A friend of mine asked me to make decorated cookies for her daughter's birthday and I thought I would document the process.
The recipe is really basic:
2 sticks butter - softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
1. Put the butter in the mixer and beat for 2 minutes on medium until the butter is creamy and fluffy.
2. Add the sugar and mix to combine well.
3. Add the egg, vanilla and salt - mix to combine.
4. Add the flour 1 cup at a time and mix until the dough comes together and is no longer in small pieces.
5. Split the dough in half and flatten each half into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
6. Take the dough out and let it sit on the counter for 15-20 minutes so it is still cool to the touch but soft enough that you can roll it out with a rolling pin. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
7. Dust the counter with flour:
8. Roll the dough out until it is 1/4 inch thick all the way around.
9. Begin to cut out your shapes trying to keep as little space between them as possible - the fewer times you have to reroll the dough the better. This is easier with small cutters!!
10. Place cookies on parchment lined baking sheet. Reroll your dough scraps and continue to cut out cookies until the dough won't hold together anymore.
11. Bake the cookies at 350 degrees on the middle rack of the oven for 8-12 minutes depending on your oven - mine took 11 minutes. The cookies should be just barely golden on the edges.
After I finish baking them off tonight I will start decorating - I'll keep you posted!