3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup real semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons shortening
Heat oven to 400°F. Combine butter, sugar and almond extract in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add all remaining cookie ingredients; beat at low speed until well mixed.
Shape rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Flatten balls to 1/4 inch thick with bottom of buttered glass dipped in sugar. Bake 6-8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool completely.
Melt chocolate chips and shortening in 1-quart saucepan over low heat 2-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Drizzle or pipe chocolate onto cookies making tree design, if desired.
Bake a variety of cookies using the same dough by rolling balls in decorator sugars or pressing halved red or green candied cherries onto cookies or rolling balls in finely chopped nuts before baking.