Recipe: Sugar Cookie Cutouts

Christmas preparations are in full swing around here. The house is all decorated, presents are wrapped, and cookie baking has started.

Cutout sugar cookies were on the agenda today. The dough was super easy to make and to work with after it had chilled in the refrigerator overnight. The finished cookies are crisp at the edges, and chewy in the center.

As a side note, I’m really glad that I finally broke down and bought Silpat baking mats this year. Not only do they make clean-up easier, but they also help the cookies bake more evenly and prevent them from getting too brown on the bottom.

I also made a batch of royal icing to decorate them with, but when I frosted one to try, I decided that they were better plain. The icing was overly sweet, and just overwhelmed all of the buttery goodness that make these cookies so delicious (Plus, let’s be honest, the prospect of piping icing onto all those cookies was making my head spin). Sometimes simple is better.

I ended up getting about 32 cookies per batch, so perhaps my cookie cutters are slightly smaller than the recommended three or four inches. I wrapped up the dough that was leftover after I cut out all the cookies that I could handle and put it in the freezer. If someone can find me a Mummer shaped cookie cutter, maybe I’ll make some more for New Year’s.

Sugar Cookie Cutouts

From: Martha Stewart Holiday Cookies Magazine (2010)


Yield: About 2 dozen

What you will need

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

What to do

  1. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy (three to four minutes). Mix in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture.
  3. Divide dough in half and shape into disks. Wrap each in plastic and chill for at least one hour.
  4. Preheat over to 325. Soften disks of dough to room temperature (one at a time, they’ll soften pretty quickly).
  5. Lightly flour a piece of parchment paper. Lay dough in center and place another piece of parchment over it. Roll out dough to just under ¼ inch thick.
  6. Cut dough out with cookie cutters and transfer cutouts to lined baking sheets. Keep re-rolling scraps and cutting until you run out of dough.
  7. Chill cutouts on baking sheets until very firm (about 30 minutes) before baking.
  8. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges turn golden, about 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on wire racks (and, make sure to cool completely if you are planning to add icing).

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