World Famous Paradise Bakery Sugar Cookies with Magnolia Bakery Buttercream Frosting

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1cup granulated sugar
1cup powdered sugar
2cups vegetable shortening
¾teaspoon vanilla
1large egg, beaten
4⅓cups cake flour
¾teaspoon baking soda
¾teaspoon baking powder
¼teaspoon salt
3tsp. orange zest (not flavoring) optional


1) Preheat oven to 375°. 2) In a medium bowl, cream together the sugars and shortening using an electric mixer. 3) Mix on slow speed 30 seconds, then scrape down the bowl with a spatula. 4) Increase speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes. 5) Slowly add vanilla and beaten egg while mixing. 6) In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl, mixing on slow speed until just blended. Do not overmix. 7) Scoop with an ice-cream scoop if decorating with sugar only. 8) Place directly on cookie sheet. 9) Bake at 375° for 9-10 minutes. Cookies are done when small cracks appear and are pale golden. Ideally, the edges do not brown. *+VARIATION FOR CUTOUT COOKIES:+* 7b) If making cut out cookies form dough in to 2 balls, chill dough in refrigerator for at least 2 hours covered. 9) Roll out dough on floured surface and cut out cookies with desired shaped cookie cutters. If dough is too moist sprinkle small amount of flour directly on rolled dough 9) Place directly on cookie sheet. 10) Bake at 375° for 9-10 minutes. Cookies are done when small cracks appear and are pale golden. Ideally, the edges do not brown. 11) Decorate with Buttercream Frosting or Sugar (See recipe below). *+Magnolia Bakery Buttercream Frosting:+* 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened 6 to 8 cups confectioners' sugar 1/2 cup milk 2 teaspoons vanilla extract Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. *+Important Note:+* I have made these cookies several times lately experimented with different amounts of cake flour since their seems to be some confusion over what the correct amount really is. Here is the conclusion that I have drawn. If you are using Cake Flour which I strongly suggest I would use 4 1/3 cups. I would chill them for at least 2 hours prior to baking. If you must use all purpose flour I would use 3 1/2 cups and chill for at least 2 hours. I have made these cookies with 3 1/2 cups cake flour and if your making drop cookies without chilling they spread too thin.
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