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Thick Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

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Thick Cut Out Sugar Cookies
Colorfully decorated, thickly-cut sugar cookies are some of the most eye catching cookies in any bakery case. They’re the most popular with kids, but I sometimes find myself caving in and getting one just because they look so appealing. This type of cookie tends to be more about the frosting than the cookie, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have one that actually tastes as good as it looks – and this recipe for Thick Cut-Out Sugar Cookies is a great one to have handy when you feel like baking up a batch of your own.

This dough does not need to be chilled before you work with it, unless it is very hot where you are working (in which case I recommend turning on the air conditioning before you start) and it is very easy to handle. The soft and buttery dough can actually handle quite a bit of extra flour, which means that you can generously flour your work space to keep the dough from sticking to anything and you can still gather up the scraps and reroll them to get another batch of cookies. The dough won’t get tough even if you roll it out a few times unless you really go crazy with flouring your work surface.

Rolling out sugar cookie dough

Since I wanted to mimic those thick, bakery-style cookies, I chose to use fairly large cookie cutters for these cookies and opted for 2 1/2 to 3-inch flour cookie cutters from the Wilton Garden Cookie Cutter Set. Even with large cutters, you’ll still be able to make quite a few cookies, since you won’t have any wasted dough, but with smaller cutters you can get a few more dozen from this recipe. I flavored my cookie dough, which is an adaptation of the roll-out cookie recipe that came with the cutters, with vanilla extract and Amaretto. The Amaretto has a more subtle almond flavor than almond extract, though you can substitute almond extract or lemon extract in place of the Amaretto if that is what you already have on hand.

Thick Cut Out Sugar Cookies

The cookies are slightly crisp around the edges and chewy in the center. They’re tender and have a nice blend of butter and vanilla flavor to them, but they’re not too sweet. The dough will not spread too much in the oven, so it is a great match for some of your more elaborate cookie cutters. Since they’re not too sweet, they’re perfect for frosting and you can do a lot of decorating with these cookies.  A simple confectioners’ sugar glaze will sweeten them up nicely, and you can make a batch of royal icing for making fancier decorations. You can even top them off with a generous sprinkle of coarse sugar for a sweet, crunchy finish if you don’t want to get to deep into decorating. Any way you serve them, they’re a classic that both kids and adults will enjoy eating – and you’ll definitely have fun making them.

Thick Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp Amaretto or 1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp salt
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, vanilla extract and Amaretto (or almond extract).
With the mixer on low speed, mix in the salt and gradually blend in the flour until it is completely incorporated and the dough comes together into a smooth ball.
Divide dough in half and gently knead if dough is not completely smooth.
Place half of the dough on a well-floured work surface and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out desired shapes with large (2 1/2 – 3-inch) cookie cutters and transfer cookies to prepared baking sheet. Gather and reroll cookie dough scraps. Repeat with second half of the cookie dough.
Chill cut out cookies on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before baking.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the cookie, until cookies are set and very lightly browned around the edges.
Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen large cookies.

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  • Medeja
    March 22, 2014

    That decoration is really beautiful! Makes cookies look really special 🙂

  • Jennifer | Jennifer Bakes
    March 22, 2014

    Mmm. Look lovely.

  • Marie D.
    April 6, 2014

    I am making these this afternoon! I am having a problem with the dough not forming into a smooth ball. oh well hoping for the best

  • Nicole
    April 6, 2014

    Marie – If the dough doesn’t form a smooth ball, you should continue to work it until it does. If it still seems dry, you can add in a teaspoon or so of milk to moisten it. The dough should not be too wet or sticky, or it will not be easy to roll out.

  • sandra
    October 2, 2014

    I’m making the cookies and when they cool they’re really hard. Will they get softer with icing on them?

  • Nicole
    October 3, 2014

    Sandra – The cookies should be thick and firm, but they should not be crunchy when you bite into them. It sounds like they might be slightly overbaked from your description. You can soften them slightly by storing them overnight in an airtight container before frosting them, however a soft frosting – not royal icing, but more of a buttercream – will also help to soften them.

  • Ashley
    October 6, 2014

    The absolute BEST cookie. I’ve made this recipe about 4 times over the course of a week. I’ve found that rolling them a bit thicker than 1/4 inch works best, almost 3/8 inch. I take them out right as they start to get golden around the edge and leave them for the whole 5 minutes on the baking sheet. I also use a Silpat rather than parchment paper. Since I make them thicker, I don’t get the whole 2 1/2 to 3 dozen, more like 2 dozen.

  • Gina
    February 15, 2015

    I made the dough yesterday and let it set in the fridge overnight. I rolled it out this afternoon and baked them. The shape stayed very well! If you want them to be soft or have a little bite to them these are just great! These are exactly what I’ve been looking for! Thanks!?

  • Geraldine Farley
    February 15, 2015

    The flavor of these cookies was very good, but I think since I didn’t add frosting, they turned out very hard. I didn’t overbake, they’re just hard, crisp cookies.

  • Lauren
    July 31, 2015

    Hi I understand this is an older post but I just made these cookies and they spread a lot. I chilled before baking since it was slightly warm in my house. I’m trying to figure out what I did wrong. The taste however was excellent!

  • Jessica
    August 2, 2015

    I wanted to make my cookies flavored. Instead of using vanilla extract, can I use lemon, orange or almond extract? Will the cookie then have that flavor or should I still use some vanilla and replace the amaretto with the different extracts?

  • Nicole
    August 2, 2015

    Lauren – The cookie dough should be fairly dry because it contains a high proportion of dry ingredients (sugar and flour) to butter. If your cookies spread significantly, you might simply need to add more flour to your dough. It could be because you need to use a more generous measure of flour, or because of the outside temperature. If your dough is soft enough to require refrigeration to keep it from being sticky, you should probably work in more flour.

  • Lisa
    August 10, 2015

    I am making these as wedding favors, can I freeze the baked cookies than thaw out a day or so before to ice?

  • Nicole
    August 11, 2015

    Lisa – Yes, you should absolutely be able to do that! Take them out a day in advance and thaw them while wrapped I recommend wrapping them individually or separating them with parchment paper.

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