The Best Christmas Cookies in the World

I've been eating these awesome German sugar cookies for the past 14 years and my mother-in-law gave me the green light to share the recipe with the HerKentucky readers.  The dough is very easy to work with and doesn't have to be refrigerated.  They aren't too sweet (a quality best reserved for icing) and are hearty enough to withstand mountains of buttercream frosting.

1 cup of softened butter
1 cup of sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3 cups of sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of salt

Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Blend in vanilla extract.  In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, blending well.  Roll dough about 1/4 inches thick on lightly floured surface.  Cut with floured 2 inch floured cookie cutters.  Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from baking sheets and cool on racks.  Makes 6 dozen cookies.

1/2 cup of Crisco
1/2 cup of softened butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla
4 cups of powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of whole milk

Cream together butter and Crisco in a large bowl with an electric mixer.  Add vanilla.  Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed.  Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often.  When all the sugar has been mixed in, the icing will appear dry.  Add milk and beat at a high speed until light and fluffy.  Keep icing covered with a damp cloth & in the refrigerator until you are ready to decorate.  I prefer Wilton paste food colors (they are highly concentrated and therefore produce very vivid colors) and it is worth the trouble to use frosting tips and pastry bags.
The finished product:

Merry Christmas, y'all!  May the season fill your home with joy, your heart with love, and your life with laughter.