Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Favorite Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

I LOVE this recipe!! We use this recipe every holiday for our cut-outs. The cookies keep their shape while still tasting chewy, and yummy. :)

Also see cookie tips below.

makes between 8 and 12 dozen, depending on size

3 cups butter, softened at room temperature for an hour
3 cups sugar
3 eggs
6 ounces cream cheese (3/4 of a standard cream cheese package)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons lemon zest
9 cups flour
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and add the sugar. Cream until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until golden. Add the cream cheese and again beat until well incorporated. Add the flavorings and lemon zest.

Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl then add, bit by bit, to the butter/sugar mixture.You will have chosen a large bowl for this particular recipe, I hope - mine was overflowing by this point and I ended up doing the final mix in a large plastic bag.

Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour - preferably overnight.

Heat the oven to 350° F. Divide the dough into smaller balls and roll out 1/4 to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out cookies.

Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes, depending on thickness. The small, thinner ones started browning after about 8 minutes, and I didn't want these brown at all. The larger ones had a slight golden bottom after 11 minutes, which was perfect for my purposes.

Let cool before icing or decorating, and store in a tightly covered container.


• The dough freezes perfectly. This is a very large quantity, so roll out a few sheets of dough and freeze flat in the freezer between wax paper and plastic wrap for quick cut-out cookies later.

• When you take the chilled dough out of the fridge you may need to let it sit for a few moments before it is soft enough to roll out. The high quotient of butter makes this a very firm dough.
• That firmness makes these perfect cut-out cookies for children; if you roll the dough at least 1/4 inch thick children should have no problem cutting and picking up cookie dough shapes. The dough doesn't tear easily or get too soft like other more delicate cookie doughs.

Decorating Ideas:
• Ice with a sugar glaze then sandwich with Nutella or a yummy buttercream between two cookies.
• Glaze with warmed jelly then sandwich with another cut-out cookie on top.
• Drizzle with melted chocolate or dip one side in melted chocolate.
• Ice with royal icing and use sprinkles or candy to decorate.

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