Cutout Crazy

a small selection of my many cutters

I used to bake about a zillion different cookies, now at Christmas time I’ve narrowed down the repertoire to just three: cutouts, thumbprints, and Noel nut balls. Over the years the cutout recipe has evolved to No Fail Sugar Cookies, found at Kitchen Gifts, a great resource for unique cutouts hand shaped in the USA, cookie recipes, and baking and decorating tips. 

brides and bouquets I made for Caroline’s showers

The bride cookie for Caroline’s wedding showers was one of my favorites. To get clean edges I always chill the cutout shaped dough on the cookie sheets before baking. When frosting I always outline the cookie with royal icing piped from a pastry bag with a #2 tip. I then flood the entire surface, usually with simple white frosting, let it harden a bit and then decorate simply or with abandon.

large snowflakes, a little messy, it’s busy right now
I always outline first with a pastry bag of royal icing using a #2 tip
flood the entire surface with white icing

The large snowflakes I made just this week are simply one-color frosting, white, and embellished with colored sanding sugar. 

sanding sugar in the background

If your weekend plans include baking, enjoy.  

No Fail Sugar Cookies

This recipe is GREAT when using complex cookie cutters.  The dough holds its’ shape and won’t spread during baking.  
Make sure you let your oven preheat for at least 1/2 hour before baking these or any other cookies.

6 cups flour 
3 tsp. baking powder 
2 cups butter 
2 cups sugar 
2 eggs 
2 tsp. vanilla extract or desired flavoring (I like almond myself)
1 tsp. salt

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix well. Mix dry ingredients and add a little 
at a time to butter mixture.  Mix until flour is completely incorporated and the dough comes together. 

Chill for 1 to 2 hours (or see Hint below) 

Roll to desired thickness and cut into desired shapes.  Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 350 
degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until just beginning to turn brown around the edges.  This recipe 
can make up to 5-dozen 3” cookies.

HINT: Rolling Out Dough Without the Mess — Rather than wait for your cookie dough to 
chill, take the freshly made dough and place a glob between two sheets of parchment paper.  
Roll it out to the desired thickness then place the dough and paper on a cookie sheet and pop it into the refrigerator.  
Continue rolling out your dough between sheets of paper until you have used it all.  By the time you are finished, the 
first batch will be completely chilled and ready to cut.  Reroll leftover dough and repeat the process!  An added bonus 
is that you are not adding any additional flour to your cookies.

A few of my personal tips: use the best ingredients you can get your hands on, King Arthur flour, organic unsalted butter, free range eggs, Nielsen-Massey pure vanilla extract. Reroll the dough only once and scrap the rest. Make a huge batch of royal icing using an entire bag of confectioners’ sugar and 4 egg whites so you have enough to fill a pastry bag for outlining and a good supply for flooding. Rolling out the dough between parchment or waxed paper and refrigerating as above is genius, highly suggest. 

Every day dress, cutout crazy. 

This time of year Champagne makes everything better

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  1. Your cutouts were beautiful and delish… I enjoyed them immensely… your Xmas card was gorgeous… u have an incredibly good looking family!!! On our way to Aruba to celebrate with my kiddos…have a wonderful Christmas and new year…

    • Oh Caroline thank you. Sunshine and family, the very best, enjoy! Merry Christmas! xoxo

  2. I set aside today to bake cut-outs so your post was timely. Thank you. My recipe is exactly the same as yours. Haven’t iced them yet but looking forward to fussing a little. It’s so fun! My sons, all grown up, still enjoy it – and I do, too. Merry Christmas, Rebecca. xo

    • Merry Christmas to you and your three wise men, love to all.

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