Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Cookie Bonanza: Holiday Cut Outs

This year, I'll be sharing 13 Christmas cookie recipes in my official Christmas Cookie Bonanza of 2009. I love Christmas cookies. So much so that one Christmas cookie is now a year-round cookie in my family, the wagon wheel. I'm kicking off the Christmas Cookie Bonanza here with a traditional cookie cutter cookie, the Cut Out.

This is the first Christmas cookie I'm posting this year because it is the most basic. It's easy to make, and it's a great crowd pleaser. Everyone loves a good cut out cookie, decorated in a cute way. I grew up decorating cut outs every year, so much so that the first few Christmases I was on my own as an adult, I didn't make them. Didn't want to. I was all decorated out. I think this is the first year I'm actually excited about making them! Maybe it's because part of me thinks that my little boy might enjoy them this year, and also because I'm finally starting to take pride in my baked goods.

Butter Cut Outs

2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (5 1/2 oz) superfine sugar (see note)
1/4 tsp table salt
16 tbsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces, cool room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cream cheese, cool room temperature

1. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix flour, sugar and salt on low speed until combined, about 5 seconds. With the mixer running on low, add butter 1 piece at a time; continue to mix until mixture looks crumbly and slightly wet, about 1 minute longer. Add vanilla and cream cheese and mix on low until dough just begins to form large clumps, about 30 seconds.
2. Remove bowl from mixer; knead dough by hand in bowl for 2 to 3 turns to form large cohesive mass. Turn out dough onto countertop; divide in half, pat into two 4-inch disks, wrap each in plastic and refrigerate until they begin to firm up, 20-30 minutes. Dough can be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 2 weeks; defrost in refrigerator before using.)
3. Adjust an oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out 1 dough disk to even 1/8-inch thickness between 2 large sheets of parchment paper; slide rolled dough on parchment onto baking sheet and chill until firm, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, repeat with second disk.
4. Working with first portion of rolled dough, cut into desired shapes using cookie cutter(s) and place shapes on parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until light golden brown, about 10 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking time. Dough scraps can be patted together, chilled nad re-rolled once. Cool cookies on wire rack to room temperature.
5. Decorate to your liking using royal icing, canned iccing, sprinkles and other decorations.

NOTE: If you can't find superfine sugar, process regular granulated sugar in a food processor for about 20 seconds. This will make a close approximation of superfine sugar.


kyooty said...

I totally love decorating "sugar" cookies. I baked them every year even before I had kids, it just wasn't Christmas without them, unfortunatly my butt could have done without 3 dozen or so. heheh
Now I've got more help to eat them.

Christine aka Mistress of Cakes said...

Hello fellow SITSta! I need your help!

Could you vote for me in Iron Cupcake?

(I am campaigning for votes….because I put a lot of time and effort into this)

If there is anything I can do for you in the future don’t hesitate to ask!

Here is the link:

2 Toddlers and Me said...

I love, love, love, finding new Christmas cookie recipes. I'm in a cookie exchange this year in my PTA and am really looking forward to it.

These cut-outs sound great! I'll be looking forward to all the rest of your recipes too.

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