Update: Since posting this recipe years ago, I since tweaked the recipe and reposted a new, more comprehensive tutorial HERE. If you're looking for a dough that holds it shape a bit more, I recommend checking that one out!
Check out a great royal icing recipe for simple & easy frosting.
* A few readers have commented that their cookies puffed up quite a bit during baking. The cookies WILL raise a little, but should not be "puffy." Because the raising of baked goods can vary based on altitude, I recommend referring to King Arthur's altitude adjustment guide prior to baking. Although I have never had a problem with these puffing up (I live in the Midwest), this is something to consider in other regions.
* Tips on Butter: Use real unsalted butter, not margarine or shortening. Butter should not be melted, just softened to room temperature. If butter is melted too much, the cookies will spread, resulting in skewed shapes.
* This recipe has been in my family's cookbook for many years, but a reader recently pointed out that this recipe is very similar to a Betty Crocker recipe. Which may very well be where we got this one originally! So feel free to check that one out here for more in-depth reviews (the main difference is that I do not use cream of tartar because I find it to give these cookies a crunchier texture).