Decorated Sugar Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Icing, sprinkles, candies and decorations

Beat together butter and sugar. Add sour cream, eggs and vanilla, beat well. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour.

Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with floured cookie cutter shapes. Place on un-greased cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes (cookie will be a very light tan on bottom). Remove to wire cooling rack. Ice when cooled.

Decorative Icing
3 level tablespoons meringue powder
4 cups (1 pound) sifted powder sugar
6 tablespoons water
Paste or gel food coloring (recommended)

Beat all ingredients at low speed 6-8 minutes (8-10 minutes on high using hand held mixer). Divide icing into small bowls and add desired paste or gel color. Liquid food color is not as brilliant and will dilute icing.

Thin icing with a little water (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon water to every 1/4 cup icing), a few drops at a time until icing will not run, but is not stiff enough to stand (or make royal icing flowers and figures).

Icing crusts quickly, keep bowls and bag tips covered when not in use.

Outline cookie with desired color and allow it to dry a few minutes. To fill outline with color, icing may be diluted slightly with additional water (1-2 drops at a time). Icing should not run, but will lose shape and gently flow into outline.

To prevent colors bleeding into each other, allow icing to dry 2-3 hours before adding second color.

Use disposable frosting bags. Do not use a decorating tip. Fill frosting bag, clip a small hole in end. Use tip of bag to help spread or flow color into desired area.

Add candies or sprinkle with course colored sugar before icing crusts.

Allow cookies to dry 24 hours.

Enjoy with a glass of milk

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