Your child is sure to get a kick (no punt intended) out of decorating these sporty sugar cookies. You don't even need specialty cookie cutters to make them. Just use a large round cutter or an empty medium-sized can to cut out the soccer ball shapes. For the football cookies, simply remove the bottom of the can, then squash the can slightly so the open ends are oval.
Put both the butter and shortening in a mixing bowl and cream them with an electric mixer on medium speed.
Gradually beat in the white sugar, followed by the brown sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Beat in the egg yolks. Then blend in the vanilla extract.
Place a sifter in a large mixing bowl and have your child measure the flour, baking powder, and salt into it in that order.
Sift the ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, stir the dry mixture into the creamed ingredients in batches, about one third at a time, until evenly blended.
If the dough is still sticky after the last addition, have your child stir in 2 to 3 more tablespoons of flour.
Transfer the dough to the center of a large sheet of plastic wrap and have your child pat it into a disk about 1/2 inch thick. Wrap the dough in the plastic and refrigerate it for 2 to 3 hours, until it is firm enough to roll out.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees while your child lightly greases a baking sheet. Next, prepare your football and soccer ball cookie cutter cans.
Place the chilled dough on a flour-dusted surface. Dust your rolling pin with flour too, to keep the dough from sticking to it. Now your child can roll out the dough so that it's a bit more than 1/8 inch thick.
Have your child cut out as many cookies as possible, then transfer the cutouts to the baking sheet, leaving about 1/2 inch between them. Gather any scraps of dough into a ball so she can reroll it and cut out the last of the cookies.
Bake the cookies on the center oven rack for about 12 minutes, until the edges just start to brown. If you're making football cookies, they'll need to be frosted right after they come out of the oven. Soccer ball cookies, on the other hand, should be left on the baking sheet for 2 to 3 minutes before being transferred to a wire rack to cool completely. While they cool, your child can prepare a batch of Confectioner's Sugar Icing.
Carefully sprinkle 10 to 15 butterscotch chips on each football while the cookies are warm, right out of the oven. In a minute or two, when the chips have begun to soften and melt, spread them like icing over the cookie surface. Before the butterscotch cools, add a row of 8 or so white sprinkles to the center of each football to resemble lacing.
To decorate the cooled soccer ball cookies, spread each one with a coating of Confectioner's Sugar Icing. Then use the tip of a toothpick to etch five-sided soccer ball panels in the icing. Finish up by topping the etched lines and a few of the pentagons with black decorator's gel. Makes 12 to 18 cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutter can.