Cut-out Sugar Cookies
(recipe based on "Best Rolled Sugar Cookies" from Allrecipes.com)
1 1/2 cups Butter, room temperature, softened
2 cups Sugar (granulated, white)
4 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract (I always sneak in a little more!)
5 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
1. With an electric mixer, cream the butter & sugar. Next add the vanilla & eggs. On low speed pour in the flour, one cup at a time, & then add the salt & baking powder. Once all of the ingredients are combined, cover the bowl with plastic wrap & chill in the refrigerator for a few hours (one at the very least) or over night. If you're in a hurry you could even put the covered bowl in the freezer for about 30 mins--don't let it get frozen through though!
2. When you're ready to roll out your cookies, preheat the oven to 400 F. Tear off two large, cookie tray-sized sheets of parchment paper & lay one down on your work surface. Plop a fistful of cookie dough onto the parchment paper & leave the rest of the dough chilling in the refrigerator. With a clean hand press the cookie dough down & then place the second sheet of parchment paper over it. Using a rolling pin, roll the cookie dough between the two sheets of parchment paper until it is about 1/4 inch or so thick. Peel the top layer of parchment paper off & use whatever cookie cutter shapes you'd like to cut the dough, leaving at least 1/2 inch between each cookie. Remove the excess dough from around the cuttings, placing it back in the fridge with the rest of the dough, & then carefully pick up the bottom layer of parchment paper by two of its corners & transfer it to your cookie sheet. If you need more time for your oven to preheat or the dough of your cut cookies has gotten very soft simply put the whole tray in the freezer for a few minutes.
* This recipe makes enough dough for several dozen cookies. Keep the dough in the fridge wrapped in plastic or in an airtight container, or your can freeze it if you will not be using it up soon.