The Country Cook: Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

I have been so blessed to be a Momma. I thank God every day for the blessings of healthy and happy children. Parenting is challenging at times but the world and life is so much better because they are in it.  Every parent feels this very same way about their child. We will cross over mountains and high water to take care of them and get them what they need.
So imagine you are a parent to a child who has cancer. What would you do to make sure they got the best care and had the best researchers in the world working on their disease? What would you do to try and help make them healthy again? You would do everything, am I right? Well, there were some parents who decided they were going to make the best out of their son's diagnosis and do more.  They learned that 25% of kids do not survive cancer because of lack of effective therapies. And the reason for the lack of therapies was because of lack in funding. So they set out to help change that with Cookies for Kids' Cancer. Cookies for Kids Cancer is a non-profit organization set up to help raise money for kid's cancer research.
When given the opportunity, I jumped at the chance to get involved with this organization.  I have been given so much, the least I could do is give something to others.  To pay it forward. To give a family hope. We all can do a little that will mean a lot to someone else. The reason I am sharing all this is to let you know that you can help too!  You can host a Cookie Exchange (like I did) or organize a Bake Sale to help raise money.  Cookies for Kids' Cancer will help you along the way to have a successful cookie exchange or bake sale.
I decided to host a Cookie Exchange. It's a fun way to get your friends involved, to exchange yummy cookies and recipes, but to  also raise awareness, collect donations and to get them excited about helping this great cause. Here is the lovely group of ladies I invited.
So many delicious cookies were shared. Love these gals! They were so eager to participate. We played some fun games and I even had some fun little prizes for them too.  When you host a Cookie Exchange, you can set out a little jar for your guests to donate if they like.
What I decided to do was to take my share of the cookies from the Cookie Exchange and send them into work with my hubby.
He set out the container of cookies along with a donation jar in the break room.  And let me tell ya, those folks were very generous! The money collected is on it's way to Cookies for Cancer as I type this. And as for the cookies I shared, I had to make my all-time favorite: Cut-out sugar cookies with frosting (and sprinkles!)
1 1/3 cups butter shortening (or regular butter)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
4 tbsp. milk (2 % or higher)
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

For the icing: 

(I usually make 4 batches of this recipe)
1 tbsp. softened butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. clear vanilla

Side note: I like to use these sticks of shortening for baking. They make it so much easier to measure and a lot less mess.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the shortening, sugar, milk and vanilla.
I have a stand mixer, but if you don't have one, you'll want to at least use a handheld electric mixer to mix this. Mix until smooth. Then mix in eggs. Combine well. 
Note: If you have a stand mixer, you need to remember to occasionally scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything gets incorporated.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.
Now, bakers say you should sift the flour and baking powder together. I don't have a large sifter to do that so what I do is stir it all with a large fork. This will help break up any lumps and also get air into the mixture.
Gently add in flour to your shortening mixture. Adding a little flour at a time. If you dump it all in at once, flour will fly everywhere so small batches at a time until it is all combined.
 Scrape down the sides of your bowl.
 Then divide dough in half. 
Wrap each dough ball in plastic wrap. 
Then pop the dough balls into your fridge and chill for at least an hour. 
When dough is ready, preheat your oven to 375F degrees. Spray a couple baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Then, spread some flour all over your counter.
Working with one dough ball at a time (keep the other one in the fridge), put a little flour on the dough itself. And make sure to rub some flour on your rolling pin too. 
Then grab a super cute helper to help you roll out the dough. Alex actually did a really great job rolling out the dough all by himself. You want the dough to be about 1/4-inch thick. If it's too thin then you won't be able to scoop the cookies up without them breaking. Using your favorite cookie cutters, start cutting out shapes. Try to get your cookie shapes as close together as possible to make the most use of your dough.
You can take the leftover dough and roll it out again for a second cutting.  Generally, after the second cutting, the dough is not really useable for a third cutting. Because by that point, the dough is full of extra flour and it will crumble too easily.

Lay out your cookies on your cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Be careful scooping the cookies off your counter. It helps if you have a flat spatula to help you lift them up.  Spread them out about an inch or two apart on the cookie sheet. These cookies don't spread much at all while baking. Bake for about 6-8 minutes at 375F degrees.
Note: Bake only one cookie sheet at a time. I know this part seems tedious but if you try to cook more than one cookie sheet at a time in a conventional oven, one sheet won't bake as evenly as the other. So put your rack in the middle of the oven.

Oven times vary but you don't want the edges too brown. Cookies should be a very light golden tan color. Bake up all your cookies and allow them to cool completely.

Then start making the icing. Combine softened butter, powdered sugar, milk and clear vanilla extract.  I like the clear vanilla extract because it allows you to get a true white color for your frosting (if you are using white).
Whisk until smooth. If mixture is too thin, just add in a bit more powdered sugar until you get it to the consistency you like. Then add in any food colors you are using. I quadruple this recipe. I like to have four bowls for four different colors. Now you are ready to decorate.
Gather all your icing, and sprinkles, etc. and have fun. I like to spread wax paper all over my table and spread everything out. It makes clean up a lot easier afterwards. Allow the icing to setup for a couple of hours.
Then you should be able to stack them and store in an airtight container. These cookies freeze really well. We always set aside a few for Santa.

Printable Recipe Here

This is a sponsored post for GLAD. As always, all opinions are my own!


  1. You rock, Brandie! Not only do you write from the heart, but you cook with love and always give back. And what a handsome sous chef you have too, helping out on those delectable looking cookies. Blessings and good tidings to you & yours my friend.

  2. Brooks - thank you so very much! What a wonderfully sweet comment that makes my heart sing!

  3. You forgot to add the eggs!

  4. What a great post and a great cause. Amanda

  5. Grammy - thank you for catching that. I had it in the ingredient list but didn't mention it in the directions. Sorry for any confusion!

  6. How fetive, colorful and cute!

  7. What a sweet post! Love this great seeing all those smiling faces in your cookie exchange, and your little man's as he helped you create some gorgeous cookies. Way to go Brandie!

  8. Love You Brandie! Thanks for inviting me to be a part of this for such a great cause :)
    And everyone in my household loved your sugar cookies..they didn't even make it to the next day lol.

  9. Hello, and thanks for this GREAT recipe! Just long can the dough be refridgerated, and can it be frozen?

  10. I am 42 years old and grew up with a similar cookie cut-out recipe, and the icing recipe. I have carried on the tradition of making these cookies with my own children and now grand babies. The only big difference is for the cookies instead of using vanilla I use lemon extract. They are always a hit and a fun family traditional recipe.

  11. Do you freeze with or without frosting?


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