I prefer a sugar cookie with flavour over sweetness. And for the love of pete, if we are planning to use cookie cutters, there had better not be any spread. Nothing ruins a cookie making endeavor like SPREAD. You know, you’ve spent hours making, mixing, baking, and icing only to hear “Oh, nice cookie, Susie. Is that a kitty?” No, you jackass, it is a bat wielding a pitchfork.
Aaaaaanyhow… Here is my go-to recipe for cut-out cookies. I adapted it from this perfectly fine recipe at Epicurious. Feel free to swap out almond extract for the vanilla, add a bit of freshly ground pepper (seriously), switch out the citrus, and get freaky with the spices. Top as you like, we used raw sugar this time around.
Best Sugar Cookies (adapted from Epicurious)
- 1 1/4 C AP flour
- 1 1/4 C whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 t ground cardamom
- 1 t ground cinnamon
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 1/2 C unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/4 C sugar
- Freshly grated zest from 3 clementines
- Juice from 1 clementine
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- About 3 T melted butter
- Raw sugar, cinnamon sugar, lemon sugar, OR vanilla sugar
Combine flours, spices, and salt and set aside.
Beat butter in large bowl until creamy. Gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in clementine zest, juice, and vanilla. Add egg and beat for one minute on high.
Stir 1/3 of flour mixture into butter mixture until just combined. Add remaining flour in 2 additions until all is combined.
Divide dough into four flattened discs, wrap each in cling wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. You can leave dough in fridge for several days.
Preheat to 350°F. Roll out dough disc to about the same thickness you would a pie crust. Cut out cookies, place on parchment- or Silpat-lined baking sheet. Brush each cookie with melted butter and sprinkle with your choice of sugar. If you would prefer to ice the cookies, reduce sugar to 1 C plus 1 T.
Bake cookies until light golden brown, about 12 minutes.
CHOCOLATE-DIPPED SPICE COOKIES
Add 1/2 t ground cloves and 1 t freshly grated nutmeg. Reduce sugar to 1 C. Instead of dividing into four discs, divide dough in two and roll each half into a cylinder about 2 1/2” diameter. Wrap each log in cling wrap and refrigerate as directed about.
Slice into 1/4” thick circles and bake for about 14 minutes. Let cool completely and then dip each cooled cookie into melted dark or bittersweet chocolate. Let rest until chocolate is set and then devour.