I bought these cute little cookies cutters last year and decided it was about time we used them, especially now that they're in season.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (I've never added this because I don't have any. So if you don't either don't worry. They'll still taste yummy.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups flour
Combine shortening, sugar, and eggs. Beat well. (Cookie tip #1 - I took a cooking class in college and learned that to have a nice soft chewy cookie it's important to cream the fat, sugar, eggs and flavoring long enough to dissolve the sugar completely. As the sugar dissolves, it is converted into a liquid. This adds moisture to the batter which caramelizes during baking. Creaming also allows the lecithin in the egg to act as an emulsifier between the fat and the liquid. I usually mix them together for several minutes in my Kitchen-aid. You'll know it's been mixed enough when it looks light and fluffy.) Blend in milk, vanilla and lemon flavoring. Combine dry ingredients and add to batter. Do not over mix. (Cookie tip #2 - It's important to add the dry ingredients at the end of the mixing period and avoid overmixing. Too much mixing builds up the gluten in the flour. The leavening can't be effective and the texture will be gummy instead of tender.) Add additional flour if needed to form a very soft dough (I probably added an extra 1/4 cup). Cover and refrigerate for one hour. Roll 1/4" thick on floured surface. Cut into desired shapes. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-9 minutes. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Of course decorating them is the best part. We just used store bought frosting. I bought white and then used food coloring to add some variety. My daughter decided she wanted purple, pink and green. We put the different colors into ziploc bags and sniped off a corner so we could pipe the frosting.
And then of course you have to add the sprinkles. Yummy!