It just wouldn’t feel like Christmas without baking these classic sugar cookie cut outs!
I mentioned in the Molasses Cookies post about me and my mom’s Christmas baking tradition. We spend a whole day making our classic Christmas cookie doughs and baking the cookies in small batches while more dough is cooling in the fridge (We’ve got a pretty good system down). We like to stick to the classics, while occasionally throwing in 1 or 2 different cookies or bars just for the heck of it. This year we decided on only doing the classics: sugar cookie cut outs, molasses cookies and peanut butter blossoms.
Out of those three, Sugar Cookie Cut Outs are BY FAR my favorite. Always have been. Always will.
I love the light, buttery flavor of the cookie that is laced with hints of vanilla and almond extract and topped with thin coating of sweet icing.
I personally think the cookies that are just lightly decorated are the prettiest. Plus, I don’t like crunching into sprinkles and various candies with every bite. It totally takes away from the soft chewy cookie! So in other words, it takes me FOREVER to pick out the cookie I want to eat, because come on, the prettiest ones always taste 10x better!
This recipe is a modified version of our traditional sugar cookie cut out…wait is that hypocritical?? Let me explain.
After much contemplation, my mom and I decided to try cutting out one of the eggs from our traditional recipe because of some frustration with sticky dough. (Yes, we took all the necessary “sticky dough” precautions and still no luck…)
So my mom and I were on final stretch of our baking-day, and just about to whip up the final batch of sugar cookie dough. We have an efficient system where one person reads the recipe and gathers the ingredients while the other person measures and combines the ingredients; However, while making this dough the oven time went off. (the peanut butter blossoms were done!) My mom went to go place the mini kisses in each of the cookies before it was too late, leaving the recipe reading, ingredient gathering and measuring up too me…
Just as she was finishing up, I was incorporating the last of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Perfect timing! Except what was in my mixing bowl looked like THE MOST PERFECT pie dough! …not sugar cookie dough. As my mom began to analyze what I did wrong, I defensively assured her I did no such thing…
Quick thinking on my part, I grabbed the almond milk and tried incorporating 2 tbsp. This helped some but not enough. Then we thought, “Could it really look this way because of one egg?” So what did we do? Added the missing egg. PERFECT.
This did the trick… but I could help but think that something wasn’t right.
I looked over the recipe one more time and then it hit me…1 CUP butter… oops.
1 cup DOES NOT EQUAL 1 stick butter.
I embarrassingly admitted my mistake…and we laughed 🙂
We decided to still chill the dough and see how they turned out. All I can say is…this is the Sugar Cookie Dough we will use from NOW ON!!!!!
It was rolled out smoothly, peeled off the counter without sticking and didn’t spread in the oven whatsoever! MAGICAL.
As for taste?? DELICIOUS.
There was not even the slightest difference between the two variations! But guess what??
We cut out half the butter!! (by accident)
So basically I could call this healthy 🙂
Sugar Cookies (Classic Cut Outs)
- For the Cookies:
- 1/2 cup butter 1 stick
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp almond milk unsweetened
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- For the Icing:
- 2 cup powdered sugar
- 4 Tbsp milk
- 1 tsp clear vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar.
Add the eggs, almond milk, vanilla and almond extract.
In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt and lowly incorporate the flour mixture into the wet ingredients.
Place the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Sprinkle ~ 2 tbsp of sugar onto the counter.
Remove dough from the fridge and place on top of sugared counter top. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and roll out to about 1/2 inch thick.
Use cookie cutters to cut the dough, filling up all the space available. Peal away the extra dough and use a spatula to lift up the cut outs.
Place the cookies on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper or a cookie mat.
Bake for 8-10 minutes depending on the size of your cookie cutters. (The edges should just be slightly golden).
Let the cookies rest on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes and then transfer off the baking sheet or onto a cookie rack to cool completely.
In a small bowl combine the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract and salt. Slowly add the tablespoons of milk while continuing to mix the sugar. (If the icing seems too thick, carefully add 1/2 tsp of milk at a time. You don't want it too runny or it will slide right off the cookie).
You may portion out the white icing into separate bowls and color them to your liking!
Using a knife, frost the the cookies with icing and decorate with sprinkles and any other extras you can think of!
Recipe Notes*The Nutrition Information is without icing (I have it listed below WITH icing) and will vary slightly depending on the size of your cookie cutters (My "medium sized" are the star, Rudolph and candy cane, etc)
Nutrition Information WITH Icing (1 tsp): Calories: 122 k cal Fat: 2 g Saturated fat: 1 g Unsaturated fat: 1 g Trans fat: 0 2 Carbohydrates: 21 g Sugar: 15 g Sodium: 116 mg Fiber: 0 g Protein: 1 g Cholesterol: 16 mg