Monday, October 12, 2015

Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs

This past weekend was my moms birthday, and seeing as it was a big birthday, the whole family met-up in the midwest to celebrate.  Given the fact that I haven't seen my family in over 3 months, and I love to bake, I decided to make cut-out sugar cookies.  I wanted these cookies to taste perfect, and didn't have the time to make mistakes, so I used Martha Stewarts Sugar Cookie Recipe; the one my mom has been using for years.

Having never made cut-out sugar cookies before, I learned a lot:
1. You can't color just the dough, you must also color your hands if you want pretty, colorful cookies!
2. Using a wine bottle works great as a rolling pin.  I know that I can buy an inexpensive one, but this was a lot more fun.
Yes, the wine bottle was empty

3. When making cut-outs that are more flimsy, make the dough about twice as thick.  This helps ensure that they don't break (or at least that they won't break as easily).
In this case, I am referring to the X's and O's.  It was much easier to transfer them when they were thicker.

4. Do NOT make these cookies over two days.  The first night, I made the dough, colored and shaped the cookies.  I then placed them on a cookie rack, with parchment paper in between each batch.  When I took them out of the fridge the next day, they were all stuck together and it was very difficult to get them all apart in one piece.  Plan on baking the cookies as soon as you cut them.

Yield: about 4 doze depending on the size of the cookie cutter

4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Cream together butter and sugar
2. Beat in eggs and vanilla
3. Add the salt, baking powder, and flour
4. Color the dough if desired.  I did this on the counter so I didn't have to wash another bowl.  Additionally, you can color the dough in a bowl, starting with your lightest color so that you don't have to wash the bowl between each coloring.
5. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes
6. Heat over to 325 degrees
7. On a floured surface, roll dough until it is about 1/8 inch thick and cut into desired shape.  It is best to do this in batches, as the dough is easier to roll if cold.
8. Place cookies on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes
9. Bake until the edges just start to brown, about 8-10 minutes
10. Let cool for 5-10 minutes, and then transfer the cookies.  If the cookies are thin and flimsy, like the X's and O's make sure they cool for 10 minutes.  If they are filled in, like the pumpkins and ghosts, you can move them after 5 minutes.  Another option is to bake the cookies on parchment paper, and slide the parchment paper onto your counter to let them cool.  This will allow you to continue baking at a faster pace.
11. Decorate as desired!


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