This is my all time favorite recipe for sugar cookies. I love adding the zest of any citrus so don't feel you need to use orange zest because that's what I am using here. If it was May 5th I'd use lime zest and spray the cookies with tequila while I wear a sombrero yelling "Grassyass!"
My point is, use what the hell you want to use. Make them your cookies.
Now get to it and send me pix of your final product, or even better, bring me some.
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
the zest of 1 orange
Sift 2 cups of the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
NOTICE THAT NOT ALL OF THE FLOUR GOES IN!! I have realized that it's up to the pastry gods if you'll actually need all of the flour, so just save that 1/4 cup for later.
Now try and keep up.
Cream the butter, sugar and orange zest till it becomes light and fluffy. You cannot over mix this part, if you are inpatient, just pour yourself a glass of wine or whiskey, you do you and let those ingredient's mix for so long, they become one and you don't know where the butter begins and the orange zest and sugar ends. It should become lighter in color.
Add the egg and mix away, again, let it go, let it mix, mix, mix.
Add the vanilla extract to the milk.
Alternately add the flour mixture and milk to the butter mixture ending with the flour mixture.
Now, for that 1/4 cup of flour, if your cookie dough seems to wet, add 1 Tablespoon of flour at a time till dough holds it's shape. It's really important you don't add too much flour otherwise the cookies will be dry and you'll question what kind of person you are.
Wrap dough with Saran Wrap and let chill in fridge for at least 2 hours or over night.
Let dough sit at room temp for about 5 minutes before rolling out on a floured surface and cut out in desired shapes.
I used a heart shape for Valentine's Day. Ground breaking isn't it?
Bake at 350 degrees on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper 8 -12 minutes.
I like to take the cookies out when they look like they need about 1 more minute of baking (looks just a little soft in the center of the cookie) this will ensure that the cookies stay a little soft, like my soul. Let cool and store in an airtight container until ready to frost.
I like using a soft frosting for these cookies. You use what you want.
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup organic shortening
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon meringue powder
1/4 cup milk or water (you might not need all of this so pay attention and try to keep up)
Cream the butter, salt and shortening together till there are no clumps
Add the vanilla and mix well
Add the meringue powder and mix well
Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time mixing very well after each addition. Add 1 tablespoon of milk or water, whichever one you decided to use too thin it out as needed.
You want to be careful to not over add the liquid here because once you've added too much and it's too loose, no amount of powdered sugar can bring it back and then you just have an overly sweetened mess. (Overly Sweetened Mess is my stage name)
Once the cookies have completely cooled, frost and decorate however you see fit.
This is how I see fit.