The holidays are coming fast! And like many of you out there, I’m not nearly prepared. This month, I’m taking a page from Grandma’s book, and trying to bake a batch of holiday goodies each week between now and Christmas. This week, it’s cutout cookies. I’ve asked my Lehman’s co-workers to contribute their favorite holiday cookie recipes too. Look for those in the days to come–right up to Christmas Eve!
Christmas Cut Out Cookies
Some families call these sugar cookies, but we used a different recipe for those. This one was strictly for the stars, snowmen, trees and turkeys–yes, turkeys, as part of the Thanksgiving dessert buffet. Note the quantities of ingredients–depending on the size cookies cut out, you’re looking at 12 to 18 dozen cookies.
Cream together in a large mixing bowl:
2 cups brown sugar
4 cups white sugar
1 cup butter (or margarine)
1 cup vegetable shortening
6 teaspoons vanilla
In a second, very large mixing bowl, you’ll combine the following ingredients:
2 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons baking soda (dissolve in buttermilk)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
14 cups flour
Stir the baking powder and salt together, and add to flour. Sift to remove any lumps. Add the buttermilk-baking soda solution to the flour, and mix well. Add flour mixture to shortening-egg mixture in thirds. There will come a point when you have to do it by hand, if you’re using a mixer, so don’t be surprised.
Once everything is mixed, meaning no streaks of flour or egg mixture, and the dough is an overall creamy color, cover it with a barely damp dishtowel or plastic wrap, and place it in the refrigerator at least two hours to chill and firm. Chill overnight if possible. (If it were 40Â° or colder outside, Granny would put the giant bowl of cookie dough in an old metal cooler, close the lid, and put it out on the porch to chill.)
Roll dough out to 1/4″ thickness for crisp cookies, a little thicker for chewy ones. Dust the rolling pin, work area and cutters well with flour. If needed, dust dough as you work with it to avoid sticking. If using non-stick cookie sheets, do not grease cookie sheets. If using stainless steel or standard cookie sheets, line with unbleached parchment paper to prevent cookies from sticking.
Cool completely on cooling racks before decorating or frosting. We always baked and stored our cookies plain, pulling them out to decorate as needed. These will freeze well–layer with unbleached waxed paper and store in an airtight container.
Note: If you like the colored sugars ‘baked into’ your cutouts, sprinkle the sugars on in the last five minutes of baking. If you bake the sugars too long, they will melt, can burn, and may catch fire. Be very careful when using decorating sugars in your oven. Cutouts wth baked on sugar will not freeze well–they’ll get damp and sticky.