A staple to the Christmas cookie tray is the sugar cookie. Some prefer their cookie completely crispy, but I like a little tenderness to it. I absolutely insist on using butter rather than a vegetable shortening here! Royal icing works well for a decoration base. You can add sugar crystals and silver balls for additional decoration.
Makes 2 dozen cookies (more if your cookie cutters are smaller)
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup evaporated sugar cane juice
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, mix until just combined. Add flour and baking powder in intervals. Dough may appear dry, but it will combine after you chill it, so keep combining! Divide the dough into four equal parts and shape into four flat circles. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour until firm.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease baking sheets with a little grape seed or vegetable oil or line with parchment paper. Roll out dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper, about 1/3 inch thick. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters and place on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until edges just start to turn golden brown. Remove from oven, cool for one minute and then transfer to wire rack. Allow cookie sheet to cool thoroughly before placing uncooked dough on it. When completely cooled, decorate cookies as desired.
Freeze undecorated for up to 2 months. Dough also freezes well.