A confession. I've never liked sugar cookies.
I don't know what recipe my mom used, I seem to recall it had lemon extract in it, but while I found the decorating fun, I never actually wanted to eat the cookies we made around holiday time. It was all too sweet, too artificial tasting.
Now, as a mom myself, I wanted to share the fun of Christmas Cookie decorating with Little Miss Cleaver, but I wanted a cookie base that actually tasted good.
This is third year these cookies have been in holiday rotation and in my book, this recipe is a winner. It's almost halfway between a sugar cookie and shortbread in taste, no weird lemon falvor and I'm happy to eat them plain if the kid poops out on decorating (not likely this year).
The biggest hassle of them is that it makes a TON of cookies - 4-5 dozen depending on your cutter (we fill five 13"x 18" half-sheets), so I've included a half batch recipe below as well.
As for frosting, I whisk up a batch of the world's easiest frosting, which once you've made it once, you'll never have to look at the recipe again.
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Cut Out Cookies - Full Batch (makes 48-60 cookies)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cornstarch
Cut Out Cookies - Half Batch (makes 24-30 cookies)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- slightly less than 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 6 Tablespoons cornstarch
Preheat oven to 375 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Using a stand mixer or wooden spoon, cream together cold butter and sugar until it reaches an even consistency (Tip: if using a spoon, use the spoon end to pound the butter into the sugar until it starts to look like coarse sand before attempting to stir).
Add eggs one by one, until mixed in completely. Stir in vanilla.
Add flour and cornstarch and mix until dough starts to form a ball. (Tip: If working by hand, it may help to kind of knead the dough together with your hands).
Working with about 1/4 to 1/2 of the dough at a time, roll out the dough to an even thickness of 1/4 inch. Cut out shapes and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, placing shapes with narrow parts in the center of the sheet .
Bake for approximately 11 minutes or until edges turn slightly brown.
Cool on a wire rack completely before frosting.
- 2-3 Cups powdered sugar
- About 5 tablespoons water
- Food coloring
In a large bowl, add water to sugar a little bit at a time and whisk together until frosting reaches desired consistency. For ease of frosting, you'll want it to start to pull off the whisk in a slow thick line, rather than sticking completely or dripping off.
If desired, section out some of the frosting into a separate bowls and add food coloring drop by drop until desired color is achieved.
Using a spatula, transfer frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a decorating tip. Twist pastry bag shut or tie with a twisty-tie to seal and decorate away!
(And before anyone asks, the sweater cookie cutter came from this kit that I got at Christmas Tree Shops, the other cutters are from Le Roux Kitchen)
Cookie recipe adapted from https://bakingamoment.com/how-to-bake-easy-and-delicious-cutout-cookies-with-neat-edges/