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Cut Out Cookies Recipe

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Cut-out cookies may bring to mind visions of snow and Santa, but don’t be fooled – these delicious treats can rock any time of the year! Pick up a few pantry staples for an easy baking session that’s sure to have you creating edible masterpieces. Just don’t forget what comes after bake time: decorating your tasty works of art so everyone knows just how creative (and talented) you are in the kitchen!

Christmas tree cookie decorated with green icing and sprinkles.

Christmas cut-outs can be topped with colorful icing, sprinkles, and decorations. If it’s not Christmas time, you can simply sprinkle them with sugar or drizzle melted chocolate over them for a delicious treat. Cut-out cookies are also perfect for any occasion – you could make them in shapes like hearts, stars, and flowers.

If you’re feeling really creative, try using cookie cutters to shape your dough into animals or other fun designs. Whatever you choose to make with them, cut-out cookies will bring a smile to the faces of your loved ones. So, go ahead and get baking!

My mother has used this sugar cookie recipe for years. Let’s look at how they are made.

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Ingredients to make cut out cookies.

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
Pour salt into a flour mixture.
  • Cream shortening, sugar, milk, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add eggs and blend thoroughly.
Adding vanilla to sugar and shortening in a bowl.
  • Blend the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture.
Cookie dough in a mixing bowl.
  • Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about ¼ inch (6 mm) thick.
  • Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes from the dough and place them on the prepared baking sheets. Take the excess scraps and form into a ball. Re-roll the dough to ¼ inch (6 mm) thickness and cut out more shapes.
Cut out cookies cooling on a wire rack.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly golden. Allow the cookies to cool completely on wire racks before decorating.

These cut-out cookies will stay fresh for at least a week when stored in an airtight container.

To decorate, you can use store-bought icing, royal icing, or make your own with powdered sugar, milk, and food coloring. You can also use melted chocolate or sprinkles to add a bit of extra sweetness. 

Substitutions/Variations

If you don’t have shortening, you can use butter or margarine instead. You can also substitute the nutmeg for other spices like cinnamon or allspice or simply omit it.

You can add fresh lemon zest and substitute lemon extract in place of vanilla for a refreshing citrus take. 

Cut out cookies in the shape of Christmas trees on a wire rack.

Can I freeze cut-out cookies?

Yes, you can freeze cut-out cookies. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer the cookies to an airtight container or freezer bag and store for up to 3 months.

Tips

When making cut-out cookies, it is important to keep your work surface and rolling pin lightly floured. This will help prevent the dough from sticking and make it easier to roll out.

If you are using cookie cutters with intricate designs, you may need to dip them in flour before cutting out the shapes. This will help prevent the dough from sticking to the cutters.

Three cookies on a plate.
Christmas cookies made by my mother.

I use this cookie recipe to make a copycat of the Girl Scouts’ famous Samoa Cookie.

Christmas tree cookie decorated with green icing and sprinkles.

Cut Out Cookie Dough Recipe

Cut-out cookies are a Christmas classic, but they can be enjoyed any time of the year! These little gems are made with basic pantry ingredients and are easy to make. 
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Batches: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 36 cookies
Calories: 79kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.
  • Cream shortening, sugar, milk, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add eggs and blend thoroughly.
  • Blend flour mixture into creamed mixture.
  • Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about ¼ inch (6 mm) thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes from the dough and place them on the prepared baking sheets. Take the excess scraps and form into a ball. Re-roll the dough to ¼ inch (6 mm) thickness and cut out more shapes.
  • Bake for 8 – 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly golden. Allow the cookies to cool completely on wire racks before decorating.

Notes

Nutrition information does not include icing or toppings.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 79kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 66mg | Potassium: 13mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 14IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg
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Be sure to come back and tell us how your cut-out cookies turned out!

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