Grandma’s Vanilla Cookies–Cut-Out Christmas Cookies

Years ago, my son coined the name Cut-Out Cookies for sugar cookies.  Cutting out various shapes from the rolled dough was great family fun.  For years as I made Christmas cut-out cookies with my kids, I tried different recipes for rolled cookies.  Most were good, but no rolled cookie recipe I tried had quite the flavor I was looking for, so each year, we’d try a couple of new cut-out cookie recipes.  Finally, I was able to get a copy of my  Mom’s rolled cookie recipe. Yes! That was the elusive taste I had been searching for.

I made these rolled cookies as a kid at home when I was the chief cookie maker.  My mother always liked them rolled thick, so they would be soft.  They may also be rolled thin, so they will be crispy.  Either way, they will be excellent.  Just try to keep all the cookies on one sheet basically the same thickness, so they will cook evenly.  (I never seem to manage this!)  This recipe is at least 60 years old, perhaps older.

Grandma’s Vanilla Rolled Cookies

Yummy cut-out cookies ready to eat or decorate.

Yummy cut-out cookies ready to eat or decorate.

To make your own Cut-Out cookies:

Sift together 3 & 1/2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Set this aside.

Measure 1 & 1/2 cups of white sugar into a large mixing bowl.  Add 1 cup (two sticks) of softened butter.   Cut the sticks of butter into small chunks and dump it in with the sugar.  Beat until smooth and creamy.

I didn't soften my butter much, so I had to beat it longer than I would have.

I didn’t soften my butter much, so I had to beat it longer than I would have.

Now add two eggs and 1 & 1/2 teaspoons of real vanilla.

Beat again until smooth.

Beat again until smooth.

Add the flour, one third at a time and beat after each addition.

Start your mixer slowly, so you don't shower yourself with flour.

Start your mixer slowly, so you don’t shower yourself with flour.

Dough will be stiff and sticky.

When you have beaten in all the flour, the dough will be stiff and sticky.

Scrape the dough from the beaters and divide it into two parts.  Place the dough on two big pieces of plastic wrap.

Flatten out the dough.

Flatten out the dough.

Wrap each flattened piece of dough and place into the refrigerator.

Wrap each flattened piece of dough and place into the refrigerator.

Refrigerate the wrapped dough for at least 1/2 an hour, until the dough is chilled.  You don’t want it too chilled, though, or it won’t roll out easily.  If you have a warm kitchen, remove only one disc of dough at a time from the refrigerator.  Preheat the oven to 400F.  Sprinkle a counter lightly with flour.

Before you start rolling the dough, take your hands and rub flour

Place one disc of dough on the floured counter.

Rub flour lightly all around the rolling pin.

Rub flour lightly all around the rolling pin.

Gently roll out the cookie dough.  Start from the center and roll outward.  Roll in all directions.  Keep rubbing small amounts of flour on the rolling pin so the dough doesn’t stick to it.

When you have the dough rolled thinly, get out your cookies cutter.

When you have the dough rolled thinly, get out your cookies cutters.

If you have lots of cookie cutters, you can lay them out on the dough close together.  If you have detailed cutters, dipping them in flour before placing them on the dough will help keep them from sticking to the dough.

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Press down firmly on each cutter, all the way around it.

Lift each cookie cutter from the dough.

Lift each cookie cutter from the dough.

Use a spatula to lift each cookie from the counter to the cookie sheet.

Use a spatula to lift each cookie from the counter to the cookie sheet.

Place the cookies far enough apart for them to have room to spread a little.

Place the cookies far enough apart for them to have room to spread a little.

You will have a lot of scraps left.

Gather up all the scraps and gently press them together into a ball.

Gather up all the scraps, shake off any loose flour,  and gently press them together into a ball.

Re-roll and cut more cookies.  Repeat until you have used all the dough.

Handle the dough gently.  The more you roll and flour it, the less tender the cookie.

Handle the dough gently. The more you roll and flour it, the less tender the cookie.

When your cookie sheet is full, place it in the oven for 6-10 minutes, until lightly browned.

These are almost too browned.

These are almost too browned.

Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet.  When they are firm, remove with a spatula to a cooling rack.  Yum!  If you feel like it, you can decorate them.  We just ate them!

After they have completely cooled, store them in tins or a cookie jar.

After they have completely cooled, store them in tins or a cookie jar.

Be sure you eat a sample!

VANILLA ROLLED COOKIES

3 & 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1 & 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.  Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well. Add the vanilla and mix in well.
Stir the dry mixture into the creamed mixture. Chill.  Roll out on a lightly floured counter or board and cut with cookie cutters.
(If you are in a hurry for cookies, form small balls.  Flatten on a greased baking sheet with the bottom of a glass or the tines of a fork.)
Bake at 400F for 6 to 10 minutes.  Remove from the cookie sheet while still warm and cool on a rack.

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2 Comments

Filed under Baking, Christmas, Christmas Traditions, Family, The Art of Living

2 responses to “Grandma’s Vanilla Cookies–Cut-Out Christmas Cookies

  1. I thought the official name really was Cut Out Cookies! I’ll have to try this recipe with Bruno next year.

  2. Sue

    The official name is actually sugar cookies, but we never sprinkled sugar on top. Bruno will enjoy that next year, I’m sure. But he will want to eat the dough!

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