Cut-Out Cookies

Total Time:
1 hr 42 min
30 min
1 hr
12 min

25 to 30 cookies

  • Cookies:
  • 6 tablespoons soft unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Icing:
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons just-boiled water
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • Food coloring, preferably pastes
  • Special equipment: cookie cutters

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and moving towards moussiness, then beat in the egg and vanilla. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter and eggs, and mix gently but surely. If you think the finished mixture is too sticky to be rolled out, add more flour, but do so sparingly as too much will make the dough tough. Form into a fat disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Sprinkle a suitable surface with flour, place disk of dough on it, and sprinkle a little more flour on top of that. Then roll it out to a thickness of about 1/4-inch. Cut into shapes, dipping the cutter into flour as you go, and place the cookies a little apart on 2 parchment or silpat lined baking sheets.

Bake for 8 to 12 minutes; obviously it depends on the shape you're using and whether they are on the upper or lower shelf, though you can swap them around after about 5 minutes. When they're ready expect them to be tinged a pronounced gold around the edges; they'll be softish still in the middle, but set while they cool.

Remove the cookies with a flat, preferably flexible, spatula to a wire rack. When they are fully cooled, you can get on with the icing. Put a couple of tablespoons of not-quite-boiling water into a large bowl, add the sieved confectioners sugar and mix together, adding more water as you need to form a thick paste. Color,as desired. I think pastes are much better than liquid, not just because the range of colors is better but because they don't dilute the icing as they tint. Ice cooled cookies, as desired.

