The Best Sugar Cut-Out Cookies … EVER

24 Nov

If it had not been the fact that I will be sharing these cookies with friends and family within the next few days – it is actually November 21 when I am writing this – I would publish this today.

So last year I tried making cut-out sugar cookies, the ones with the super spiffy shapes of snowmen, reindeer, and Santa Claus, but usually I’m not patient I try rolling out the dough immediately or even if I wait an hour or two, the dough just isn’t stiff enough to roll out. So this weekend, I was determined to get it right.

Ironically, I didn’t do much research for the cookies. I only went to two places: Joyofbaking.com and my handy-dandy Great American Home Baking cookbook that my mom somehow managed to save for many years.

Anyway, I found two recipes in both, but I wasn’t sure which one to pick. I compared the two recipes and realized that the Great American recipe contained almond extract and was garnished with nuts, but other than that was virtually exactly the same as Joyofbaking, so I did what any young, inexperienced baker would do: I combined the recipe taking elements from both. (There went the scientific ratios!) So Friday night, I made the cookie dough according to the Great American recipe but omitted the almond ingredients.

I let the dough chill over night and tried making mini pumpkin pie tarts, but that to be frank was quite a random endeavor that it was not destined to turn out very well. I made the pie crust as usual but since I used it for mini cupcake pans, the dough didn’t make a lot of tartlets so I had so much more pumpkin batter than tartlets.

In a spur the moment, I added a cup of flour and 2 tsp of baking soda to the extra pumpkin batter and poured it into a loaf pan. Amazingly enough, the ratio worked and I got a pumpkin loaf out of the extra batter. But to my dismay when I ate a slice, I realized the loaf was missing something. I could taste the pumpkin flavor, but it wasn’t kickin’. Maybe I needed more salt or sugar; I’m not sure. It was disappointing, but I can’t seem to throw it away so I’m slowing eating it.

Anyway, back to the sugar cookies. Saturday I rolled out the dough, cut out shapes, and then baked them.

Cuting out Sugar CookiesI brush the cookies with an egg white, and baked them at 350F for 13 minutes, let them cool on the trays for another 10 minutes, and then transferred them to cooling racks.

Cookies Chillin' on the Rack

Sugar Cookie Cut-outs

And then the hard part came: the lemon frosting. To this I went to Joyofbaking because I remembered having seen a sugar cookie glaze that looked really nice, and on the website, there it was: Royal Icing nicely pictured with blue frosted snowflakes.

I was terribly slow at making the frosting and nearly panicked when I read the directions saying to “use immediately” or else the icing dries with a crust. After an hour of frosting, I finally got them to look pretty good. I left about 1/3 of the cookies without icing in case people didn’t want frosting. Even though I prefer no frosting on my cookies, this Royal Icing was absolutely perfect for these cookies because it had 2 tsp of lemon juice/extract. It gave the cookies their bite since sugar cookies tend to be too sugary.

Anyway, here’s what they look like:

Final Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs

Pretty cute, right? I thought so at least. :)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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