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Perfect Sugar Cookie Cutouts

Perfect Sugar Cookie Cutouts

the perfect sugar cookie cutouts

Everyone loves a good cut out cookie! They are fun, festive and these are by far the best tasting I've ever had! The cream cheese in the dough makes them very easy to roll out and work with while the citrus zest, nutmeg and almond extract give it a unique and amazing flavor! Licking the bowl simply won't do; I've been known to sneak a few tablespoons full of the raw dough as an appetizer! This recipe doubles well for a big batch and after you taste one...there will be no question about always making the double batch in the future! So start stocking up on your cookie cutters because once you serve these perfect cut outs, you'll be asked to bring them to every gathering!

Toppings can really be of your own choosing. My mom loves a thick butter-based frosting while I have always been a fan of a simpler, thin confectioner's glaze. You could also sprinkle some colorful jimmies on before putting in the oven, dip into chocolate or simply dust with powdered sugar.

 look at that perfect dough, flecked with bits of citrus zest!

look at that perfect dough, flecked with bits of citrus zest!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp for 1 hour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1 / 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

 

 an army of cookie men, waiting to be "dressed"

an army of cookie men, waiting to be "dressed"

Directions:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese and egg and mix until well Incorporated. Add the extracts and zest. In a separate bowl, mixed together the flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture a little at a time. Do not overmix. Divide the dough in half, form into disks and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350°F. Roll out each dough disc to 1/4" to 1/8" thickness. Cut out desired cookie shapes. Bake cookies 8-12 minutes, depending on thickness. Let cool completely on a wire cooling rack before icing and decorating. Store in a tightly covered container. 

 sweet shamrock cut out cookies, for luck!

sweet shamrock cut out cookies, for luck!

For the thin glaze mentioned above...mix together approximately 1 cup of confectioner's sugar with 2-3 Tablespoons milk. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved, adding a bit more milk if necessary. Then add just a pinch of salt, food coloring and extracts. Individually dip each cookie "face down" into the glaze (see photo above) and let them dry over a cooling grid. Place a sheet of wax paper underneath to catch any drips.

For this amount of icing, I suggest any ONE of the following flavor combinations:

  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla plus 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermintextract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla plus 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract (or use 1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice instead of the extract, but reduce the amount of milk by 1 Tablespoon)
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