Okay, so I'm breaking down and letting you all in on the secret recipe for my cutout cookies... But, that only means that I'm expecting to see some in the mail every now and then, as a thank you! ;-P
I can't remember where exactly I found the base recipe for these cookies, but I was immediately drawn to them, as I find regular sugar cookies to be more than a little on the gross side. The thing I like most about these cookies is that they are nice, thick cookies and so they stay soft when you bake them. Additionally, I LOVE frosting, so it's nice to have a thicker cookie that can stand up to all of the frosting. :-)
1 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. almond extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder
1 c. ground almonds
Almond Buttercream Frosting, recipe follows
Colored sugar, optional
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in egg yolks and extract. Combine flour, salt and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in ground almonds. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.
Roll out on a lightly floured surface to ⅜-inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters; place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake cookies at 375° for 10-13 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown. Cool on wire racks. Frost and sprinkle with colored sugar, if desired. Yield: 2-4 dozen cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutters
Almond Buttercream Frosting:
½ c. solid vegetable shortening
½ c. (1 stick) butter or margarine softened
1 tsp. almond extract
Splash of vanilla extract
4 c. (approximately 1 lb.) sifted confectioners' sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. Makes 3 cups of frosting
For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.
For thin (spreading) consistency icing, add 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk.