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This morning, my five-year-old was screaming in a panic as we were in the car on the way to drop the older kids at school.

“I don’t want to get pinched by a leprechaun! I’m not wearing any green!”

It sounds cute in writing. But it wasn’t very cute at the time. I felt a lot like Maggie Gyllenhaal’s character at the beginning of Nanny McPhee Returns.

These were the cookies I made for my kids for their after school snack today, which they then frosted by themselves. They’re an extremely simple shortbread, with an even simpler buttercream frosting.

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shortbread sugar cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon table salt)
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, salt and sugar until smooth. Slowly add in flour and mix until just combined. Mix dough by hand to be sure all ingredients are distributed evenly.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place dough in between two sheets of parchment paper. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough between the sheets, to a 1/4 inch thickness. Place the dough with the parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes. Take the dough off the cookie sheet, and peel the top piece of parchment paper off. Cut the dough into shapes, and place cookies back on the cookie sheet, at least an inch apart. Bake for 10 minutes, or until just beginning to brown on the edges. Let cool for a minute or two before removing to a wire rack.

easy buttercream

1 stick salted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
2 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream
a few drops of food coloring, if desired (I used 1 drop of yellow, 2 drops of green)

Beat all ingredients together until smooth and fluffy.

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