Please don't be mad. I've edited the recipe for my "Big Batch Cut-Out Cookies" once more, this time to include a range of sugar amounts to use. In my original post I listed 2 cups of sugar, but then edited the recipe a few days later down to 1½ cups after realizing that I had amended the recipe to cut down on the sweetness. Then I made the autumn cookies you see above. Wanting to try something new and more time-efficient, I decided to forgo the glaze and color the cookie dough. The result was quite lovely, but the cookies were a little bland and somewhat delicate without the sheet of glaze holding them together. So... I went back to the original post and included a note to allow the baker to use between 1½ and 2 cups of sugar. Sorry for the confusion!
To make the cookies seen above, divide the dough into the desired number of portions and knead food coloring into it before rolling out and chilling. Score fun designs on the dough with a toothpick, brush with an egg white wash, and sprinkle with colored sugar if desired. Bake as usual. For some very festive multicolored cookies, take the scraps from each colored dough and press them together before rolling.
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)
1½ - 2 cups sugar, depends on whether you plan to glaze or not
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.