On the heels of lefse-making, our OTHER favorite Christmas traditions is making and decorating cutout cookies. We've done this for almost 20 years, and the kids STILL love it. I like my sister Katherine's recipe the best, for making the rolled cookies. They are buttery and not too sweet, perfect for topping with icing. I believe she got this recipe from her mother in law, a truly decadent baker.
1 1/2 c butter, soft
3/4 c sugar
3 1/3 c flour
Mix in large mixing bowl at low speed. Roll out 3/8 inches thick, cut into desired shapes Bake at 300 for 20-25 min (ours never go that long, so watch for browning). If dough doesn't stick together, add drops of evap. milk or half and half.
Icing: Mix about a bag a powdered sugar with 1 stick of soft butter (or less) Add small amounts of milk until it is a smooth (not too thick) consistency. Add 1-2 tsp. almond flavoring, the secret of cutout cookie deliciousness. Divide up into bowls and stir in food coloring (red, green, blue, yellow, leave one bowl with white). Have colorful sprinkles on hand, along with toothpicks and small plastic knives for swirling designs around. Give each person a paper plate to work over, to keep the sprinkles from going EVERYWHERE.
Hint: Toothpicks make great decorating tools: you can dip one in frosting, then touch a sprinkle and it sticks to it! Then you can place those itty bitty sprinkles in perfect places to make stunningly perfect patterns. Your friends will be wowed. When you get sick of such attention to detail, then just sprinkle away. It's all good.
Wish I had a picture to post of some our best creations--there have been some that were fit for the Smithsonian. Then there were others that were so muddled with every color imaginable, we just had to eat them right away, with a glass of cold milk.
Best Cookie Wishes,