Cutout Treats - Taste of Home Cookies, Cakes, & Pies - Editors at Taste of Home

Taste of Home Cookies, Cakes, & Pies: Bake up 368 sweet sensations with three cookbooks in one - Editors at Taste of Home (2017)

Cutout Treats


WHO DOESN’T LIKE TO GET OUT A FEW COOKIE CUTTERS AND BAKE UP A LITTLE FUN? TURN TO THESE CUTE CUTOUTS WHEN YOU NEED AN EYE-APPEALING TREAT. FROM BAKE-SALE STANDOUTS TO CHRISTMAS COOKIE DELIGHTS, YOU’LL FIND OLD AND NEW FAVORITES RIGHT HERE!

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BIG BATCH

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Lemon Cutouts

Full of lemony flavor, these cookies are nice dainties for any time of the year. They’re always popular with family and friends.

—PATRICIA QUINN OMAHA, NE



PREP: 35 MIN. ✵ BAKE: 10 MIN./BATCH + COOLING ✵ MAKES: 5 DOZEN


1 cup shortening

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

FROSTING

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup shortening

1 teaspoon lemon extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Yellow colored sugar

1. In a large bowl, cream shortening and the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and extracts. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt; gradually beat into the creamed mixture.

2. Preheat oven to 375°. Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 3-in. flower-shaped cookie cutter. Place 1 in. apart on greased baking sheets.

3. Bake 6-8 minutes or until edges are light brown. Cool on pans for 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

4. For frosting, in a bowl, beat cream cheese, shortening and extracts until blended. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Spread over cookies; sprinkle with colored sugar. Let stand until set. Store in airtight containers in the refrigerator.

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Ghost Shortbread Cookies

Pac-Man was my favorite video game when I was growing up. For a party, I decided to get creative and shape my go-to sugar cookies into the ghosts from the game.

—JAMIE S. REGINA, SK



PREP: 45 MIN. ✵ BAKE: 5 MIN./BATCH ✵ MAKES: 2 1/2 DOZEN


1 cup butter, softened

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup cornstarch

2 cups all-purpose flour

Orange and blue food coloring, optional

FROSTING

1 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup butter, softened

2 1/2 teaspoons 2% milk

60 miniature semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 325°. In a large bowl, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch until blended. Gradually beat in flour. If desired, divide the dough in half; tint one portion orange and the other blue. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 2-in. tulip-shaped cookie cutter.

2. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake for 7-9 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

3. For frosting, in a small bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar, butter and milk; beat until smooth. Pipe the eyes onto each ghost with the frosting mixture; top with the chocolate chips. Let stand until set.

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FREEZE IT

Chocolate Marshmallow Cutouts

I make rich, fudgy cookies that taste like brownies with a marshmallow filling. I usually use heart-shaped cutters, but I’ve also left them uncut and filled with pink marshmallow creme.

—KELLY WARD STRATFORD, ON



PREP: 35 MIN. + CHILLING ✵ BAKE: 10 MIN./BATCH + COOLING ✵ MAKES: ABOUT 2 DOZEN


1 1/4 cups butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup baking cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow creme

1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Refrigerate, covered, 1 hour or until firm enough to shape.

2. Preheat oven to 350°. Shape level tablespoons of dough into balls; place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 6-8 minutes or until cookies are set. Using a 1 1/4-in. heart-shaped cookie cutter, score center of half of the cookies. Cool completely on pans on wire racks.

3. Using the same heart-shaped cookie cutter, gently cut scored cookie tops and remove the center of each. Spread marshmallow creme over the bottom of the solid cookies; cover with remaining cookies.

FREEZE OPTION Freeze shaped balls of dough on baking sheets until firm. Transfer to resealable plastic freezer bags; return to the freezer. To use, bake cookies as directed.

Crisp Butter Cookies

With just six everyday ingredients plus colored sugar, you can bake dozens of from-scratch cutouts. Bring a plate of the goodies to your next get-together.

