In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric stand mixer or hand mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, and vanilla and almond extracts.
Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Once the dough mixes into a ball, you’re done mixing. Test that the dough is sticky and holds a shape but doesn’t stick to your fingers. Do not chill dough.
Divide the dough into 2 balls, then form them into 2 inch thick rectangles discs. This will keep the dough from falling apart while rolling, and the rectangular shape will help you cut more cookies out of each rolling.
On a floured surface, roll each ball into a circle approximately 12 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick.
Dip the cookie cutter in flour before each use and cut out shapes.
Bake the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet(s) with parchment paper (optional). Bake for 8-11 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Move the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.
This recipe makes about 3 dozen 3-inch cookies
Bake time will vary depending on the size of your cookies. 3-inch cookies will take about 8-11 minutes. Smaller cookies will need less time.
To add flavor: The use of two extracts in this recipe really enhances the flavor. To customize your cookies, substitute your favorite flavor for the almond and vanilla extract. Almond, lemon, and peppermint are particular favorites for cookies. Adding grated lemon or lime zest also adds rich citrus flavor.
To add color:Icing colors are perfect for coloring cookie dough. Add a small amount of food color at a time to the dough to reach the desired shade. Use a mixer to blend the color well.
Use real butter: Margarine and butter spreads will give very different results, so don’t substitute out real butter.
Use room temperature ingredients: Make sure your butter is at room temperature so it can easily be combined with the sugar. Butter that’s too cold may cause you to have little bits of butter in your dough. Butter that’s too soft could cause the dough to be too soft, which could lead to your cookies spreading while baking. Learn how to perfectly soften butter here.
Make sure to measure the flour properly: Measuring your flour incorrectly is one of the biggest cookie mistakes you can make. If you’re scooping your flour into the measuring cup directly from the bag, you could be using as much as 30% extra flour in your dough. This extra flour will make your cookies dry and tough. The proper way to measure your flour is to spoon the flour directly into a dry measuring cup and smooth off the top with a knife.
Scrape down the bowl often: Don’t forget to scrape the bottom of the bowl, as dry ingredients can sometimes get trapped. Not scraping down the bowl can cause a dense, poorly-aerated paste to build up on the sides. Left unattended, those denser areas can streak the dough and cause it to spread unevenly as the sugar cookies bake.
Avoid overmixing your dough: Be careful not to overmix your dough! As soon as your dough starts to clump together, you’re ready to roll.
For evenly rolled cookies: Use a rolling pin with guide rings or use guides on either side of the dough. Lollipop sticks or dowel rods that are an eighth to a quarter inch thick are excellent guides. Set two of the same size style rods or sticks on the counter on either side of cookie dough and roll over them. Sprinkle a little flour on the surface and on top of the dough, but be careful because too much flour can make the cookies tougher.
Removing rolled dough from the countertop: To remove rolled dough from the countertop, slide an offset spatula underneath the dough to loosen any sticky patches and prevent tearing.
Re-roll the dough only once: The more times you re-roll the dough, the gluten will get tougher, leading to tougher cookies.
Dip cookie cutters in flour: Dip cookie cutters in flour between almost every cut. This will prevent the dough from sticking to your cutter. The flour on the edges of the cookie will also help seal it, which will help your cookies keep their shape in the oven.
For a softer cookie: For a softer cookie, underbake slightly and allow the cookies to finish on the hot pan.
How to Store & Freeze:
To store dough for later use: Form the dough into a ball, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for 2 to 3 months. Let thaw completely in the fridge overnight before using. Bring to room temperature for about an hour, then you can roll and cut.
To freeze baked sugar cookies: Layer undecorated baked cookies in an airtight container or freezer bag with parchment paper or wax paper in between the layers of cookies. Freeze for 3 to 4 months.
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WILTON BLOG The Best Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe https://blog.wilton.com/how-to-make-sugar-cookies/