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Sugar Cookie Cutouts

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Use this recipe for sugar cookie cutouts, adapted from "Martha Stewart's Cookies," to make adorable Santa Cookies (pictured) or charming One-Piece Cookies, a perfect treat for baby showers.

  • Yield: Makes eighteen to twenty 4-inch cookies

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, Episode 4055

Ingredients

  • 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.

  2. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Divide dough in half; flatten each half into a disk. Wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.

  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees with racks in upper and lower thirds. Let one disk of dough stand at room temperature just until soft enough to roll, about 10 minutes. Roll out dough between two pieces of plastic wrap to 1/4 inch thick. Remove top layer of plastic wrap. Cut out cookies with a 4-inch one-piece-shaped cookie cutter. To make an ornament, cut out a hole from the center of the neck about 1/4-inch from the edge using a straw. Transfer cookie dough on plastic wrap to a baking sheet. Transfer baking sheet to freezer, freeze until very firm, about 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet from freezer and transfer shapes to baking sheets lined with nonstick baking mats. Roll out scraps, and repeat. Repeat with remaining disk of dough.

  4. Bake, switching positions of sheets and rotating halfway through, until edges turn golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

Reviews Add a comment

  • laura706870
    4 MAY, 2017
    This is my go to recipe for it's simplicity and has been for almost 10 years. However, I use 2 cups of butter, not one. If you look at a lot of other sugar cookie recipes the butter to sugar ratio is almost always 1:1. As soon as I changed that, this became my fail proof recipe. I use it for bake sales, the farmer's market, and church events and always get asked for my recipe.
    Reply
  • adcurtis2attn
    16 APR, 2017
    I figured out what the others may have done wrong. When a recipe asks for sifted flour, you sift the flour first and THEN measure it. If you measure the flour first, you will end up with way too much flour & crumbs for a dough. So SIFT FIRST, then Measure!
    Reply
  • adcurtis2attn
    16 APR, 2017
    I'm really picky about sugar cookies. This dough didn't taste as well as my usual one I make, but the cookies (once baked) were Perfect! I actually baked them at 340 degree s for 6 minutes, having not read the instructions first. They held their shape, but my mom had accidentally frozen the dough first.
    Reply
  • MS10240959
    18 SEP, 2016
    Just made 100 of these for a fund raiser. This is a really great recipe. Have no idea what threw previous reviewers off of it. The cookies hold their shape while baking even without freezing. Had my teenage daughter try one and got 2 big thumbs up and I would agree. Will file this away and pull out at Christmas time. Only suggestion is watch the baking times. I found 11 minutes worked well with my Wolfe oven. Now onto the Royal Frosting recipe!
    Reply
  • schatzie-mahot
    2 NOV, 2015
    This is by far the BEST sugar cookie recipe I've ever tried! This is now my go to recipe! Soft in the middle yet crispy around the edges and they keep their shape when baking so they are just lovely and perfect for cutouts! If you have tried this and it didn't come out the way it is supposed to, try spooning the flour into the measuring cup and leveling it off with a knife! Oh and for added flavor try adding a tsp of almond extract and use powdered sugar instead of flour to roll the dough! : )
    Reply
  • baerfuss
    10 MAY, 2015
    This is by far the worst recipe I've ever found on the internet, period. It produces a large amount of kinetic sand, and nothing that even remotely resembles cookie dough. Thanks for making me waste the time and the groceries to throw this entire thing away.
    Reply
  • susanh
    17 DEC, 2014
    This was one of the worst recipes that I've ever made. Not only is it too fiddly for me (all the freezing, chilling etc) but the cookies are completely unusable. I've been through the recipe a dozen times to see what I might have done wrong, but I think I did it to the letter. In my experience, there are many easier recipes to use to make shaped cookies, that don't rely on so much faffing about - and give you a nicely shaped cookie at the end. Sad face.
    Reply
    • Tweety
      19 DEC, 2014
      Complete and utter failure of a recipe. Needless to say, I threw it in the trash. The Martha Stewart "Basic Sugar Cookie" recipe seems to be a much better version. I for one used a completely different recipe and found much more success.
    • Tweety
      19 DEC, 2014
      Just finished making the dough for these cookies. Never has my dough been so crumbly! I couldn't even make a firm ball out of it because it was so crumbly. Did the best I could but my initial thoughts are at least a cup too much flour. It's chilling in the fridge now, will update when I attempt to roll it out.
  • Lynn Hope
    20 DEC, 2012
    I have made these several times ans they are always delicious. Every time I take them to work I get several compliments on them. I make them a little thicker so they are softer in the middle. They are very good; I, myself, am not a sweet eater but I can't ever resist these cookies!!!
    Reply
  • felixellie
    19 DEC, 2012
    You can absolutely freeze these. I also make them a week ahead of time and put in an airtight container.
    Reply
  • jnjntopeka
    8 DEC, 2012
    I have used this recipe for several years now for any holidaycutout cookies. Average taste but makes great cut outs. The dough is great to work with. Putting the cutouts in the freezer prevents the cookie from spreading and losing shape in the oven, so is a good step. Cookies taste better over time as they soften under the frosting. Hang great on the tree too.
    Reply