Cookies make great snacks, bake sale bundles, homemade gifts and special holiday buffet treats. They are commonly grouped into five categories according to how they're shaped: drop, refrigerator, shaped, cutout and bars.
Cutout cookies have a firmer dough, and they're a popular addition to Christmas platters and gift packages. Below are some helpful tips and popular recipes featuring cutout cookies.
Christmas Cookie Ornaments help you get a head start on your holiday baking. Simply whip up the cookies any time you want and store them plain in your freezer. Come Christmas, you can fix homemade frosting and do the decorating. Then tie on ribbons and hang the shapes on your evergreen. Of course, you can also create these treats for eating! If you do, start them from scratch at holiday time and keep them in an airtight container.
Warm from the oven, Morven Baker's sugary Snowflake Cookies are guaranteed to melt in your mouth. "One cookie is never enough," she adds from Ashland, Ohio. So bake up a blizzard!
"My mom passed along the recipe for these crunchy Holly Wreath Cookies," notes Phyllis Rewey, Englewood, Florida. "They look festive dressed up with green and red gumdrops resembling holly leaves and berries."
A sweet frosting glaze, colorful candies and well-placed almond slices turn these sugar cookie diamonds into a big batch of Santa's helpers. TIP: Bake a batch of the adorable Elf Cookies as a classroom treat or use a few to brighten each of your cookie trays.
Light up your dessert tray this Christmas with heavenly Stained Glass Cutouts! They're twice the treat, since they feature hard candy in the middle of crisp sugar cookies. "The candy creates the 'stained glass' effect," notes Margaret Milleker of Baltimore, Maryland. "The cookies are pretty enough to hang in a window. But folks are sure to gobble them up!"
Cutout Cookies Tips
- Use a light touch when handling the dough; overhandling will cause the cookies to be tough.
- For easier handling, refrigerate the dough before rolling. This is especially true if the dough was made with butter rather than shortening.
- Lightly dust the rolling pin and work surface with flour to prevent sticking. Working too much extra flour into the dough will result in tough cookies.
- Roll out a portion of the dough at a time and keep the remaining dough in the refrigerator. Roll out from the center to the edge, keeping a uniform thickness and checking the thickness with a ruler. If the thickness of the dough is uneven, the cookies will bake unevenly. Thinner cookies will be crisp and may burn, while thicker cookies will be chewy.
- To prevent the dough from sticking to the cookie cutter, dip the cutter in flour or spray it with nonstick cooking spray.
- After the dough is rolled out, position the shapes from the cookie cutters close together to avoid having too many scraps. Save all the scraps and reroll them just once to prevent tough cookies.
- To keep the cutouts intact before and after baking, transfer them to and from the baking sheet with a large metal spatula or pancake turner that supports the entire cutout.