—TAMMY MACKIE SEWARD, NE



PREP: 20 MIN. ✵ BAKE: 10 MIN./BATCH ✵ MAKES: 2 1/2 DOZEN


1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

5 large egg yolks

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

Colored sugar

1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. In a small bowl, combine flour and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture, mixing well (dough will be very stiff).

2. On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8-in. thickness. With a sharp knife or pastry wheel, cut dough into 2 1/2-in. squares, rectangles or diamonds. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Sprinkle with colored sugar.

3. Bake at 375° for 7-8 minutes or until lightly browned. (Watch carefully as cookies will brown quickly.) Remove to wire racks to cool. Store in an airtight container.

TOP TIP

Sticky Situation: Marshmallow Creme

To easily remove marshmallow creme from a jar, place the jar in a pan of hot water. Repeat this once or twice, and then spoon out the creme with a wooden spoon.

—MARY FRENCH PORT ORANGE, FL

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Gingerbread Cookies with Buttercream Icing

When it’s time to start the cookie baking season, this recipe is always the first one I use. My mother-in-law originally shared the recipie with me, but it is too good to keep to myself! You can tint the buttery icing a cheery pink or green and pipe it on with a decorating tip.

—ANN SCHERZER ANACORTES, WA



PREP: 30 MIN. + CHILLING ✵ BAKE: 10 MIN./BATCH + COOLING ✵ MAKES: 1 1/2 DOZEN


2/3 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

1/4 cup molasses

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, cloves and ginger

ICING

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/3 cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon lemon extract

1/4 teaspoon butter flavoring

3 to 4 tablespoons milk

1. In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and spices; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 3 1/2-in. cookie cutter into desired shapes. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Remove from pans to cool on wire racks.

3. For icing, beat confectioners’ sugar, butter, extracts and flavoring in a bowl. Gradually stir in enough milk to achieve desired consistency. Frost cookies as desired. Let stand until set.

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BIG BATCH

Deluxe Sugar Cookies

Christmas cutouts signal the start of the holidays. For variety, sprinkle half of the cookies with colored sugar before baking, and frost the rest after they’ve cooled.

—DAWN FAGERSTROM WARREN, MN



PREP: 20 MIN. + CHILLING ✵ BAKE: 10 MIN./BATCH ✵ MAKES: 5 DOZEN (2-INCH COOKIES)


1 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 large egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extracts. Combine flour, baking soda and cream of tartar; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Chill for at least 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.

2. Divide the dough into four sections. On a surface lightly sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar, roll out one section to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut into desired shapes. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough. Bake at 350° for 7-8 minutes, or until edges begin to brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.

NOTE Cookies may be sprinkled with colored sugar before baking or frosted after being baked and cooled.

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Lemon-Lime Butter Cookies

I was looking for a light cookie that would freeze and travel well, but I couldn’t find one, so I created these. They are so good you won’t be able to eat just one.

—BRENDA BROOKS BOWIE, MD



PREP: 20 MIN. + CHILLING ✵ BAKE: 20 MIN./BATCH ✵ MAKES: 3 1/2 DOZEN


3/4 cup butter, softened

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

3 tablespoons grated lime peel

1 tablespoon grated lemon peel

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 cups all-purpose flour

1. In a small bowl, beat butter and confectioners’ sugar until blended. Beat in citrus peels and lemon juice. Gradually beat in flour.

2. Shape into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm enough to roll.

3. Preheat oven to 325°. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 2-in. round cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.

4. Bake 16-19 minutes or until edges are light brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

BIG BATCH

Caramel Pecan Shortbread

My grandchildren look for Grandma’s “candy bar cookies” every Christmas. I recommend doubling the recipe for these sweet treats because they go fast.

