No Chill, No Spread, Cut Out Cookies

No chill no spread cut out cookies

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. 

To print, select button at bottom of post.

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. 

Easy 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 

2017-12-10 09.26.24.jpg

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There is a Pound of Chocolate in These Cookies

Chocolate Toffee Cookies

Remember when I used to regularly post recipes on this site? Well it's been a while. Not that I haven't been cooking or baking, I've just been doing a lot of old standards or not photographing. I also like to put original or family recipes, but this one was too good to pass up.

After seeing these cookies on smitten kitchen last week I just had to make them and man are they good - if the pound of chocolate alone doesn't convince you perhaps I can. These are deep and rich and complex  - so much so that I, a cookie fiend, can only handle about a cookie and a half at a time. They go brilliantly with a glass of ice cold milk. It is a little hard to find the toffee bars, but it is so worth it. 

Chocolate Toffee Cookies from smitten kitchenAdapted from Bon Appetit

Makes around 30-36 cookies

1/2 cup all purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped (if you use good-quality chocolate chips, it saves a little work - as usual my favorite is Ghiradelli) 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter 1 3/4 cups (packed) brown sugar 4 large eggs 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 5 1.4-ounce chocolate-covered English toffee bars (such as Heath or Skor), coarsely chopped 1 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped* Flaky sea salt for sprinkling (optional)*

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl; whisk to blend. Stir chocolate and butter in a metal bowl set over simmering water or doubled-boiler until melted and smooth. Remove from over water. Cool mixture to lukewarm.

Beat sugar and eggs in bowl until thick, about 5 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture and vanilla.

Stir in flour mixture, then toffee and nuts. Chill batter until firm, about 45 minutes. Roll the dough into a log 1.5 inches in diameter and chill it.  When ready to bake the cookies, cut it into 1/2-inch slices. You can store the dough log in the freezer, wrapped in waxed paper and then two layers of plastic wrap for up to a month, just baking the cookies off as you need. Cookies baked straight from the freezer may need an additional minute or two in the oven, depending on their thickness.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper. This is a must - otherwise they will stick like crazy!!

Place sliced cookies on the lined sheet spacing tehm two inches apart. Sprinkle with the salt, if you’re using it. Bake just until tops are dry and cracked but cookies are still soft to touch, about 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on sheets. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)

* I didn't bother with toasting the walnuts or the salt, but it may make the cookies even better, so give it a good if you'd like.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie

Although our apartment doesn't have the greatest view (McDonald's parking lot anyone?), we have a pretty great place in a nice building.

One the best parts? Our cadre of doormen - kindly folks who open doors when our arms are full of groceries, sign for our packages, give movie recommendations, discuss local sports, and know both my maiden and married names. I don't know who is in charge of hiring these people,  but seriously, they are awesome and deserving of the best cookies I know how to make - Ghirardelli chocolate chip.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy New Year! 

Because of the pre-holiday craziness and a lack of all-purpose flour, I didn't get a chance to make these in time for Christmas - so now they get to be surprise New Year's cookies.

This recipe comes from the back of the Ghirardelli chocolate chip bag and is good.

I grew up in the Bay Area so I have a special place in my taste buds for Ghirardelli chocolate, it's not the fanciest chocolate out there, but among the brands commonly found in grocery stores, I think it's the best - so take that Toll House!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Ingredients

Our Cast O' Characters 

Adapted from 

Ghirardelli Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Yield: 4 dozen 

  • 1/2 bag Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 bag of 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
  • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup(s) sugar
  • 3/4 cup(s) package brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoon(s) vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cup(s) all purpose flour (I use wheat flour for the 1/4 cup - it makes me feel a teensy bit healthier about the whole 2 sticks of butter thing)
  • 1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt

Heat oven to 375ºF.

Cream together butter, sugar and brown sugar. Although the Kitchen Aid Mixer is the traditional wedding gift in our family, Mr. Cleaver and I opted out on that one. If I don't make butter cream by hand how would I work my biceps?

Butter/Sugar Crea

Baker's Workout - Butter Cream

Add vanilla and eggs to the butter cream. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and salt, mix well. Add the flour mixture to the butter cream. This cookie dough is VERY dry, so this also takes a little oomph - more calories burned for me! (See new year's working out is easy!).

After the dough is mixed well add in the chocolate chips. Jewel had a buy one-get-one-free offer of chocolate chips, so I used two different kind here: semi- and bittersweet, but it works fine with just one.

Put in the Chips

Maybe one the most wonderful sights in baking. 

Mixed Dough

The finished dough on the way to my mouth.  My mother always said that the sugar counteracts the egg, so you can't get salmonella, I chose to believe her.

Cookies on Sheet

Pretty Maids all in a row. 

I've found the cooking time on these varies wildly from oven to oven - until I moved into my current apartment it always took around 12, but now it takes eight.  So watch the first batch carefully.

Cookies in a Row

I like my cookies on the larger side - who doesn't - but I usually end up with fewer than the four dozen the recipe indicates, in tonight's case - it was 39. 

Quality Control

Err, 38. Quality control. 

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