I know, we have way too many traditions at our house! I think I overcompensate for all the moving around we do by attempting to have certain things that are the same, no matter where we are living at the time. It also helps keep me entertained, truth be told.
When our first hooligan started kindergarten, my GI Joe was deployed, so I was at home with 5-, 3-, and 1-year-old kids. Why did I think it was a good idea to make school bus sugar cookies for the first day of school? Who knows? I was probably in a befuddled state from exhaustion. Whatever the reason, the kids remembered…and have expected them every year since. Fortunately, the first couple of years, they asked me that morning if I’d have their cookies after school, so I had all day to get them made!
Rolled Butter Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon vanilla or almond extract
2- 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
Food color, if desired
1. Combine 1 cup butter, sugar and egg in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add orange juice and 1 tablespoon vanilla. Continue beating, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Reduce speed to low; add flour and baking powder. Beat until well mixed.
2. Divide dough into thirds. Shape each third into a ball; flatten slightly. Wrap each in plastic food wrap; refrigerate until firm (2 to 3 hours).
3. Heat oven to 400°F. Roll out dough, one-third at a time, on lightly floured surface (keeping remaining dough refrigerated), to 1/8- to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with 3-inch cookie cutters. Place 1 inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.
4, Bake for 6 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let stand on cookie sheets 1 minute; remove to wire cooling rack. Cool completely.
5. Combine powdered sugar, 1/3 cup butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla in small bowl. Beat at low speed, scraping bowl often and gradually adding enough milk for desired spreading consistency. Tint with food color, if desired. Frost and decorate cooled cookies as desired.
Since I can’t find a bus cookie cutter, I draw a bus shape onto cardstock and cut it out. Then I just trace around it with a very sharp knife to cut them out. I only have to make three, after all! I make them about 6” long and 3” high.
I make Royal Icing, using Wilton’s recipe and meringue powder, for these cookies. I love the buttercream recipe listed above, but this needs to harden for the hooligans.
Hope you enjoy them!