I found this sugar cookie recipe on Recipezaar. It uses shortening instead of butter and produces a much cakier sugar cookie. I followed the recipe exactly and used a stand mixer to make the batter.
I rolled up the dough in floured plastic wrap and refrigerated it for about an hour. Then I divided the dough into 3 pieces and then each of those into a dozen balls, which I flattened by hand (no rolling pin!). They made cookies that were 3-4" across. They didn't spread much but they do puff up.
For the decorations, I made a powdered sugar glaze (1 c sifted powdered sugar, 1/4 t vanilla, 3t rice milk) tinted green and pink. Just dip the cookies in the glaze (each batch of glaze did about a dozen of this sized cookies) and allow to set.
Some of the cookies have some bought candy decorations on them (they're from Wilton's...they looked nice and the kids thought they were fabulous right until they tried to eat them). The others I decorated with Wilton's FoodWriter markers, which were a lot of fun to work with. Unfortunately, those cookies are all on the bottom of the cookie cake above, so you can't see them.
The Verdict: A+
I'll definitely be making these cookies again -- probably for the kids' Halloween carnival at school. I think this cookie batter is a great starting place for all sorts of additions too -- pecans and cranberries, using orange or almond extract instead of vanilla, etc.