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Cookie Cut-Outs

Start with these basics to make endless variations on holiday themes.
 

Learning Benefits

Makes three dozen.

What you need: 

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, and more for the work surface
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Nonstick cooking spray

What to do:

  1. In a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed of an electric mixer for 1 minute.
  2. Gradually add the sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  3. Measure flour into a large sifter set over a dinner plate. Add baking soda and salt to flour. Sift flour mixture into the egg-butter mixture and beat on medium speed until smooth. If the dough seems sticky, beat in a few more tablespoons of flour.
  4. Remove the dough from the bowl, form it into 3 balls, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight. (The dough may also be frozen for up to a month.)
  5. When ready to bake, set the dough on the work surface for 5 minutes or until pliable. Knead it briefly with your hands if necessary until it is pliable. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Lightly sprinkle work surface with flour.
  6. Roll out the dough to about 1/8-inch thick. Cut out cookies with a table knife or holiday cookie cutters. Reroll the scraps and cut out more cookies.
  7. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the bottoms are just starting to brown and the tops are firm. Remove cookies with a spatula to a wire rack. Let cool about 15 minutes before icing.

Plus: 
12 Cookie Recipes
How to Host a Cookie Exchange

Photo Credit: Mike Watson Images/Thinkstock

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