Christmas Sugar Cookies

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at 5815 Velasco, thanks to my husband's very enthusiastic Christmas spirit and the hours he spent on the lights. Christmas lights, Christmas tree, Christmas all we need is Christmas sugar cookies! The Christmas staple, the cookie that every household must have during the holiday season. The truth is that the search for the perfect sugar cookie is about as challenging as getting people to follow me on this blog. Which is hard, by the way.

Anyway - crispy, soft, chewy, crunchy - sugar cookies come in many shapes and textures. And everyone likes theirs differently, like pizza crust. I, for one, am a firm believer in chewy (or soft...), I guess soft, sugar cookies. I still haven't really figured out the difference in the two textures. These are definitely soft.

I won't claim this is the perfect sugar cookie, because I have not tried all 4,567,782,001 sugar cookie recipes out there. If I had, I would have to believe these are in the top 10. I have tried a lot of recipes, and these are my favorite so far. Very soft, flavorful, and cute, if you decorate them.

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 jumbo eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

4 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened
3 teaspoons vanilla
1/2-3/4 cup milk
Food coloring

Start by creaming the sugar and butter.  Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Gradually mix it into the butter mixture, and stir just until combined. Over mixing will make the cookies less soft.
Wrap the dough in saran wrap, and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. You can skimp on this a little, but I will tell you it is much easier to work with when it's cold.

When the dough is nice and chilled, remove it from the fridge and let it rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, flour a flat surface, and get your rolling pin and cookie cutters ready.
Preheat the oven to 375.

Now: the key to softness. DO NOT ROLL THE DOUGH OUT TOO THIN. Seriously, roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thick. 
Then, use your favorite little cookie cutters (I got mine at Williams-Sonoma), and place the cut-out dough on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Bake at 375 for 7 minutes. They should be slightly underdone. This is a good, magical thing. It will guarantee chewiness. If they look WAY underdone, keep them in for 8 minutes. I can't hold your hand through this one, use your own judgment. See how puffy those look?
Next, on to the icing. Cream the powdered sugar, butter, and 1/2 cup of the milk in a large mixing bowl (I like to use a hand mixer for icing). Add the vanilla. Slowly add a little more milk, until the frosting reaches a thick, creamy consistency.  If desired, divide up the frosting to make colored variations. You probably should, it is Christmas after all. Then, decorate your heart out. I used red and green sprinkles, black and red frosting gel, and colored sprinkles for the snowman noses.
  Oh and coconut for the snowflakes.

If I were 6, that red ginger man would have been left for Santa. Now that I'm 28, screw Santa. I'm eating my favorite one.