It's that time of year again...cookie time!!! Well, I guess for most people it's actually Valentine's Day, but I use any excuse to make cutout cookies with decorative icing. They can be challenging and they do take some time from start to finish, so I typically make the process stretch over several days, broken into smaller steps. They aren't as difficult as one might think if you follow a few important tips. And they are so worth it!
Preparing Cookie Dough
I use the recipe for cookie dough found here. My stand mixer, a trusty old Oster from the 80's, can barely handle it when I double the recipe--but that's what I recommend if your mixer can handle it. I have been known to quadruple this recipe, making two double batches all at once. (It you're going to the trouble of making decorated cutout cookies, you might as well make a bunch! Then you will have at least SOME cookies left to decorate after your family members scarf down the warm, buttery cookies right when they come out of the oven...)
Tips for mixing cookie dough:
- Start with ingredients (butter and eggs) at room temperature
- Mix the butter and sugar until fluffy
- Add flour relatively quickly, mixing until just blended (to avoid overmixing flour)
I like the recipe's detailed instructions on how to cut out the cookies. The most important tip is to keep the dough very cold. Turn portions of the dough out onto a piece of wax paper (I prefer wax paper; Raeanne uses plastic wrap) and pat it into a disk.
You may think the next step is to cut out the cookies, but it isn't. The next step is to pop your rolled dough disks into the freezer and go do something else.
Later (or the next day) when you are ready to bake the cookies, remove one disk from the freezer and gently peel both the top and bottom wax paper pieces from the disk, leaving one in place under the dough. Put a piece of parchment paper on your cookie sheet, and you are ready to cut cookies!
After the cookies cool, store them in airtight containers and hide them. Seriously! If you want to have cookies left to decorate when you return, you will need to store them in a secure location. I have stowed my stash in two different secure locations that I cannot disclose here because The Cookie Thieves might read this.