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December 24, 2011

cutout cookies.

It was hard not putting an exclamation after the name in the title - these cookies are so attractive!

I almost had a heart attack when my mom told me she'd given away all our Christmas cookie cutters, as I was rolling out this dough and ready to bake up some Winnie the Poohs dressed up as Santa ... #firstworldproblems. I survived, you'll be glad to hear.

I have been grossly uninspired with baking as of late. I WANT to bake, I just have no idea what to make. I thought about my brief love affair with yeast in the summer. Then I considered cookies, which I have been wanting to make more despite being disinclined toward them in the past. I considered stuff that required buying really expensive ingredients and realized that was dumb. I looked up different cakes. I made my brother look up different cakes until he chose one. That took like twenty minutes, and I still didn't make it for him.

Poor kid, he's thus far asked for three things - this chocolate cream pie (minus the almonds & coconut), baked alaska, and now mahogany cake, the one I coerced him to look up.

And what have I, in turn, done? Made this cake for my grandma's birthday. Yesterday I made these cutout cookies. I also made a chocolate toffee .. cake, I guess you could call it. The toffee pieces I had used were rancid. I found the cake miserable, and my brother, in a low voice, likened it to sour fruit. My grandpa ate it without finding a single problem .. I adore my grandpa.

I'll have to make the kid some chocolate cake with some rich frosting. But until then, these cookies will have to suffice.

They come together super quickly, and they are equally easy to roll out, once chilled. The baking process does not noticeably change their thickness or shape, so they would definitely hold detail well. They get a gorgeous hint of golden brown around their edges, and if you use a sophisticated shape, they can be quite classy. Or cute, if you use santa and reindeer shapes! They are not sweet, but are good in that aspect. The glaze complements them well. All in all, I highly recommend these for anyone wanting to make cutout cookies and decorate them. Can definitely be made with kids, it'd be perfect for that! And it'd be just as perfect at a fancy dinner party. So versatile, damn.

Let me know what you do with them, if you make them!

Christmas Cutout Cookies
recipe adapted very slightly from here. the yield depends on the size of the cookies you're making. 
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (I subbed about 1/2 cup whole wheat) 
  • 1/2 tspn baking powder 
  • 1/2 tspn salt 
  • 1 cup butter, unsalted & room temperature 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1 egg 
  • 2 Tb sour cream (or yogurt) 
  • 2 tspn vanilla extract 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, or 325 on the convection setting. Line a baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper. 
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients together. 
  3. Cream butter and sugar, till fluffy. Add egg, sour cream, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly till the mixture is uniform. 
  4. Add the dry mix to the butter mixture, and slowly blend in, until no flour remains. The dough will be moldable into a ball. 
  5. Divide the dough into 2 discs, and wrap them in plastic wrap. Use a little more plastic wrap than you need. Chill at least 2 hours, and up to 3 days. 
  6. Roll out one of the discs in between the plastic wrap, to prevent sticking. This eliminates the need for flour and reduces the mess made. This is where the extra plastic wrap comes in handy. 
  7. Once rolled out to the desired thickness (the cookies will not rise, so make them the exact thickness you want them), cut out using cookie cutters, glasses, or a knife. 
  8. Peel off the plastic wrap, place on prepared pan, and bake for 10-15 minutes. The cookies will maintain shape and turn a pale golden on the edges. Do not overbake! 
  9. Remove from pan after a minute or so of cooling, and cool completely on a rack. 
  10. Decorate with a glaze if desired! (Can make a glaze with mostly confectioner's sugar, a little milk, and a little softened cream cheese. Glaze should be fairly liquid.)

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