This is the same basic recipe that my Mom used all my growing up years. It is quite easy to make, with a few secrets to help make it even better. Be aware that the pictures were taken when I was making a triple batch for a Cub Scout Activity. (I needed over 90 cookies). The recipe you see is for a single batch, which will make somewhere around 36 cookies, depending on size and shape.
1 cup margarine (I used butter flavored shortening)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. Mexican Vanilla (If you can’t go to Mexico to get the wonderful real thing, then go to your local, Mexican Market and get what they have there. It will work great!)
3 ½ cups flour
2 tsp. Cream of Tartar
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
Décors (you know, jimmies, colored sugar, etc.)
Mixer with mixing bowl (I have a Bosch bread Mixer with cookie paddles)
Strips of cardboard (wrapped in plastic wrap)
Cookie cutters (I used a 3 ¼ inch circle)
Spatula (like a pancake turner)
In your mixing bowl, cream the margarine and sugar. (Beat until the sugar is less gritty. About 5 minutes.)
Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
Mix in the dry ingredients. (If you don’t have a stand mixer, use a wooden spoon to mix in the dry ingredients, a hand mixer doesn’t have the power mix to do it well. So your strong arms will do just fine.)
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for, at least, 2 hours (overnight works too.)
Preheat oven to 350Ì.
Roll out the dough ¼ inch thick. Here is how I do that. I liberally sprinkle the counter top with flour. I put the two pieces of card board (wrapped in plastic wrap) on the flour with space between then, a little less wide than the rolling pin. I grab a hand full of dough and put the rest back in the fridge (keep it cold and you will need less flour to handle it). Make a smooth paddy of the dough and cover it with flour.
Roll out the dough with the rolling pin.
The two pieces of cardboard keeps the rolling pin from rolling the dough to less than ¼ inch thick. This makes for more consistent thickness and a softer cookie.
Cut out the dough with cookie cutters. (Use a spatula to lift the cookie from the counter to the cookie sheet.)
Once your cookie sheet is full, bake it for 8 minutes.
Once you remove the cookies from the oven, let set for 2 more minutes before you remove them from the pan
and place them on the cooling racks.
Once they are cool you can frost them and decorate them.
You have many choices for frosting. Buy a premade tub of frosting or make your own from any recipe you have. You know what you like.
I used plain vanilla frosting and a stencil I created with my personal electronic cutter. I frosted the cookie, laid the stencil on top of the frosting
and shook the décors on to the negative space left by the stencil. Remove the stencil, and you are done. Or just frost the cookie and decorate any way you great big heart desires.
Yum! Good! (Follow-up, the Cub Scouts had lots of fun decorating the cookies, so the activity was a great success!)