A holiday tradition that goes back generations in my family is gathering together to decorate and bake cutout cookies. Everyone usually brings a batch of their favorite sugar cookie dough, their sprinkle collection (we don’t mess around — my sprinkles currently fill a 16-gallon bin) and an assortment of cookie cutters. Though I live too far away to partake in the family event anymore, I still bake cutouts every December and invite friends over to help with the decorating. This year I’ll be baking solo because of the pandemic, but still look forward to sharing the spoils with friends and family. Below is my go-to cookie recipe for the task:
Grace’s Cutout Cookies
Adapted from a recipe published in Taste of Home
Makes 3-4 dozen (using 3ish-inch cookie cutters)
- 1 ½ sticks butter, warmed to room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 ¾ cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour, baking powder and salt. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters.
From this point you have two options:
- You can decorate the cookies the way my cousins and I always did: Brush the cutout shapes with egg white and apply sprinkles before baking.
- You can decorate the way my friends and I usually do: Bake and cool the plain cookies. Then generously spread your favorite frosting over the top and dust with sprinkles. I often use melted chocolate in a pastry bag to draw on details as well.
Either way, the cookies should bake for 8-10 minutes at 375° until they are just barely turning light brown at the edges. Let set for a minute and then remove to wire racks to cool.
Pro decorating tip: Use a small sheet of paper as a straight edge for your sprinkle application. You can also cut shapes in a sheet of paper and use it as a stencil.