Glittering heart sugar cookie cutouts, as featured on WRGT -- Fox 45 in the Morning.
Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated Holiday 2006.
The original version of this recipe was for thin, crispy butter cookies but I ran with it creating thick, tender sugar cookies neither cakelike or crispy. These make ideal cutouts because the dough does not puff or spread much during baking. Because the dough is "reverse creamed," with the butter and cream cheese creamed into the flour and sugar instead of the other way around it is very tender and can withstand multiple re-rollings without toughening the texture.
Butter Cookie Dough
2½ cups (12½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ cup (5½ ounces) superfine sugar (see note above)
½ teaspoon table salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces, cool room temperature (about 65 degrees)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons cream cheese, cool room temperature
1 tablespoon cream cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoons milk
1½ cups (6 ounces) confectioners' sugar
1. For the cookies: In bowl of standing mixer fitted with flat beater, mix flour, sugar, and salt on low speed until combined, about 5 seconds. With mixer running on low, add butter 1 piece at a time; continue to mix until mixture looks crumbly and slightly wet, about 1 minute longer. Add vanilla and cream cheese and mix on low until dough just begins to form large clumps, about 30 seconds.
2. Remove bowl from mixer; knead dough by hand in bowl for 2 to 3 turns to form large cohesive mass. Dough can be rolled immediately or chilled slightly for easier handling.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly flour a work space and roll out dough to just under 1/2 inch thick. Cut out with desired shaped and place on cookie sheet, preferably lined with parchment.
4. Baking time will depend on the size of cutout used. Average time is 12 minutes for a 3 inch wide cookie. You want the tops to be just pale gold, and the bottoms lightly browned. I would recommend baking a single cookie, allowing it to cool, and ensuring it has the proper texture.
5. Allow to cool to room temperature and cover with glaze of choice.
Note: For large versions of this cookie wait for the cookies to cool for a few minutes after baking and smooth the tops with an icing spatula while still malleable. This will flatten any small air bubbles and give you a totally flat surface for decorating.