I thought I was done with my Christmas baking until my friend, Kathleen from Cuisine Kathleen mentioned she had found these great cookie cutters at Williams Sonoma Outlet and asked if I would like a set. Since I'm a new Nana and had a very special name I wanted to use, I responded with a very loud, YES! You can read more about these cookie cutters and see Kathleen's cookies here.
This past weekend, I received them and quickly put them to use. They are very large cookie cutters with type-set-like letters that you slide into place and imprint in the dough with a plunger attached to the cutter. So cool! I did try frosting one of the cookies but the frosting made the words harder to see. Next time, I will try adding some piped frosting decorations around the borders.
I used a new sugar cookie recipe for these cut-outs that I really, really like. The cookies stayed neat and the imprints were very easy to read. If that's not enough good news, they taste fantastic! I will be using this recipe for my sugar cookie cut outs from now on.
Yesterday, we had our whole family for dinner and I passed the platter of cookies to Mack's mother (our daughter) first. When she saw the cookie with her son's name on it she got a little misty-eyed. Today we babysat for our grandson all day for the very first time while his parents were at work. He is just a joy and so sweet-natured.
Celebration Sugar Cookies
Adapated from Big Fat Cookies by Elinor Klivans
~from Savoring Time in the Kitchen
2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) vegetable shortening (I used Crisco)
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, in a large bowl beat the butter, vegetable shortening and sugar until smooth and somewhat lighter in color, about 1 minute, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. Add the egg, vanilla and almond extract and mix until just blended. On low speed, add the flour mixture until just incorporated. The dough should be soft and smooth.
Divide the dough in half and shape it into 2 disks about 6 inches in diameter. Wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to roll without sticking, approximately 1 hour.
With the oven rack positioned in the center, preheat the oven to 350° F . Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
Unwrap one piece of dough and place on lightly floured rolling surface. With a floured rolling pin. roll the dough out to about 12-inches wide and 3/16 inch thick and cut out cookies. Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets using a thin spatula, placing them 1 inch apart. Unwrap the second piece of dough and repeat the rolling and cutting process. Dough scraps can be gathered, re-rolled and cut.
Bake one sheet of cookies at a time for approximately 14 minutes or until golden at the edges. Cool cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack or sheet of parchment or waxed paper to cool.
The cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 week or frozen for one month.
Frost and decorate as desired.