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
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.
• 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.
• 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.