The Bored Girl's Kitchen

{April 9, 2012}   Holiday Cookies

Verdict: I have no idea why I try to make cookies that require being cut out, but they still taste pretty good.

Oh my god an actual recipe! That’s right, I made something out of a cookbook! Also, where cooking allows for a lot of leeway, there’s a lot less leeway in baking.  Baking has directions, cooking has guidelines.  This is why I normally cook and don’t normally bake. But I was bored, and decided to give it a shot anyway.

For this recipe (as given by The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook) you’ll need:
– 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

– 3/4 cup superfine sugar

– 1/4 teaspoon salt

– 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ pieces and softened

–  2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened

– 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

– Notes that they make: “Superfine sugar will give your cookies a finer crumb and crispier texture.  If you can’t find it in the supermarket, simply process about 1 cup granulated sugar in a food processor for about 30 seconds, then measure out 3/4 cup for the recipe.  The dough scraps can be patted together, chilled, and re-rolled one time only.” Also, the dough discs can be refrigerated, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 weeks. Defrost in the refrigerator.

– Notes I make: I just used 1 cup of granulated sugar, didn’t do anything to soften the butter other than leave it out while preparing everything, and ended up using 2 teaspoons of cream cheese instead of 2 tablespoons.  The cookies were difficult to roll out, but still tasted just fine.

Step 1: Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl.  Beat the butter into the flour mixture, one piece at a time, using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, then continue to beat until the mixture looks crumbly and slightly wet, 1-2 minutes.  Beat in the cream cheese and vanilla until the dough just begins to form large clumps, about 30 seconds.

Step 2: Knead the dough in the bowl by hand a few times until it forms a large, cohesive mass. Turn the dough out onto a clean counter, divide it in half, and pat into 2 4″ discs. Wrap the discs tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until they begin to firm up, 20-30 minutes.

Step 3: Take a break to wash up the dishes you’ve used, your glasses, and anything else you may have touched with your butter hands.

Step 4: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Working with one disk of dough at a time, roll out the dough to a 1/8″ thickness between two sheets of parchment paper.  Slide the rolled dough and parchment paper onto a baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, about 10 minutes.  I ended up having to leave mine in there about 20 or so.

Step 5: Go play some solitaire, or watch some TV while you wait for the dough to firm up.

Step 6: Working with one sheet of dough at a time, cut out shapes using cookie cutters and lay on two parchment-lined baking sheets, spaced about 1 inch apart.  Bake the cookies until light golden brown, about 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking. (While the first batch of cookies bakes, cut out cookies from the second sheet of dough and bake them while the first batch cools).  I hate cutting out shapes from cookie dough, but I did find one cutter that was generic enough to use.  I cut out all the shapes I could from each sheet, and ended up baking the scraps as oddly shaped cookies. I found I had to bake mine about 15 minutes or so, but that a lot of the thinner cookies ended up a darker brown.  There were no burned ones though, at least none that tasted burnt.

Step 7: Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes. When cooled, the cookies can be glazed and decorated as desired.  While waiting for the last batch of cookies to finish cooling, you can go ahead and clean out the rest of the cookie dough from under your nails. I don’t have a wire rack, so I just let them cool on the pan and transferred them right to the plate.   They’ve been out for a few days now and people seem to be enjoying them.  This is a not fantastic picture of them (somehow the picture I took didn’t end up staying on my camera, but I took this with my phone to taunt a few friends).

If you have any questions or comments you can either leave them below, or email me.  If you have a suggestion for a recipe or any other ideas, that email address is

Happy cooking!


et cetera
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