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Mom's Sugar Cookies

Nancy Rullo won second place in 1990 for her beautiful Santa Claus cutout cookies made from this basic dough and a cream-cheese frosting. Rullo wrote that as children, she and her brother used to help cut out the Santa Claus shapes and watch them bake.

  • Chilling time: 2 to 3 hours
  • Yield: About 4 dozen cookies



  • 1 Cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 11/2 Cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 Teaspoon almond extract
  • 21/2 Cups flour
  • 1 Teaspoon each: baking soda, cream of tartar


  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 Cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 Teaspoon vanilla
  • Milk
  • Food coloring as desired


1. Cream butter, sugar, egg, vanilla and almond extract in large mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in flour, baking soda and cream of tartar until mixed. Divide dough in half. Cover and refrigerate dough 2 to 3 hours.

(Dough can be refrigerated up to several days; soften slightly before rolling out.)

2. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Have lightly greased baking sheets ready.

3. Roll out half of dough on lightly floured surface to almost 1/4-inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out desired shapes. Place cookies 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake until light brown on edges, 7 to 8 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

4. For frosting, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in small bowl until smooth. Beat in milk until spreading consistency. Add food coloring as desired.

5. Use frosting to decorate cookies. Let stand until frosting sets.