Friday, December 10, 2010

Old Fashioned Sugar Cut Outs

Don't they just make you smile?  They are the perfect cookie for Santa, or any time of year.  I use this as my go-to sugar cookie year-round: Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, I even made them for my wedding.  I'm not huge on decorating, but I've done glaze and sprinkles or colored sugar (seen here), as well as glaze and royal icing details.  If you have the patience (and skill) to do all royal frosting details, go for it.  But the flavor isn't that great, so I like the glaze to give it some sweetness.  I also love this recipe because I get to use my plethora of cookie cutters.

This recipe comes from the Food Network, submitted to their online library by Cathy Lowe.  I picked it up in 2002 and over the years, the only thing I've come to change is the baking. I've learned that chilling your cut outs for 10 minutes prior to baking helps keep the integrity of their shape and give you a soft cookie without browning the edges. But the ingredients and the rest of the process remain the same.

Old Fashioned Sugar Cut Outs

Ingredients (for cookies):
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until combined, scraping sides of bowl as needed.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.

In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt and mix thoroughly.  Stir flour mixture into butter mixture one cup at a time.

Divide dough in half, mold into a disc shape and wrap in plastic wrap.  Chill dough 3-4 hours or overnight.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick and cut out using cookie cutters.

Place on a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet and chill for 10 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the cookie.  Turn baking sheet 180 degrees halfway through. If using more than one sheet at a time, rotate positions in the oven for more even baking.  (I use approximately 2-3 inch cutters and bake for 10 minutes.  You want to catch these just before the edges turn brown, so if you're not quite sure, pull them out and let them cool on the pans a few extra minutes where they will continue baking.)

Cool on pans for 2 minutes then remove to wire racks to complete cooling.


Ingredients (for glaze):

3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 Tablespoons milk

In small bowl, stir all glaze ingredients together until smooth.  Place a piece of parchment or a silicone mat under a cooking rack.

Using the back of a spoon, spread glaze onto the center of the cookie (it will spread to the edges), and allow to set on cooling rack.  Any glaze that drips off the edges will  fall onto the parchment and not your table or counter, making for easy clean up.  Sprinkle with colored sugar if desired.

For storage, allow glaze to set before packing into airtight containers. If you are going to layer the cookies, I suggest putting one layer in the container and popping it in the freezer for 5 minutes. Then place a piece of wax paper on top and repeat layers.

Makes approximately 6 dozen.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

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