Well I finally did it! For years I’ve been afraid of decorating cookies, mostly because it seems so intimidating, but also because it means I have to roll out dough and cut out shapes. Truly, I love to bake (and eat) cookies, but I’m a total “drop cookie” girl, the less fuss the better. However, I really had to reconsider my position on cut-out cookies as I wanted to give a traditional gift to the kids but didn’t feel like buying them a box of chocolates. I thought about making homemade chocolates for them (for about 2 seconds), but I’m still recovering from the Christmas chocolate-making marathon that literally lasted about 2 months.
I’m actually quite pleased with how these turned out for being my first attempt, and honestly it is not as hard as I thought it would be! I cut the shapes out myself, as I didn’t have any cookie cutters big enough to make jumbo-sized hearts (they are about 4-5 inches across). I piped the frosting out of parchment paper cones (quick to make) and it worked like a charm, just make sure to fold and roll the top opening down a little so frosting doesn’t squirt out that way. The icing sets quickly, but you should allow it to dry at least a day before stacking or packing them, especially if you lay it on thick. These would be great for gift baskets or goodie bags :).
Cut-Out Sugar Cookies Recipe (makes 6 large cookies):
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 3/4 cups butter, room temp
- 1 large egg
- 1 Tbls vanilla or almond extract (I used a blend of both)
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar together. Then add in the extract and egg and blend well.
- In another bowl combine the rest of the ingredients and stir. Add the dry ingredients into the creamed butter and sugar and blend until well combined.
- Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- On a lightly floured surface roll dough out to 1/4 inch thickness and cut-out with cookie cutters or cut out your own free-form shapes using a the tip of a knife.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are decently firm and set (The edges should just be starting to brown).
- Cool completely on wire racks before decorating.
- 2 cups powdered sugar, maybe a little extra
- Approx. 4 Tbls of milk
- Food coloring (optional)
- 1/2 tsp lemon or almond extract (optional)
- Combine the powdered sugar, 3 Tbls of the milk, and the extract (if using) in a mixing bowl and start stirring. You want the consistency of the icing to be thick, yet spreadable. If it is too thin, add more sugar, if it is too thick, add a little more milk.
- If using food coloring, divide the icing into separate bowls then mix the food coloring in.
- Make sure to cover icing with a lid or saran wrap while working to prevent it from drying out.