—DOROTHY BUITER WORTH, IL



PREP: 30 MIN. + CHILLING ✵ BAKE: 15 MIN./BATCH + COOLING ✵ MAKES: ABOUT 4 DOZEN


3/4 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons evaporated milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

FILLING

28 caramels

6 tablespoons evaporated milk

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

3/4 cup finely chopped pecans

ICING

1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

3 tablespoons evaporated milk

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pecan halves

1. In a large bowl, cream butter and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in milk and vanilla. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut into 2x1-in. strips. Place 1 in. apart on greased baking sheets.

3. Bake at 325° for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

4. For filling, combine caramels and milk in a large saucepan. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until caramels are melted and smooth. Remove from the heat; stir in the butter, confectioners’ sugar and pecans. Cool for 5 minutes. Spread 1 teaspoon over each cookie.

5. For icing, in a microwave-safe bowl, melt chips and milk; stir until smooth. Stir in the butter, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until smooth. Cool for 5 minutes.

6. Spread 1 teaspoon of icing on each cookie; top each with a pecan half. Let stand until set. Store in an airtight container.

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BIG BATCH

Pistachio-Walnut Cookies

I’ve had this cookie in my rotation for many years, and it never fails to please. I prefer pistachio nuts and black walnuts on top, but use whatever nuts you prefer.

—LORRAINE CALAND SHUNIAH, ON



PREP: 35 MIN. + CHILLING ✵ BAKE: 10 MIN./BATCH + COOLING ✵ MAKES: 4 DOZEN


3/4 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

TOPPINGS

1 large egg white

1 teaspoon water

2/3 cup chopped pistachios

2/3 cup chopped black walnuts

Melted dark chocolate chips, optional

1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and nutmeg; gradually beat into creamed mixture.

2. Divide dough in half. Shape each into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm enough to roll.

3. Preheat oven to 375°. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 2 1/2-in. flower-shaped cookie cutter. Using a floured 1-in. flower-shaped cookie cutter, cut and remove the center of each. Reroll removed centers and scraps. Place cookies 1 in. apart on greased baking sheets.

4. In a small bowl, whisk egg white and water until blended; brush lightly over tops. Sprinkle with nuts.

5. Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool on pans for 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

6. If desired, drizzle tops with melted chocolate. Let stand until set.

FREEZE IT BIG BATCH

Cherry Biscochitos

I discovered the wonderful anise flavor of biscochitos, which are traditional cookies of New Mexico. I created my own version with maraschino cherries and fresh cranberries.

—MARY SHIVERS ADA, OK



PREP: 45 MIN. ✵ BAKE: 10 MIN./BATCH ✵ MAKES: 11 DOZEN


1 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

1/4 cup maraschino cherry juice

1/4 teaspoon anise extract

3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, finely chopped

1/4 cup maraschino cherries, well-drained and finely chopped

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, cherry juice and anise extract. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Stir in cranberries and cherries.

2. Divide dough in half; shape each into a disk. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 2-in. star-shaped cookie cutter. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.

3. Bake for 7-9 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Remove from oven and immediately dust cookies with confectioners’ sugar. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

FREEZE OPTION Freeze cookies, layered between waxed paper, in freezer containers. To use, thaw before serving or, if desired, reheat on a baking sheet in a preheated 350° oven until warmed.

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BIG BATCH

Apricot-Filled Triangles

It’s a good thing this recipe makes a big batch because it seems no one can stop eating these! The crisp, buttery cookies truly do melt in your mouth.

—MILDRED LORENCE CARLISLE, PA



PREP: 1 1/4 HOURS + CHILLING ✵ BAKE: 10 MIN./BATCH + COOLING ✵ MAKES: 6 DOZEN


1 pound dried apricots (2 1/2 cups)

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup sugar

DOUGH

2/3 cup shortening

3 tablespoons 2% milk

1 1/3 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon lemon extract

4 cups cake flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1. In a small saucepan, cook apricots and water over low heat for 45 minutes or until the water is absorbed and apricots are soft. Cool slightly; transfer to a blender. Cover and process until smooth. Add sugar; cover and process until blended. Set aside.

2. In a large saucepan over low heat, melt shortening and milk. Remove from heat; stir in sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Stir in extract. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to the saucepan and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or until easy to handle.

