When I was in high school I decided to have a Christmas party with all of my girlfriends. I had visions of Harry Connick Jr. tunes, apple cider, and cookie decorating. I told my mom that everyone was SUPER excited to decorate cookies so she should double whatever recipe we use. Mom did not have a favorite cut-out cookie recipe so she called her good friend, Jan Sanger. Jan is one of the most amazing cooks we know, so we knew she would have a great recipe, and she did. She gave my mom this German Sugar Cut-Out Cookie recipe and we have used it every year since then. The cookies are thin and slightly crisp, but still chewy, and have just the right amount of sweetness. They are also really easy to roll out and the finished product keeps beautifully in the freezer.
The original recipe makes A LOT of cookies. In fact, the recipe below is actually cut in half and it still makes a lot. Since my high school Christmas party was the first time using the recipe, and I insisted on doubling, mom doubled it. Oh. My. Cookies. Predictably, my squirrely girlfriends and I lost interest after frosting a few each and moved on to giggling in the basement. My poor mom and dad were left with the never-ending cookie production line. I laugh every time I think of my poor dad being forced to frost a million cookies. He really lost his Christmas spirit that night! Towards the end he was just dunking them in the bowl of frosting.
We have used a few different frosting recipes, and really you can use your favorite, but this year we used this recipe for meringue powder buttercream. It worked beautifully. We used the same frosting to frost the base of the cookie and for the colored decorations.
I am sure most people would agree that one of the most frustrating parts of frosting cookies is cleaning out the decorator bags. It is so obnoxious. While searching for the frosting recipe I came across this video clip on Karen’s Cookies on how to use a decorator bag without getting it dirty, AT ALL. Too good to be true?? No! It works! It blew my mind. It is so simple! How had I never heard about this? Life changing.
German Sugar Cut-Out Cookies
Adapted by Lindsay at Perfecting the Pairing from Jan Sanger
· 2 sticks unsalted butter
· 1 lb powdered sugar
· 3 cups flour
· 1 ½ tsp baking powder
· 1 ½ tsp salt
· 3 small eggs or 2 extra large eggs
· 1 ½ tsp vanilla
Cream the butter and powdered sugar using an electric mixture. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Alternate adding the flour mixture and eggs to the butter mixture until fully combined and mixed. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated.
Refrigerate the dough overnight. Portion out about one quarter of the dough and return the remaining dough to the refrigerator. Roll out the dough very thin, about ¼ inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes and place on a greased cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes until just set. The edges should not brown. Cool on wire racks. Frost once cooled.