These Soft Cut Out Cookies are the only recipe you’ll ever need! They hold their shape perfectly in the oven. I love these cookies because they bake up nice and soft with perfectly crisp edges. When it comes to making beautifully decorated cookies, this recipe has never let me down. Our Soft Cut Out Cookies are the best recipe to make for Christmas, birthday parties, baby showers, or pretty much any occasion! I am constantly asked to make this recipe for special events for friends and family. And even then, someone ALWAYS asks for the recipe. Every. Single. Time! A few simple ingredients are all that’s needed to make these wonderfully Soft Cut Out Cookies.
Here’s all you’ll need: Flour, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla extract, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. I used my glass bowl so I could toss the butter in the microwave for 30 seconds to soften. A hand mixer on medium speed will get the job done!
Next beat in the eggs and the vanilla. I was SO excited to make this recipe because I got to use my super special vanilla for the very first time! My friend Michelle gifted me this jar of homemade vanilla for my birthday and it is AMAZING!!! I love homemade gifts. They’re my favorite! You can also swap the vanilla for other extracts. Anise is great at Christmas!
After we’ve got those eggs fully incorporated, add in the salt and baking powder. Now slowly, on a low speed, mix in the flour one cup at a time. You want to make sure you have a nice, BIG bowl to mix in. My glass bowl didn’t quite cut it and I had to swap out for a bigger bowl. I like to live on the edge and push the limits like that!
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for one hour or overnight. My fridge gets really cold in the back so one hour is plenty. But typically I get busy doing other things and it ends up being like four! I often use only half the dough and freeze the rest. This recipe freezes extremely well. The dough will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer.
Once the dough has been chilled, remove the fridge and unwrap. Grab a hunk of dough and roll it out on a lightly floured surface. I like to work with only a small chunk at a time. It helps to keep the cookies nice and uniform. The rolled dough should be about 1/4 inch thick. Messy countertops. Twelve pound bags of flour. That’s how I roll.
Next cut into shapes with a cookie cutter. Or you can go old school like me and use a drinking glass. The taller ones work best. Sooooo……I literally have boxes overflowing with hundreds of cookie cutters, but somehow I do not have a basic round circle cutter. Really! How does that even happen??? It’s like every time I go to the store all the circle ones are missing! But if you have a good recommendation for your favorite, I would love to hear from ya!
And here is a visual of the perfect thickness. Not too thick, not too thin, but just right!
Place cut outs on a cookie tray lined with parchment paper. You know I love it! This is the one time that I actually really, really recommend that you go to the store and buy it if you don’t have any on hand. It really helps to create those perfectly baked cookie bottoms. Bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for 6-8 minutes. These cookies bake fast, so stay close! Six minutes is the perfect amount of time in my oven. The cookie tops will look just about set in the middle, but the true test for me is how the bottoms look. Sometimes I’ll flip one over and sneak a peak! The bottoms should just barely be starting to brown around the edges.
A few more cookie baking secrets….ALWAYS use the top and middle racks for cookie baking. And rotate the pans halfway through baking (put the top pan on the middle rack and the middle pan on the top rack). These simple tricks will take your cookies to the next level. I promise! And most importantly, when the cookies are done baking, immediately remove them from the pans to a cooling rack (a countertop will work too!) Basically just get them off those baking sheets as quickly as possible because they will continue to bake if you leave them on there.
Cool completely before decorating. Decorate with the frosting or icing of your choice. For cookie decorating tips check out our Championship Winning Softball Cookies or our Baby Shower Cookies tutorials.
Soft Cut Out Cookies
- 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
- 2 cups white sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or extract flavoring of your choice)
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Step 1 In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then beat in the eggs and the vanilla.
- Step 2 Add the salt and baking powder. Next slowly mix in the flour one cup at a time.
- Step 3 Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for one hour or overnight.
- Step 4 Remove the dough from the fridge. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into shapes with a cookie cutter.
- Step 5 Place cut outs on a cookie tray lined with parchment paper. Bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for 6-8 minutes.
- Step 6 Remove from baking racks immediately and transfer to a cooling rack. Cool completely before decorating.
- Step 7 To Freeze Cookie Dough: Double wrap in plastic wrap and place into a ziploc freezer bag. Freeze up to 3 months. Thaw completely before using.
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