These soft, cake-like cookies have a pleasant anise flavor that's distinct but not overpowering. I add red and green sprinkles for Christmas, but you could decorate them to suit any occasion.—Janice Eanni, Willowick, Ohio
With a fresh breeze, my longtime-favorite sugar cookie recipe got under way on a new track. I cut out sailboats and frisky fish, frosting them brightly for the nautical gathering. My guests ate their limit!
-Martha Conaway, Pataskala, Ohio
To add bushels of fall flavor to your birthday bash, try baking up this cookie scarecrow shaped and decorated by the Crafting Traditions kitchen crew. It starts with Vickie's sugar cookies. "The recipe is a winner with my family and friends," Vickie says. "I am always asked to bring it—or even make it—for people." The scarecrow's easily adapted for other themes besides. For example, try a clown with bouncing balls or an athlete with baseballs instead.—Vickie Wade, Bourbo
With their tender golden crust and tempting pear and raisin filling, these fabulous bars stand out on any buffet table. Substitute apples for the pears, and you'll still get yummy results!
-Jeanne Allen, Rye, Colorado
Although they take some time to decorate, I enjoy giving these cookies to family and friends. You can also make them for Christmas using different cookie cutters. —Alison Benke, Chetwynd, British Columbia
Katie Koziolek of Hartland, Minnesota adds a hint of lemon to these delightful sugar cookies. For make-ahead convenience, freeze the dough up to three months, then thaw in the fridge before baking and decorating them.
"Store-bought dough speeds up the preparation time of these cute cookies," says Jean Wardrip Burr of Hope Mills, North Carolina. "They're so easy that the whole family- even little kids- can help decorate them."
Eneatha Attig Secrest of Mattoon, Illinois has relied on the mix for these light sugar cookies for years, even selling it at bazaars. "I package it in a plastic bag tied with pretty ribbon and attach a cookie cutter and copy of the recipe," she notes.