Cooking From Every Angle

Holiday Cut-Out Cookies

By • December 6, 2012 • 18 Comments

Every day till Christmas, we're bringing you 12 Days of Baking: 12 all-new baking recipes to lift holiday spirits -- from breakfast pastries to dinner rolls, and all the desserts you can handle.

Today: Amanda brings us her family's all-purpose, Postal Service-friendly, lasts-forever Holiday Cut-Out Cookie.

This is my mother’s recipe. She’s a stickler for details, which plays to her advantage when it comes to baking. Her cut-out cookies are always the thinnest and prettiest and have the most restrained amount of decoration. Contrary to the plump and pale versions you often see, cut-out cookies should be very thin with browned edges, so they’re crisp and nutty!

Holiday Cut-Out Cookies

Makes 80 cookies (depending on the cookie cutter size; you can halve or quarter the recipe)

1 1/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg white
Finely chopped walnuts or sliced almonds (optional)
Sanding sugar (optional)
Dried citron or candied cherries, finely chopped (optional)

See the recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by James Ransom

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Tags: holiday cut-out cookies, baking, cookies, holiday, Christmas, 12 Days of Baking

Comments (18)

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8 months ago lauriw

I know that I'm really late to the party, but could I make this, cut the cookies into shapes and then freeze them (before baking)? In my humid climate, I'm worried that baking them and having them sit for a week would kill their crunchiness.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

8 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

My mother used to make the dough ahead of time and freeze it so I don't see why you couldn't freeze the cut out shapes. Just don't decorate them until just before baking -- you probably know this, I'm mentioning it just in case!

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8 months ago lauriw

Thank you so much! I'm amazed to get a response, let alone so quickly (of course, I should have known better than to doubt since I'm on Food52!)

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over 1 year ago Sahara

They look good, I am gonna make them even if it's not christmas.

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over 1 year ago Iowa Redhead

Made these yesterday. It's a huge recipe so have valentine hearts in the freezer, too. This is the best sugar cookie recipe I've tried. They're crisp and delicious, and from now on, are the go-to cookies when the cookie cutters come out.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Delighted to hear this! Will tell my mom.

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

over 1 year ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Made these over the weekend. Actually, it seems like I made thousands of them, and I only used 1/3 of the dough! They taste great, even without waiting 2 weeks. Topped some with chopped, lightly pralined pecans, others with lemon scented sugar and others (my favorite) with raw sugar + Ceylon cinnamon. Dough handles well. ;o)

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Like your topping combos!

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over 1 year ago stellabelle

What about waiting 2 weeks?

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

The flavor will improve.

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

over 1 year ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Amanda, the ones with crunchy raw sugar plus cinnamon were the overwhelming favorite among our recipients. What makes them sort of fun is that the cookies smell just like snickerdoodles, with the fragrant butter, sugar and cinnamon, but then the cookies are crisp and crunchy when you eat them. My out-of-town recipients have all been writing to ask for the recipe! (The locals all just stopped by to see if there were any left.) ;o)

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Great to get the post-holiday debriefing!

Me

over 1 year ago TastefullyKimS

I will be trying these this weekend!!

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over 1 year ago dfcourtright

any thoughts on making this gluten free? my mom makes these every year, but i haven't tried with bob's AP flour or almond, etc..

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over 1 year ago Art Deco

Hello, You could paint the cookies before they are baked and sprinkled with sugar. Into a cup add 1 egg yoke and a few drops of water; add a food color and stir with fork; paint cookie with small brush; add more cups for more colors (then add sugar to cookie). To make a tart, we would brush the cookie with egg white and add cinnamon.

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

over 1 year ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I made a batch of this dough the other night, and plan to start rolling/baking this evening. Cannot wait! What are the actual toppings that you used to decorate the cookies in the photo? I'm thinking about grinding up finely some maple-olive oil-pecan pralines that I made for another holiday cookie (inspired by Nekisia Davis' Genius granola) to sprinkle on lightly. And just raw sugar on a few batches. And maybe a thin hard-sauce inspired glaze (butter + confectioners' sugar + apple brandy) on some others. Love that moon shaped cookie, by the way. ;o)

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

My mother often uses sliced almonds. Here, the moons are topped with chopped walnuts; the stars and trees with green sanding sugar from Whole Foods (which is colored with spinach rather than dye) and chopped citron (from Kalustyans).

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

over 1 year ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Great tips! Definitely will try to run down that green sanding sugar. Not sure where I can get decent chopped citron locally, but it sounds worth the effort of trying to run it down. Thanks so much. ;o)