These cookies remind me of my Nonna Trudy. During the holiday season, she would spend an entire week in cut-out-cookie production mode. She'd layer them between wax paper as she filled up tin after tin, stacking the tins like a bricklayer along the freezing-cold wall of her garage in Berea, Ohio. Then she'd wait for Christmas to arrive-or her chubby redheaded granddaughter to infiltrate her stock when dinner was done and the UNO cards came out.
The best part? You only need four ingredients. These cookies are my favorite greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts foray into old-timey recipes and pantry staple ingredients.
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream on high until homogenous, about 3 minutes. Add the flour and salt, mixing until just combined, about 30 seconds.
2. Remove the dough from the bowl and form it into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes.
3. Heat the oven to 350°F.
4. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap it, and dust with a sprinkling of flour. Roll it out to a 1/4-inch thickness with a rolling pin on a floured surface. Using cookie cutters, cut out shapes and carefully transfer to a lined or nonstick baking sheet. (Work quickly; the colder the dough, the easier it is to cut, transfer, and bake.)
5. Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, until slightly golden around the edges. Cool completely on the baking sheet before glazing and decorating.
6. With a knife, palette knife, or piping bag fitted with a small round tip, outline or frost the top surface of each cookie. Decorate with sprinkles before the frosting hardens.
Adapted from "Milk Bar Life", Clarkson Potter.