If you like it, save it!
Save and organize all of the stuff you love in one place.Got it!
If you like something…
Click the heart, it's called favoriting. Favorite the stuff you like.Got it!
Author Notes: 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! - Amanda —Amanda Hesser
Food52 Review: “These cookies really do improve with age, so it’s a smart idea to make them at least 2 weeks before you want to eat them. This is also a healthy challenge. Be strong!” - Amanda —The Editors
Makes 80 cookies (depending on the cookie cutter size; you can halve or quarter the recipe)
- 1 1/4 pounds 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)
- A day before baking the cookies: In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or by hand, in a bowl with a wooden spoon), cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one by one, mixing after each addition, then the vanilla. Gradually work in the flour until a dough forms. Wrap the dough in waxed paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Heat the oven to 350° F. Whisk together the egg white and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Cut the dough into quarters and keep three-quarters cold while working with the first quarter.
- Generously flour your work surface. Lay down the dough. Flour again. Roll the dough into a large circle, about 1/8-inch thick -- and no thicker! Use cookie cutters to cut into shapes. It helps to dip the cutters into flour between every 2 cookies; this will prevent sticking. Place the cookies on ungreased baking sheets. Brush with the egg wash and decorate with chopped nuts, sanding sugar, or diced citron -- whatever you like!
- Bake the cookies until they are lightly browned on the edges, 8 to 10 minutes -- I like to turn the baking sheet 180 degrees after 5 minutes to help them bake evenly. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely. (Repeat with the rest of the dough.) Place the cookies in a tin or storage container with a tight lid and let age 1 to 2 weeks to bring out the flavor. (I have eaten them at Easter, 4 months later, and they were still delicious.)
- This recipe is a Community Pick!