12 Cookies of Christmas: Sugar Cookie Cutouts

Photo Dec 20, 9 44 03 PM



  • 1/3 cup salted butter at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup crisco
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tblsp milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Dash salt
  • Powder Sugar icing


  1. Beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until light, fluffy, and pale yellow. This takes 1 – 3 minutes. Make sure to scrape sides and bottom of bowl at least once during this time.
  2. Add in about half  of the flour, then the egg, sugar, milk, baking powder, vanilla, and salt.
  3. Beat until thoroughly combined.
  4. Beat in remaining flour.
  5. Divide dough in half. Wrap in plastic wrap and
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  7. On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough at a time to 1/4 inch thick (1/8 inch if you like crispier sugar cookies).
  8. Cut into desired shapes with a 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter. I think the smaller 1 1/2 inch ones are cuter because they make a 2-bite cookie. Which means you can eat more.
  9. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. The lighter colored the cookie sheet, the less browned and softer the cookies will be, should you be like me and prefer a chewier sugar cookie.
  10. Bake cookies for 7 – 8 minutes or until barely golden around edges on bottom. Let them get slightly more lightly-browned if you like that crispier cookie.
  11. Cool cookies on rack.
  12. Frost with icing then decorate like crazy with holiday sprinkles!

Photo Dec 20, 9 57 28 PM


The icing that the BH&G cookbook recommends is as follows. This is fine if you are going to whip up a batch on a weekend without decorating for a holiday. The orange icing is especially nice for a change of pace. But, this frosting is almost more of a glaze than an icing, so it doesn’t work for creating a decorated style. It will, however, hold sprinkles just fine.


  • 1 cup sifted powdered (confectioners) sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon milk or orange juice or lemon juice or liquor of your choice
  • Orange or lemon zest if using orange or lemon juice
  1. Mix together powdered sugar and vanilla.
  2. Add  the milk (OR orange juice or lemon juice or liquor) 1 teaspoon at a time until spreading consistency. It might take less than the full tablespoon; it might take more. But to avoid the ongoing battle of more sugar, more liquid, go slowly first.

Decorating icing

This icing is a hybrid of the Powedered Sugar icing and traditional Buttercream icing. It requires a lot of “feel” as to when it has reached the right consistency


  • 2 cups sifted powdered (confectioners) sugar + extra
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tablespoons very soft salted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons milk


  1. Whip the powdered sugar and butter in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment.
  2. Add vanilla.
  3. Add one Tablespoon of milk.
  4. Beat the frosting at medium speed .  The consistency should be stiff enough to pipe through a cake decorating tip, but not as stiff as you would want it for decorating a cake where you want elements to be able to stand securely on their own. It should be a bit looser than that.
  5. Add the second Tablespoon of milk if needed, and after that, add water.
  6. Divide frosting and color each part as desired. I prefer to use the cornstarch-based cake decorating colors rather than traditional food coloring because the food coloring substantially changes the taste and consistency of the icing (not in a good way).  Pipe onto cookies. I use an s-shape to easily fill in the small parts of the cookies. Top with holiday sprinkles. Let dry an hour at least before storing.
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