Perfect Vanilla Cutout Cookies

by Charity
3 dozen
16 min

These cookies scream Christmas to me because they are just like sugar cookies, but even better! They have a tender, buttery texture and have a splash of almond flavoring, which I love. They are delicious plain, but I also love to decorate them as well. I usually just use icing, but you could also use sprinkles instead. The possibilities are endless for these cookies!

I also use this recipe year round. I love to do hearts for Valentine's Day and bunnies/carrots for Easter. It's a good basic recipe and you can incorporate it however you want to for each season! I also think the 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract is what gives these cookies the perfect flavor. I love them and cannot stop eating them once I start!

The most important step in this recipe is to not forget to freeze the dough before baking it. That's how they maintain their shape. I used to never be able to bake a perfect cutout cookie, but after learning to freeze them first, it has worked every time since then! They no longer spread and loose their shape if you freeze them first.

I love to ice both kinds of cutout cookies!

I decorate both the Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies and the Perfect Vanilla Almond Cookies using the same icing recipe.  Click here to view it. I find that using the little bottles to decorate with make applying the icing much easier! And it’s not as messy either which is a huge plus! I just lay parchment paper out all over my counter and then go to town. It's also best if you make a thicker, border icing first (which is what I did in the white pictured above) and then go back with a thinner "flood icing" (which is all the colored icing above). It flows easier onto the cookie but doesn't overflow since you have the border icing to secure it into place!

Perfect Vanilla Cutout Cookies
Recipe details
  • 3  dozen
  • Prep time: 5 Minutes Cook time: 11 Minutes Total time: 16 min
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  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter; cold and cut into chunks
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and position rack in the middle of your oven.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and extracts and mix until fully incorporated.
Switch to low speed and gradually add flour and baking powder mixture. Add in 2 batches, beating until just combined.
Work dough into a ball for rolling.
Place on floured surface and roll into 1/4 inch thickness and then cut into shapes.
Place cookies on cookie sheet and freeze for 10 minutes.
Transfer the almost frozen cookies into the preheated oven and bake for 9-11 minutes. Timing will vary based on the size of your cookie shapes.
Let cool and decorate however you want!
  • The amount yielding will vary depending on how big your cookie shapes are. But I usually have plenty and always take them to Christmas parties and have a ton left over too!
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