This recipe makes a dough that, when chilled, is easy to cut with cookie cutters and produces firm, light-golden-colored cookies.
The dough makes enough cookies for 2 to 3 wreaths. (Find wreath instructions here.)
Make Ahead: The dough needs to be refrigerated for at least 2 hours or overnight. It can be frozen in thin sheets for up to 2 months. Baked, un-iced cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 10 days.
Servings: 48 large cookies
- 3 cups flour, plus more as needed and some for the work surface
- 1 tablespoon plus 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground mace (optional)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
Combine the flour, baking powder, mace, if using, and the salt on a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper.
Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer; beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until light and creamy. Add the vanilla extract, then stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time (on medium speed), mixing well after each addition. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in increments until just combined. The dough will be fairly soft but should not be sticky. Add flour as needed and mix just to incorporate.
Divide the dough into 3 equal portions. Flatten each portion of dough between 2 pieces of plastic wrap, which will help when rolling and cutting the dough. Chill for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
When ready to bake, lightly flour a work surface. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (300 degrees for a convection oven).
Working with 1 portion of dough at a time, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Use cookie cutters or templates to cut shapes; place the shapes on the prepared baking sheets, spaced at least 1 inch apart. If the dough becomes soft, return it to the refrigerator to firm up (20 to 30 minutes). Once the shapes have been cut and placed on the sheets, refrigerate the unbaked cookies for 15 minutes. Reroll scraps; refrigerate for 15 minutes before cutting into shapes.
Bake one sheet at a time for 10 to 14 minutes or until the cookie edges are pale golden. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating or storing. Repeat to use all the dough.
From Heather Chittum, pastry chef at Hook restaurant in Georgetown.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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