We added some almond extract to amp up the flavors of our Kid-Friendly Cut-Outs. If you prefer, you can fancy up the flavors by using brown sugar in the dough or substituting extra vanilla, lemon or orange flavor.
If you don't have time to do all the steps at one sitting, this dough can be refrigerated for a few days. Or you can freeze up to a month. Thaw frozen dough in the refrigerator overnight before using.
The cookies as shown take some patience. You'll need to roll, cut strips and cut out. Then recycle the strips for more strips or to use to cut out multicolor hearts. What's great is you can use your imagination. The cookies can be as precise or random as you like.
Baked cookies will keep at room temperature for a few days in a sealed container. They also can be frozen for about a month. Defrost and allow to air out before decorating.
Makes 24 - 36 cookies, depending on size and desired thickness. We like these rolled out a little on the thicker side, about 3/8 inch thick.
INGREDIENTS AND EQUIPMENT
- 1 cup (2 sticks, 227g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 ounces (56g) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1-1/2 teaspoons almond extract
- 3-1/2 cups (507g) all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- parchment paper
- rolling pin
- cookie cutters
- In your stand mixer fitted with SideSwipe or your flat beater, combine butter, cream cheese and sugar. Beat at medium high speed until light and fluffy.
- Add vanilla and egg. Beat on medium until well combined.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl, mixing on lowest speed just until combined.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Divide the dough into two or three rounds and mix in gel colors until you achieve your desired result. Roll each color of dough onto sheets of parchment paper, to an even thickness of about 3/8 inch or a little more.
- Cut strips of each color and arrange on a separate sheet of parchment. Gently push the stripes together. It may also help to gently roll over the striped dough with your rolling pin to get the dough strips to hold together.
- Use cookie cutters to cut out desired shapes. Remove the dough from around the cutters, leaving the cut-outs in place on the paper to avoid distorting the shapes, especially if your dough is thin. We were able to lift to a new sheet with a floured metal spatula. If the dough gets too warm, refrigerate again for 15-20 minutes until cool. Reroll scraps between parchment sheets and repeat the cut-out procedure.
- Transfer cookies to baking sheets on the parchment. These cookies spread very little, so you can bake with about an inch around each cookie.
- Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the cookies just start to color at the bottom edges and the dough no longer looks wet on top. We baked the mini cookies (about 1-1/2 inches) around 6 minutes. Do NOT bake until they are golden - they will become dry and slightly brittle.
- Let cool for 5 minutes on the warm cookie sheet. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.