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    55 Reviews
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    Lots positive feedback!! Good but easy.
    I loved this recipe I am 12 and I could do it with no help, and they tasted great.
    Holds shape very well. Without the frosting this cookie was very bland and flavorless, however with the frosting it made a good combination and the kids enjoyed them. Didnt take very long for the frosting to set which made the cookie pretty easy
    easy to make, not too sweet... added extra vanilla and butter for a little richer flavor. Will definitely make again
    I've looked for a sugar cookie recipe that would allow me to use cookie cutters, and hold their shape. This recipe fits the bill. I was leery of some of the negative comments about the cookies tasting like cardboard. 
    If you follow this recipe, you will end up with a really delicious cookie. They are sweet and when you use cookie cutters, they bake perfect without loosing their shape. I'd give this cookie an A+.
    These cookies keep their shape and taste lovely. 
    A little on the can't-eat-without-some-sort-of-liquid side but overall a great recipe! :
    This is the first cut-out cookie recipe I have ever used that turned out perfectly. Easy. Not too sweet. Perfect.
    My best cookie ever and it is so simple to make! It's not too sweet. Goes great with tea! For my oven, i find 8 minutes is the best timing and a simple way to dress these cookies up is to make your own coloured sugar and sprinkle them on top of the cookie before baking. Yum! Making another batch right now!
    Excellent and EASY! Love this recipe, they don't even last a day at my house!! I frost only half of the batch because for me, they are wonderful just as is but my husband and daughter disagree, they love the extra sugar and sprinkles.
    these are great
    Burn easily so only put in for maybe 10 min. Frosting needs to be made right when putting on and I made the frosting red with the liquid dye and it was diluted slightly but hardened when dried. Cute and easy, love Nigella!
    Taste was nice to over powering sweet and easy to make.
    These cookies are sooooooo good! I am baking another batch right now! They also taste good if you frost them and put sprinkles on!
    I made these in miniature fashion to put in small party bags as favors at my son and daughter's birthday party. I love how they retained their shape while baking, and they have just the right amount of sugar so I don't feel like I'm over-indulging the kids. The flavor is great and I added color to some and made my own topping for others to add a little variety to the mix. Great recipe.
    This recipe needs no tweaking as far as I'm concerned. I follow it exactly every time and the cookies always come out great! They never last long because everyone loves them! It's so easy to make too!
    I am so glad I tried this recipe. It was perfect! So easy to make, the dough rolls out so easily and doesn't stick to the rolling pin or surface. The cookie is so tasting....crunchy on the outside and so soft in the middle. I did a buttercream icing with it as I found the glaze not to be the consistnecy I wanted. But this will definitley be my new tried and true cut-out cookie recipe!
    I've tried many, many cut out cookie recipes for the perfect cookie recipe. This is by far the best one I've tried. The cookie is not overly sweet; but that makes it a perfect complement to the sweet icing recipe. The dough makes it easy to cut out cookies and they keep their shape when baking. I make a double batch each holiday. My two daughters, ages 13 and 2, love this cookie! Wonderful!
    I have about 3 of her books. Really, where was the editor? They are either too vague or way over the top. Mostly I use the books for ideas and then tweek the recipes so that they will be suitable for my use. This cookie recipe is one of the worst I've stumbled upon yet.
    I love baking, and have never had cookies turn out completely tasteless... Until I tried this recipe. The cookies looked amazing and were really fun to decorate, but when I tried one, it was like cardboard! No one who tried them liked them, and I ended up throwing away over 3/4 of the cookies I made. :-( Perhaps adding more vanilla and sugar (and maybe even extra butter) might make them taste better, but I don't want to waste my time tweaking the recipe. As it stands, the recipe is horrible!
    Seriously, "until pale and moving towards moussiness"? "mix gently but surely"?
    "tinged a pronounced gold around the edges"? Talk about trying TOO hard. It's just a cookie recipe, and a poor one at that. Spend more time tasting what you recommend and less time with your thesaurus 'Nigella'....(and I am sure your real name was like "Mary").
    These cookies are so easy to prepare. They stand up well under the artistry of the kids frosting and sprinkles. Yummy too.
    The cookie was awful, it had no taste, I read the reviews prior to baking, I even added an additonal quarter cup sugar, used salted butter AND added an additonal 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, it still didn't have much flavor, the only thing that saved the cookie was the frosting, we used the Betty Crocker in a can, it was easy for the kids. The batter however, did not change shape, it was right on, that was perfect. Next time, I will definately add more flavor to the dough.
    I think these cookies were fun and easy to make. Perhaps you can add a bit more flavor to the dough and icing by using a small amount of extract. Make the recipe work for you, is what I say. To each his own. Great cookie cutter shapes and bold colors for the royal icing make these cookies. Kids and adults gave my cookies great review. Way to go Nigella!!
    These cookies tasted likie cardboard!! chocolate chips barely saved these cookies! the ingredients and prep. were easy and the dough was good but the cookies just tasted bad! and i love cookies and was hoping these would be good but....they weren't. :(
    Just made these cookies. They are excellent for cookie cutters because they don't spread or loose their shape at all. Didn't take a lot to make them only thing is I had to keep putting them back in the freezer to chill because they get soft super quick. After everything was said and baked, they tasted good and overall fun.
    These are the easiest cookies to make. Made them the first time for both my kids halloween parties at school. None came back. My kids and their friends have come to expect them for all of the class parties since.
    so easy
    whipped these up in no time
    I'm a huge Christmas cookie maker, and unfortuately I wasn't too impressed with these. If you want a lot of cookies, you need to double the recipe. I would advise using a different recipe for the frosting because it dries up really quickly, so if you want to put sprinkles on, you have to do it in a hurry! After taste testing them, I found them very sweet. Have a glass of milk close by!
    I just made these tonight, and I thought they might of been more suger than I thought, at least my hubby and son liked them, didn't make a whole lot though, maybe about 20 or less, I put chocolate chips in them and so I guess I will be searching for more...
    I just don't know what was missing.
    I am a horrible baker, everything I bake I ruin! This receipe was easy and I didn't ruin it!! WOOHOO! My family loved the cookies, in fact half of them I didn't get to ice! I did change the iceing to a lemon iceing. I just put lemon zest and a little bit of the juice and they were super yummmmmmmmy!
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