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Butter Cut-Out Cookies

by . Featured in HOW TO BE A DOMESTIC GODDESS
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Introduction

It’s not hard to make biscuits that hold their shape well while cooking; it’s not hard to make biscuits that taste good and have a melting, buttery texture: what’s hard is to find a biscuit that does all of these things together. This one does it all, and with ease.

Like all doughs, it freezes well, so it makes sense – in a smug, domestic kind of a way – to wrap half of this in clingfilm and stash it in the deep freeze until next needed. It’s hard to specify exactly how much icing you’ll need, but you might end up using more than specified below if you’re using a lot of different colours.

As my children grew up, I always cut out the newly acquired age of each child on his or her birthday. My children couldn’t have contemplated a birthday party without them, and nor could I. Since then, I have found them deliciously invaluable to say and celebrate anything I've needed them to. Truly, an indispensable recipe.

It’s not hard to make biscuits that hold their shape well while cooking; it’s not hard to make biscuits that taste good and have a melting, buttery texture: what’s hard is to find a biscuit that does all of these things together. This one does it all, and with ease.

Like all doughs, it freezes well, so it makes sense – in a smug, domestic kind of a way – to wrap half of this in clingfilm and stash it in the deep freeze until next needed. It’s hard to specify exactly how much icing you’ll need, but you might end up using more than specified below if you’re using a lot of different colours.

As my children grew up, I always cut out the newly acquired age of each child on his or her birthday. My children couldn’t have contemplated a birthday party without them, and nor could I. Since then, I have found them deliciously invaluable to say and celebrate anything I've needed them to. Truly, an indispensable recipe.

Butter Cut-Out Cookies
Photo by Petrina Tinslay

Ingredients

Makes: 50-60

Metric Cups
  • 175 grams soft unsalted butter
  • 200 grams caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 400 grams plain flour - preferably Italian 00 (plus more if needed)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 300 grams icing sugar (sieved)
  • food colouring
  • 1¼ sticks soft unsalted butter
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2⅔ cups all-purpose flour - preferably Italian 00 (plus more if needed)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar (sieved)
  • food colouring

Method

You will need biscuit cutters and two baking sheets, greased or lined.

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4/350ºF.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and moving towards moussiness, then beat in the eggs 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. Halve the dough, form into fat discs, wrap each half in clingfilm and rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Sprinkle a suitable surface with flour, place a disc of dough on it (not taking out the other half until you’ve finished with the first) and sprinkle a little more flour on top of that. Then roll it out to a thickness of about ½ cm / ¼ inch. Cut into shapes, dipping the cutter into flour as you go, and place the biscuits a little apart on the baking sheets.
  3. Bake for 8–12 minutes, by which time they will be lightly golden around the edges. Cool on a rack and continue with the rest of the dough. When they’re all fully cooled, you can get on with the icing. Put a couple of tablespoons of just-not-boiling water into a large bowl, add the sieved icing sugar and mix together, adding more water as you need to form a thick paste. Colour as desired: let the artistic spirit within you speak, remembering with gratitude that children have very bad taste.

You will need biscuit cutters and two baking sheets, greased or lined.

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4/350ºF.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and moving towards moussiness, then beat in the eggs 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. Halve the dough, form into fat discs, wrap each half in clingfilm and rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Sprinkle a suitable surface with flour, place a disc of dough on it (not taking out the other half until you’ve finished with the first) and sprinkle a little more flour on top of that. Then roll it out to a thickness of about ½ cm / ¼ inch. Cut into shapes, dipping the cutter into flour as you go, and place the biscuits a little apart on the baking sheets.
  3. Bake for 8–12 minutes, by which time they will be lightly golden around the edges. Cool on a rack and continue with the rest of the dough. When they’re all fully cooled, you can get on with the icing. Put a couple of tablespoons of just-not-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. Colour as desired: let the artistic spirit within you speak, remembering with gratitude that children have very bad taste.

Tell us what you think

What 4 Others have said

  • Delicious biscuits, probably the best plain butter cookies I have ever made. My family enjoys them a lot and they are astoundingly easy to make.

    Posted by AiXi on 16th February 2016
  • I've made these ones a several time. These are amazing. The best ones and never a fail!

    Posted by Sukimew on 14th December 2015
  • For me, these are the best butter cut out biscuits I've ever made. Melty texture and a lovely vanilla flavour. They definitely hold the shape.

    Posted by Sukimew on 1st September 2015
  • Made two batches of these biscuits. Yummy!

    Posted by Dafna on 7th December 2015
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