I came across this recipe from the website “Kitchn”. These cut out cookies are so delicious on their own, but I made a few small modifications. I left out almond extract because I do not care for it, as well as the lemon zest to allow the vanilla extract to come through. I also decreased the baking powder to just 1 teaspoon to ensure these cookies have only a little rise. If they rise too much the surface may become uneven, making decorating more difficult.
These cookies are thick, buttery and soft if taken out of the oven on time. The addition of cream cheese really sets these apart from other cut-out cookies. Be careful when baking these, because if baked too long they will turn form soft to brick quickly. I bake mine until the tops are just set and center of cookie is barely glistening, ~ 8 minutes. If the edges have started to brown they are likely over baked. It is important to allow these to cool on cookie tray for 5 minutes to firm up before transferring. I have cried “man down” many times when trying to transfer them to a drying rack too soon. This did not turn out too bad though, considering I had a few extra to snack on while decorating….darn :).
I will also mention this recipe is not gluten-free. I had a lot of trouble making gluten-free because the dough would not come together well, rather became very crumbly. I tried increasing the amount of fat and liquid but still had trouble. I am determined to create an amazing gluten-free cut out cookie, and will absolutely share with you all soon!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8-10 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total Time 85 minutes
• 1 cup unsalted butter softened at room temperature for 1 hour
• 2 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 large egg
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (preferred)
• 3 cups flour
• 1 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl, using a hand mixer), cream butter and cream cheese with sugar. Beat for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract.
2. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Gradually add to the butter and sugar mixture until fully incorporated and a soft dough is formed.
3. At this point the dough can, and should be, chilled or frozen. If making cookies in the near future, divide the dough into 2 balls and roll each out to 1/4 to 1/8-inch thickness between large pieces of parchment paper. I tend to roll mine on the thicker side, ~1/4 in. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. You may also freeze the dough balls by wrapping in plastic wrap, freezer paper and a freezer plastic bag for up to 1 month. To thaw, leave in the refrigerator overnight then proceed with the recipe.
4. To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare baking sheets by lining them with parchment or a Silpat. Dust a light layer of flour over your dough and dip your cookie cutter in a small bowl of flour. Cut cookies out of the rolled dough and place on the prepared baking sheets. I like to lift my cookies off the parchment with a thin metal spatula dipped in flour to ensure the cookies do not stick or crack. Space cookies out by 1 in. They will not spread much.
5. Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness, again I lean towards 8 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet, then remove to a wire rack to cool further.
6. Cool cookies completely before icing or decorating. Store in an air-tight container or begin decorating!