3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 3-in. round cookie cutter. Place 1 teaspoon apricot filling in the center of each. Bring three edges together over filling, overlapping slightly (a small portion of filling will show in the center); pinch edges gently. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.

4. Bake at 400° for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.

BIG BATCH

Best-Ever Sugar Cookies

What makes these cookies the best ever? Delicious dough flavored with cream cheese, vanilla, almond and a hint of nutmeg that’s wonderfully easy to work with. The adorable decorations don’t hurt, either!

—CHRISTY HINRICHS SPARKVILLE, MO



PREP: 30 MIN. + CHILLING ✵ BAKE: 10 MIN./BATCH + COOLING ✵ MAKES: ABOUT 4 DOZEN


1 cup butter, softened

3 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

1 large egg yolk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

ICING

3 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/3 cup water

4 teaspoons meringue powder

Assorted colors of liquid food coloring

1. In a large bowl, cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolk and extracts. Combine the flour, salt, baking soda and nutmeg; gradually add to creamed mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or until easy to handle.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with floured 2 1/2-in. cookie cutters.

3. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

4. For icing, in a small bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar, water and meringue powder; beat on low speed just until combined. Beat on high for 4 minutes or until soft peaks form. Cover icing with damp paper towels or plastic wrap between uses.

5. Working quickly, spread or pipe icing over the cookies; let dry at room temperature for several hours or until firm. Use small new paintbrushes or toothpicks and food coloring to make designs on the cookies. Let stand until set. Store in an airtight container.

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BIG BATCH

Brown Sugar Cutout Cookies

My neighbor made these for me when I was little, and now I make them for my kids, grandkids and for school children. Serve them with milk for the kids and tea for the grown-ups.

—NANCY LYNCH SOMERSET, PA



PREP: 55 MIN. + CHILLING ✵ BAKE: 10 MIN./BATCH + COOLING ✵ MAKES: 7 1/2 DOZEN


1 cup butter, softened

2 cups packed dark brown sugar

3 large eggs

6 tablespoons cold water

3 tablespoons canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

ICING

1 cup butter, softened

4 teaspoons meringue powder

3 teaspoons cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 cups confectioners’ sugar

4 to 6 tablespoons water

1. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, water, oil and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture.

2. Divide dough into four portions. Shape each into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm enough to roll.

3. Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 2 1/4-in. fluted square cookie cutter. Place 1 in. apart on greased baking sheets.

4. Bake 7-9 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

5. For icing, in a small bowl, beat butter, meringue powder, cream of tartar and salt until blended. Beat in confectioners’ sugar alternately with enough water to reach a spreading consistency. Spread over cookies. Let stand until set.

NOTE Meringue powder is available from Wilton Industries. Call 800-794-5866 or visit wilton.com.

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FREEZE IT

Chocolate-Glazed Doughnut Cookies

My little nieces love to help decorate these doughnut-shaped cookies. They top them with sprinkles or chopped pecans.

—JOLIE STINSON MARION, IN



PREP: 35 MIN. + CHILLING ✵ BAKE: 15 MIN./BATCH + STANDING ✵ MAKES: 1 1/2 DOZEN


11/2 cups butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

31/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

GLAZE

1/2 cup butter, cubed

1/4 cup half-and-half cream

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Sprinkles or chopped nuts, optional

1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. In another bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture.

2. Divide dough in half. Shape each into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm enough to roll.

3. Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough to 1/2-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 3-in. doughnut-shaped cookie cutter. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.

4. Bake 12-14 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool on pans for 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

5. For glaze, in a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in cream, corn syrup and vanilla. Reduce heat to low. Add chocolate; whisk until blended. Transfer to a large bowl. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Dip tops of cookies into glaze. Decorate as desired with sprinkles or chopped nuts. Let stand 30 minutes or until set.

FREEZE OPTION Place wrapped disks in resealable plastic freezer bag; freeze. To use, thaw disks in refrigerator until soft enough to roll. Prepare, bake and decorate cookies as directed.

