture:
4 tsp baking powder (not soda)
1 tsp salt
5-6 Cups flour (watch dough texture during addition of last cup, you may only need 5-ish cups flour)
Roll out to about 1/4" thickness and cut with cookie cutters. This dough does not have to be chilled. You will love how easy it is to work with! (I roll them out on parchment paper, which makes the cut cookies easy to lift to cookie sheet.)
Bake at 400 degrees for 6-7 minutes. If you like soft cookies, under-bake (large, thick cookies: 6-7 mins, smaller, thinner cookies: 5 minutes).
*I also bake these on parchment paper. Use a flat (no edges) cookie sheet. This way, you can use the parchment to slide the hot cookies quickly off the cookie sheet and onto the counter so the hot cookie sheet doesn't continue baking them. If you like crisp cookies, you wouldn't need to do this.
(My local grocer's bakery sells me sheets of parchment paper, cheap, cheap, cheap. Ask around.)
Wait until the cookies cool to frost them. As your cookies sit, the frosting will form a slightly crisp 'crust', but underneath that crust will be dreamy, creamy lusciousness that surprises and delights on first bite. If you're going to add sprinkles of any kind, it's important to shake them on quickly, before the frosting dries.
WARNING: Do not make these cookies when no one else is home. You will eat the first batch all by yourself and then be forced to make another batch to cover your tracks. I've grown out of several wardrobes this way.
(Photo from google images. Thanks! to whoever shot it.)