Christmas and cutout sugar cookies are practically synonymous in my little world. Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without buttery stars, trees, and gingerbread men covered in frosting and sparkling sugar. Baking tops my list of childhood holiday memories and I always wanted to continue that tradition with my own children. So, even though it was sure to be a sugar-amped disaster, I invited a few of my daughter’s friends over to decorate Christmas cutout sugar cookies this year.
I provided naked cutout sugar cookies, colored icing, sprinkles, and a cute container for the kids to take their goodies home in. My observations about cookie decorating with toddlers are as follows: 1.) A lot of frosting will be consumed before it ever has a chance to make it onto a cookie. 2.) There is seemingly no limit to how many sprinkles can adorn a single cookie. 3.) Many cookies will be eaten so quickly that they will never make it home with the kids. 4.) Making memories will be worth all the mess and resulting sugar high!
To create the blank canvases for decorating I used the same recipe that I’ve always used for my fancy fondant and royal icing covered cookies. It’s a fantastic basic recipe that has never given me any trouble and consistently produces great results. The cookies maintain their shape after baking and they taste great too! I used the icing recipe from my Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies, but you can cover your cookies with your favorite buttercream, royal icing, or fondant. If you prefer a plain cookie, leave them naked.
This makes a very stiff dough and a lot of it! The cookie dough does freeze well or the recipe is easily halved if you want a smaller batch.
No-Fail Cutout Sugar Cookies
Yield: 3-4 dozen cookies
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix the first 4 ingredients (flour through cinnamon) in a medium bowl.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Add vanilla and then add eggs one at a time, mixing and scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition.
- Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture in 3 additions. The dough will be a little crumbly… mix it until all the crumbs pull together into the dough. Depending on the strength of your mixer, you may want to knead the dough by hand a few times to incorporate the last of the dry/crumbly dough.
- Cover and chill the dough for at least an hour (or see my tips below).
- Roll out to desired thickness on a floured surface. Cut into shapes and transfer them to a cookie sheet (lightly greased or lined with parchment paper).
- Bake for 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven. Times will vary due to thickness and shape of your cookies. You want to look for the very first signs of browning along the edges to know when they are done baking. Cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before moving them to a wire cooling rack.
Tips and Tricks For Rolling Out Dough:
- Want to chill your dough faster? Roll out 1/3 of your freshly mixed dough between a non-stick baking mat (such as a Silpat) and a piece of parchment paper. Place the sheet of dough onto a cookie sheet to keep it flat and place it into the fridge to chill.
- Repeat twice with the remaining 2/3 of the cookie dough. By the time you’ve finished the 3rd one, the first sheet of dough should be properly chilled and ready to cut!
- Collect scraps and repeat until you’ve used up all of the dough.
adapted slightly from Cake Central
A printable recipe card can be found in this post.