Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Big Batch Cut-Out Cookies

Sorry, No-Fail Sugar Cookie. I like you, I really do. But I don’t love you. I’ve made you many times before, and everyone else loves you…but I’m a big greedy Pig-Hog. Sugar cookie? Yum. Butter cookie? Even better. Buttery cream cheese sugar cookie? Now you’re talking! If you’re looking for a change of pace from your usual sugar cookie, try these cut-outs. The addition of cream cheese and less flour than the NFSC recipe lends a soft, creamy texture to the cookie. While the baked cookies look nearly identical to the NFSC (both hold their shape quite well), these are probably a little too fragile for use in cookie bouquets.

Big Batch Cut-Out Cookies (adapted from Allrecipes)
Makes about 5 dozen 3-inch cookies when rolled ¼-inch thick

2 cups butter, softened
8 oz. block cream cheese (full-fat, please)
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 egg yolks
1 Tbl. Vanilla extract
½ tsp. other flavoring**
5 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

** This may be almond, orange, lemon, Princess Cake & Cookie, or my new personal favorite: Fiori di Silicia (seems pricey, but a little goes a very long way. You can make 12 batches with a single bottle, which is a great value considering the recipe is technically a double batch.)

Cream butter, cream cheese, sugar, and salt together until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks and flavorings, and mix to combine. Gradually add flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring after each addition to incorporate flour. Dough will be very soft and sticky, but resist the urge to add more flour. Divide dough into 4 portions and roll out to ¼-inch thickness between two sheets of waxed or parchment paper. Stack in refrigerator to chill for at least 3 hours. (I do mine the night before or first thing in the morning to give the dough ample time to firm up.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Get out your baking sheets and line with parchment, foil, or one of those new-fangled silicone liners. Or you can leave them plain if you don’t mind washing greasy pans in between batches. No need to grease your pans because trust me--there’s enough fat in the dough! Cut out shapes with desired cookie cutters, place on pans, and bake at 350°F for 12-15 minutes. Cookies will remain very pale. They are done when they are just barely firm (pressing one with your finger won’t leave a dent). Cool before removing from cookie sheets—they are quite tender and fragile when hot! Glaze with Glacé or Royal Icing. Glacé icing dries softer and more translucent than royal icing, and is easier to make. Royal icing produces vibrant colors, can be piped into much finer details, is sturdier for shipping, but can be tricksy for cookie newbies like myself.

Head on over to Our Best Bites for a fabulous tutorial on making and using Glacé Icing.

Toba Garrett’s Glacé Icing (from Kitchen Collectables)
Enough for one batch of my cut-out cookies

1 lb. powdered sugar, sifted
¼ c. + 2 Tbl. Milk, whole or 2% works best
¼ c. + 2 Tbl. Light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract—clear, if possible
½ tsp. other flavoring (I like orange extract)
Assorted food colorings

Mix powdered sugar and milk together until smooth and creamy (may take a few minutes). Blend in corn syrup and flavoring, but don’t whip or beat vigorously…be gentle! Divide into small bowls and add color, then cover bowls with plastic wrap. Let glaze sit for at least 15 minutes. During this time, the small bubbles formed during mixing will slowly surface to the top, at which point you can gently stir them out. Stirring quickly now will only make more bubbles... which will make you very sad! Use an offset spatula to glaze cookies, but if you're brave you can hold the cookie by its edges and dip them in glaze. Let set until dry and firm, which may take several hours depending on humidity. I leave mine out overnight, and the cookies are still soft & creamy despite being uncovered.

If you want to thicken the glacé icing for piping or creating a dam to separate colors, take a small amount of glaze and add powdered sugar until you reach piping consistency.


  1. Those are toooooo cute! I've been looking for a good cream cheese sugar cookie- I'm going to try yours for sure.

    Love your blog too- I'll add you to our blogroll!

  2. Thanks Sara! I think you'll really like these cookies. When no one's watching I could mow through a whole plate of them!

  3. Yum! I just bought a bunch of cookie cutouts that I've been wanting to use...this looks like it'll do the trick!

  4. oh those are SO cute!! I can't wait to make some :) xox