I didn’t get my holidays mixed up. Fuzz needed something edible and red for a school project and the first thing that came to mind was a batch of heart shaped cut-out cookies. In hindsight, I could have made red circles and called them “Rudolph Noses”, but that might have led to a conversation about whether Santa is real and that’s not a conversation I want to get into with a bunch of ten year olds. Of course Santa is real! Stop asking!
So It’s probably good I did hearts, but you can use this new cut-out sugar cookie dough for any shape you want.
This cut-out sugar cookie recipe was sent to me by my friend Linda who has used it for years. It’s from an old publication called “Everyone Likes Cookies” put out by the Rochester (New York) Gas and Electric, Home Service Department in (we suspect) the early ’60s. The cookies are not too sweet, very light, very brown, and the perfect vehicle for holding lots of frosting.
Update: I still really like this recipe. The cookies don’t have a buttery flavor, but the shortening (I use the non-hydrogenated type these days) gives them a crisp, snappy texture. Since the shortening doesn’t have much flavor, I often add a little more vanilla than the recipe calls for along with a dash of almond extract.
- 1 cup shortening
- 4 cups (18 oz) all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup whole milk or reduced fat milk with a teaspoon of cream mixed in
- 1 teaspoon vanilla plus a little almond extract if desired
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Have ready two baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, cut the shortening into the flour. I did this by hand, but you could probably use a food processor. Add the salt and stir well.
- Combine the eggs and sugar in a second bowl and beat well – I did this with a hand-held mixer.
- Combine the milk, vanilla and baking soda in a small cup.
- Add the egg mixture and the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until it’s all blended and you have a dough. At this point I chilled mine for about half an hour, but the recipe doesn’t say you have to.
- On a floured surface, roll a half or a quarter (I never roll it all at once) into a ¼ inch thick slab and cut out shapes. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until your cookies are golden brown (these get quite brown) and appear set. Remove from baking sheet and let cool completely.
- Ice with royal frosting or butter cream.
Linda has made this recipe with various ratios of shortening to butter and believes that the all-shortening version gives the best texture. If you like the flavor of Butter Flavored Crisco, you could try using that, but I thought the vanilla and almond were flavorful enough and didn't miss the butter flavor. Besides, you could put a lot of butter in the frosting. These cookies really do need a frosting of some sort.