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Author Notes: The Holidays are not complete without a day of making cut-out cookies. This is the recipe I have been using for years. The cookie itself is crisp and buttery with a smooth vanilla flavor. I admit that sometimes I stop there and enjoy them as is with some sprinkles, but most of us, especially Santa, prefer them with a thin layer of smooth vanilla icing on top. —Waverly
Makes 3 dozen, more or less depending on the size
Vanilla Ice Box Cookies
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
- 4 cups sifted powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons whole milk, more if needed
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Sprinkles or Colored Sugar in Holiday colors
- MIX THE DRY INGREDIENTS: In a medium sized bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together and then stir to make sure everything is combined.
- CREAM THE WET INGREDIENTS: In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy, at least 5 minutes on MEDIUM speed. Add the egg, vanilla and lemon zest and beat until combined.
- COMBINE THE WET AND DRY INGREDIENTS AND REFRIGERATE: Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir until everything is combined and the batter is smooth. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until slightly chilled, about 30 minutes. Divide the dough in half and roll each half into a 1/4 inch thick disc. Wrap the discs in wax paper, place on a baking sheet and chill for at least 2 hours. This step can be done up to 2 days in advance.
- CUT OUT AND BAKE: Preheat the oven to 350 with the rack in the center. Next, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove the discs from the refrigerator. Use 2-3 inch cookie cutters to cut the dough into festive shapes. Space the cookies about 1-inch apart on the baking sheet. Bake one pan at a time until the cookies are golden around the edges and soft in the center, 10-15 minutes. Let them cool 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- MAKE THE ICING AND THEN ICE THE COOKIES: In a large bowl, combine the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. The icing should be thin but not watery. If the mixture is too thick add small amounts of milk until it looks right. When the cookies are cool, spread a thin layer of icing on top of each cookie. Top each iced cookie with sprinkles or colorful sugar.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Vanilla