I first made these sugar cookies last year, and they are absolutely delicious! I have since used this recipe a few other times for cut-out cookies and it never fails me. Perfect, soft, easy-to-work-with sugar cookies! The hint of lemon in the cookies keeps them from being too sweet.
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp finely shredded lemon peel
3 1/2 cups flour**
Meringue Powder Icing
**Note that the original recipe only calls for 2 1/2 cups of flour - I find that I need 3 1/2 cups each time I make them.
In a large mixing bowl beat butter with electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and dash salt; beat until combined. Beat in sour cream, egg, vanilla, and lemon peel. Beat in as much of the flour as you can. Stir in remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Cover; chill for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375°. On a well-floured surface roll half of the dough at a time to a 1/8 - 1/4" thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut into desired shapes. Place cutouts 1" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake in preheated oven for 7-8 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to wire racks; cool.
Spread cooled cookies with Meringue Powder Icing; let dry completely. Using a small clean paintbrush, paint designs on each cookie with food coloring.
CREDIT: Better Homes & Gardens Special Interest Publication - "100 Best Cookies - Our Most Popular Holiday Recipes", p.69, c. 2007