These are the sugar cookies my mom used to make when I was little... I admit it's been decades since I've had them, but I found the recipe in her old tin box so I thought I'd share it. I don't think there's anything remarkably special in this recipe, but honestly they are the best sugar cookies I've had! I've tried numerous recipes since then, but never come close to how these come out.
1Beat the shortening and sugar together until very light and fluffy. Beat the eggs in one at a time, then add the milk and vanilla.
2Sift together the flour and baking powder. Turn your mixer on low and add the flour mixture a cup at a time to the shortening/sugar mixture, mixing only until just incorporated. Dough will be very stiff.
Chill the dough several hours, or even overnight.
3There are two ways to finish these cookies.
You can roll out portions of the dough (keep remaining dough chilled), use cookie cutters to cut out desired shapes, place on parchment lined baking sheets and bake at 325 until they just start to brown at the edges. Cool slightly, then remove to a rack to finish cooling.
You can also just make balls out of the dough, then flatten them with a glass dipped in sugar. You will need to flatten them a LOT, they need to be pretty thin, maybe 1/4 inch.
Sprinkle the cookies with regular or colored sugar before baking, if desired.