Rolled Sugar Cookies for Easter

For Easter, there is only one cookie tradition that I know of. It is decorated sugar cookies.This year, I have noticed some great new pastel sanding sugars from India Tree  and some fantastic new cookie cutters and “stamps” from Williams Sonoma to help create interesting baskets and eggs. King Arthur Flour also has a cute bunny and lamb shape. But, these ideas are all worthless without the cookie dough. I like my cookies with colored sugars, but they are fun to decorate with Royal Icing or a combination of Royal Icing and sanding sugars.

Rolled Sugar Cookies
Makes about 5 dozen
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 400F. Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

Royal Icing
1 box confectioners’ sugar (1 pound)
5 tablespoons meringue powder or 2 large egg whites

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugar and meringue powder. Mixing on low speed, add scant 1/2 cup water. For a thinner consistency, usually used for flooding, add more water. A thicker consistency is generally used for outlining and adding details. Mix until icing holds a ribbon like trail on the surface of the mixture for 5 seconds when you raise the paddle.