Sift together flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
Cream butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar and cream again until light and fluffy.
Add eggs and thoroughly combine. Scrap the sides of the bowl. Add vanilla and thoroughly combine.
Add flour mixture in 3 parts just combining between additions. Don't over beat. The dough will be tough.
Roll in waxed paper.
To cut out cookies
Roll dough out on a piece of floured waxed paper to about 1/4" thickness.
Cut cookies out with cookie cutters. (coat cutters with flour, if dough wants to stick) For Santa cookies, press dough into deep crevices so that the 3D features show in dough.
For Santa's eyes, cut raisins in half and press in eye sockets BEFORE Baking!
Place on parchment lined cookie sheet.
Bake at 350° F for 10-12 minutes until slightly golden at the edges
In bowl beat butter until fluffy. Gradually add 2 c. powdered sugar, beating well. Slowly beat in milk minus 3 Tbsp. Slowly beat in remaining powdered sugar.
Remove about 3/4 c. of icing to a bowl for eyebrows, mustaches and hat of Santa Claus.
Add remaining milk and vanilla. If the icing isn't quite thick enough, just add more powdered sugar a few heaping tablespoons at a time. Use the remainer of frosting for Santa's beard.
Can be colored with food coloring to frost other cookies.
For decorating Santa Claus Cookies
Put a few teaspoons of red food coloring in a small glass.
With a very small paint brush, or the tip of toothpick, draw mouth in between mustache. Let dry for a few minutes.
Add 1 whisked egg white to the remainder of the food coloring in bowl and mix together. Add more food coloring, if required to get it nice and red.
In the areas where the cheeks are pressed out and the nose, with a cotton swab, make round circle of egg white/ red coloring mixture, in the middle. (For his rosy cheeks and nose.)
Sprinkle the nose and cheeks with red sugar.
Next, paint on the main section of the hat with the egg/ coloring mixture and sprinkle that with red sugar. Let dry 10 minutes or so.
Next, dump off the excess sugar on a small plate. We usually clean up the edge with clean q-tips and toothpicks.
I do the mustache and eyebrows first, because I like them to look fluffy, so I fluff it up with another clean toothpick, after it dries for a few minutes. Then I pipe on the the pompom and rim of the hat. And fluff that up with a knife.
Spread on the beard with a knife or baking spatula.
Top the frosting with coconut. Done! Whew!!
IMPORTANT: Let cookies dry for at least a few ideas before packing and storing. Store between pieces of waxed paper.
Cut dough between sheets of floured waxed paper.
For the 3D effect, press dough into crevices in cutter.
If the dough is a bit sticky, don't be afraid to flour the cutters and the board. it won't affect the flavor at all.
Make sure your butter is very soft before mixing.
Measure the dry ingredients carefully.
Let the dough chill overnight for best success, but at least 2-3 hours.
Roll out small pieces of dough at a time so that the remaining dough stays firm.
If dough is difficult to roll, when first removed from the refrigerator, let it sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes.
If dough gets too warm after rolling, set it in the freezer for a few minutes before rerolling.
You can reroll scraps too.
Never put the raw dough on a warm or hot cookie sheet. Always make sure that you place dough on a cool, or cold cookie sheet. (Freeze the sheet for a few minutes or place outside in the garage. This will lessen spreading.
If your cookies are spreading out a bit more than you like, freeze the cookies on the cookie sheet for 5-10 minutes to chill the butter back up.
Do not double recipe unless you have 6 or 8 quart mixing bowl, like my kitchenaid! The dough is too thick!
A favorite way to eat them is directly out of the freezer. They are nice and crispy. Others prefer them soft so just let thaw for a few minutes.
For Santa Claus Cookie Cutter, here is link.General Baking Tips:Always measure dry ingredients with a dry measuring cup. Measure with dry measuring cups or weigh dry ingredients.Always measure liquid ingredients with liquid measuring cupNever break eggs directly into recipe ingredients. Break eggs into a separate bowl, in case you get any shells, so that you can pull them out.Make sure that you know what temperature your oven is set at. Buy an oven thermometer and check oven temperature regularly.Always check baked goods, like cakes or quick breads with cake tester, placed in center. If the tester comes out clean, it’s done.