Nov 25, 2009

Cut-Out Cookies


(Decorated cookies and photo courtesy of my sister Emily)

I'm guessing that it's probably difficult to persuade people to try a new cut-out cookie recipe. Everyone has their own recipe or their own preferences about what makes a good cut-out cookie. And I think that these preferences run deep, even if people aren't fully conscious of them. But I'll throw caution to the wind and share my family's traditional cut-out cookie recipe. I LOVE these! They are thin and crisp and delicious!

I have a lot of wonderful emotional associations with these cookies. This is one of my mother's specialties. Mom makes these every Christmas and decorates them beautifully. Seeing them makes me think of Christmases past--family (immediate and extended) parties, neighborhood gatherings, caroling, sledding, tubing, and cozy winter evenings.

To be honest, I haven't made these cookies very often. The main reason is that I'm generally too lazy to bake and frost cut-out cookies of any kind. And I'm too daunted by the thought of having to live up to my mom's aesthetic standard when it comes to frosting them. But maybe I'll give this recipe a try again sometime.

1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2-3 tablespoons milk

Thoroughly cream shortening and sugar. Add egg and vanilla and beat well. Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with milk and mix thoroughly. Roll out dough 1/8" thick on lightly floured surface. Cut with floured cookie cutter. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes. Makes 1 1/2 dozen large cookies.