Butter Cookies

 From Toba Garrett's book Creative Cookies.

Butter cookies:

1 cup unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon baking powder

a teaspoon vanilla

3 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out

Preheat oven to 350*.  in a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy, scraping down bowl as needed.  Beat in egg and mix until well combined.  Sift together baking powder and flour.  Add flour mixture to butter & sugar 1 cup at a time and mix thoroughly; mix last cup in by hand.  Divide dough into two balls and wrap one ball in plastic wrap until ready to use.  On a floured surface, roll out the other ball until about 1/8" (0.3 cm) thick.  Cut cookies out with cookie cutter and transfer onto ungreased cookie sheet or a parchment lined half sheet pan.  Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until edges of cookies begin to brown lightly.  Let cookies rest on cookie sheet until ready to use.

My hints on these are to try not to overwork the dough.  If the dough becomes too soft, stick it in the freezer for a minute.  I've also tried rolling the dough out and putting the entire sheet of dough directly on a rim-less cookie sheet and then cutting the shapes directly on the pan and removing the excess (this is a good method if the shapes are warping when you transfer them to the sheet).

Glace icing:

1 lb confectioners' sugar

3/8 cup milk

3/8 cup light corn syrup

flavor options: 1 tsp concentrated extract, 1 tablespoon alcohol or liqueur or 2 to 3 drops concentrated candy oil.

In a mixing bowl thoroughly mix sugar and milk first.  The icing should be very soft and should have a heavy cream consistency.  Add corn syrup and mix until just combined.  Divide the icing into several bowls and flavor and color each bowl as desired.  Cover bowls with plastic wrap when not in use.

Glace outline icing:

1/2 cup glace icing

6 to 8 heaping tablespoons confectioners' sugar. 

Mix until well combined.  The icing should be very stiff; if it is not stiff enough, add more confectioners' sugar until you have a medium consistency.

To decorate cookies:

Outline cookies with glace outing icing using a piping bag and a size 1 tip (aka a pretty small tip).  Allow to dry slightly.  Make a parchment or wax paper cone (see attachment) and fill with selected glace icing.  Cut off tip of cone and pipe/flow glace icing into the outline on cookie.  Allow to dry (takes a few hours; will take longer in humid climates).