3 c all purpose flour
½ lb butter, room temperature
1 tsp salt
1 tbs vanilla extract
1 c granulated sugar
Helpful but not necessary: 3 sheets parchment paper
Set the oven to 350ºF and line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Put to the side.
With either a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. (It will start to change to a lighter color and grow in volume!)
Turn the mixer off, scrape down the sides of the bowl, turn it on to low and add vanilla and eggs. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and continue to mix until fully incorporated.
Gradually add the flour mixture a cup at a time and mix on low or low-medium until the dough starts to pull from the edges into a ball around the beater. Note that you may need more flour; I like to say that if your dough is sticky, there’s not enough flour. Add ¼ c at a time until you get the right consistency, it’s pulled away from the edges of the bowl, and is no longer sticky – be careful not to over-mix!
Lay out a sheet of parchment paper on your counter for easy clean-up! Taking about a softball-sized ball of dough from the batch, roll it between the two pieces of parchment paper with your rolling pin so it is about ¼” thick. Dip your cookie cutters in fresh flour before cutting for cleanest cutting results!
Place the cut cookies onto a baking sheet. Fill the sheet with about 1” between each cookie. Refrigerate the sheet for 2 hours or pop it into the freezer for 30 minutes. (This will help prevent your cookies from expanding in the oven.) Then insert it into the oven for 9-12 minutes. For crispier cookies, when they start to brown on the edges you can take them out. (You’ll know the cookies are near done when you can smell them!) Once out of the oven, let them cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then move cookies to a cooling rack until cool. Enjoy!
PRO TIP for soft cookies:
Do you prefer a softer cookie? Pro Tip: At the 9-minute-mark of baking your cookies, if you try nudging one of the cookies on the baking sheet while it’s still in the oven and it glides, your cookies are fully baked, even if their edges haven’t begun to brown! If the cookie you nudge sticks to the sheet though, they’re not done yet. Be patient, it’ll be worth the wait!
5 TBS meringue powder
1 TBS vanilla extract
1 C water
2 lbs powdered sugar
Tools: stand mixer (recommended) or hand mixer
Add meringue powder, vanilla and the water to the mixing bowl. Use whisk attachment and mix on medium for 1-2 minutes, or until frothy.
Switch to paddle attachment. Add 1/3 of the powdered sugar at a time, and mix on low to medium to fully incorporate. Stop mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl down as needed. When icing starts to thicken, you can turn the speed up to medium/medium-high for 1-2 minutes. You want the icing fully incorporated and thick. Sometimes you may need to mix for up to 3 minutes. Do not overmix.
PRO TIP: how to thicken/thin out your icing
To thicken, you can add more powdered sugar. To thin, you can add more water.
PRO TIP: food coloring
It is recommended to use gel or powdered food coloring to get the highest concentration of color and to not affect the consistency of the icing. Adding liquid food coloring will likely not be as concentrated in color and may make your icing more liquid than you desire.