Let me start by explaining my love for cut-out cookies. For a while there I tried to start a collection of cookie cutters, and in my own defense, I do have some pretty cool ones. However, like most hobbies I try to maintain, this collection has not grown in a long time. I think what I love so much about cut-outs is their perfection, the clean lines...you see, I'm quite the perfectionist. I have also spent the past year or so in a quest for the best sugar cookie recipe, and while I may not have found the absolute best of the best, this one is pretty darn close. This dough is one of the easiest to work with that I have ever found, it may be my new favorite. I did find that the recipe could have called for a dash of salt, the cookies were a little too mild for my taste. The icing I used is also a new one, and I must say, I liked it very very much.
Patriotic Star Cookies
courtesy of The Cookie Bible
1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
Cream the butter, sugar and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well.
Gradually add the flour until fully incorporated.
Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and chill until firm, around 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut into desired shapes and bake for 8-9 minutes. Cool completely before icing.
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (I'd recommend using more like 1/4 of a tsp. The flavor was quite strong)
1/4 cup milk
Combine all the ingredients together. The consistency should be thin, like glue.
Pour the icing into a bowl that is wide enough to allow you to dip the cookies in.
Dip the top of the cookies down into the icing and allow excess icing to drip off.
Once the icing is set, it will be safe to package to cookies without the fear of your icing being messed up.
I really liked this technique of icing the cookies, it was fast and very nice and even. Since I didn't have any red food coloring, I used red decorating sugar and it turned out very well. I almost wish I had had colored sugar for all of the decorating, I liked the added texture. I will definitely be making these again.