BIG BATCH

Granny’s Spice Cookies

No one can compete with Granny’s cooking, but these spice cookies come pretty close!

—VALERIE HUDSON MASON CITY, IA



PREP: 20 MIN. + CHILLING ✵ BAKE: 10 MIN. ✵ MAKES: 4 DOZEN


1 cup butter, softened

11/2 cups sugar

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

2 tablespoons grated orange peel

1 tablespoon cold water

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Red Hot candies, nonpareils and/or sprinkles

1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, corn syrup, orange peel and cold water. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and cloves; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Divide dough in half. Shape each into a disk; wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until firm enough to roll.

2. Preheat oven to 375°. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut into desired shapes with a cookie cutter. Place 1 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Decorate as desired. Bake until lightly browned, 6-8 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

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FREEZE IT BIG BATCH

Mint-Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies

A delicious little festive morsel. The cookie is crisp, buttery and not too sweet, which complements the chocolate and candy perfectly.

—DAHLIA ABRAMS DETROIT, MI



PREP: 40 MIN. + CHILLING ✵ BAKE: 15 MIN./BATCH + COOLING ✵ MAKES: ABOUT 6 DOZEN


2 cups butter, softened

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup sugar

4 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

4 cups (24 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons shortening

2 teaspoons peppermint extract

1/2 cup crushed candy canes (about 5 regular size)

1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. In another bowl, whisk flour and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Divide dough in half. Shape each into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm enough to roll.

2. Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 2-in. round cookie cutter. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.

3. Bake 12-15 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

4. In top of a double boiler or a metal bowl over barely simmering water, melt chocolate chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Stir in extract. Dip each cookie halfway into chocolate mixture; shake off excess. Place on waxed paper; sprinkle with candies. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets; refrigerate until set.

FREEZE OPTION Freeze decorated cookies, layered between waxed paper, in freezer containers. To use, thaw in covered containers.

BIG BATCH

Star Anise-Honey Cookies

When I was growing up, my mother made many desserts and pastries with anise. Today, I continue the tradition with these cookies, which are flavorful and great for decorating in a variety of ways.

—DARLENE BRENDEN SALEM, OR



PREP: 25 MIN. ✵ BAKE: 5 MIN./BATCH ✵ MAKES: 6 DOZEN


1 cup sugar

1 cup honey

3 large eggs

5 cups all-purpose flour

21/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground star anise

1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, beat sugar and honey until blended. Beat in eggs. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and star anise; gradually beat into sugar mixture.

2. Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 1 1/2-in. star-shaped cookie cutter. Place 1 in. apart on greased baking sheets.

3. Bake 4-6 minutes or until edges are light brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

NOTE To make 1 teaspoon ground star anise, grind 2-3 whole star anise (or 2 teaspoons broken star anise points) using a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle until fine.

“The Roll-Out is my favorite sugar/cutout cookie! Easy to make and fast. No chilling time. Winner!”

—SPICERJOAN FROM TASTEOFHOME.COM

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BIG BATCH

Roll-Out Cookies

I collect cookie cutters (I have more than 5,000!), so a good cutout recipe is a must. These cookies are crisp and buttery-tasting with just a hint of lemon. The dough handles nicely.

—BONNIE PRICE YELM, WA



PREP: 25 MIN. ✵ BAKE: 10 MIN./BATCH ✵ MAKES: ABOUT 6 DOZEN (2 1/4 INCH COOKIES)


1 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

GLAZE

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Food coloring, optional

1. In a bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add egg and extracts. Combine flour and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. (Dough will be very stiff. If necessary, stir in the last cup of flour mixture by hand. Do not chill.) On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut out cookies into desired shapes. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.

2. Bake at 400° for 6-7 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks; cool completely. For glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar, water and corn syrup until smooth. Tint with food coloring if desired. Using a small brush and stirring glaze often, brush on cookies as desired.

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