Makes 20-25 medium (3-4 inch) cookies
For the cookies:
4 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cocoa powder
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg, vanilla and sour cream until well blended. Stir in the sifted ingredients. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes (can be chilled over night if needed).
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 1/2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 11 to 14 minutes in the preheated oven – cookies should not be golden on top – you want them to be set but still a bit soft. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Chocolate Variation: Substitute 1/2 cup of flour with 1/2 cup of cocoa powder.
For the icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
In a small bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup. A good way to tell if icing is too thick or thin is to dip your finger into the icing and create a small “peak” when you remove it. The peak should disappear back into the icing in 10 seconds. Less than 10 – too thin – more than 10 – too thick!
Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity and decorate! If icing layers of colors – allow 10-15 minutes of drying time between each layer.
After icing allow to sit out on racks until icing hardens – about 12 hours.