A favorite family tradition throughout my growing up years was to make cut-out holiday cookies at least 2-3 times per year. I remember making these for Christmas and Easter, although there may have been other times during the year that we enjoyed these homemade treats.
Of course, I had to do the same with my own children, right?
We have followed in a similar pattern with my own girls, except that we usually make autumn cookies, like you see above in the photo, sometimes Christmas cookies, and sometimes, Resurrection Sunday crosses.
I must admit that I LOVE making cut-out cookies and helping the girls frost them. Yes, it makes a messy kitchen and dining room, and the clean-up takes me longer than with some other projects we do around the house, but I enjoy this time with the girls very much!
I've always used one particular recipe for the cut-out cookies, because my definition of a wonderful cut-out cookie is a bit on the thicker side, soft and chewy on the inside, and firm enough to handle to frost with icing.
Yesterday, while my husband and oldest daughter went hunting, Brittany and I mixed up the dough for the cut-out cookies.
We didn't have enough white flour to make the larger batch of dough, so we combined regular white flour and whole wheat pastry flour together to make a healthier dough, albeit unplanned.
It is my understanding that whole wheat pastry flour is just as healthy as regular whole wheat flour; it is a different variety of wheat which, when milled, produces a lighter variety of flour. I'm not sure it's good to make yeast breads or cakes with whole wheat pastry flour; I'd have to do some research into that. However, we have enjoyed using whole wheat pastry flour for:
I wasn't sure how the cookies would turn out, as I didn't want to give up the texture and flavor of my original recipe. Guess what? They were delicious! They baked up soft and chewy and wonderful. Even though they aren't made completely with whole wheat pastry flour, they are delightful. I might add a bit more flour the next time I make these, just to see how they turn out with 3/4 whole wheat pastry flour, and 1/4 white flour. Maybe I'll be brave enough to try them with 100% whole wheat pastry flour? Hmmm. Maybe not.
Here is the recipe I use for the "healthier" version of my cut-out cookies:
1-1/4 cups butter, softened
2 cups sugar (or organic evap. cane juice sugar)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2-3 cups regular flour (if dough is sticky, add the extra cup of flour)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until fluffy. Sift dry ingredients together and add alternately to creamed mixture with milk. If mixture is too sticky, add flour, a little at a time, until the dough is easy to handle. Roll dough 1/8 to 1/4" thick. Cut out cookies, dipping cutter in flour before each use, if necessary. Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until edges are set and golden. Makes 36-42 average sized cookies.
After the cookies had cooled on cooling racks, and the hunters had arrived back home, we ate dinner...and then it was time to make frosting. I almost always make homemade frosting when we need it. I really don't care for the taste of the processed store-bought frosting. There's some odd taste in there that just isn't right!
Here is my favorite recipe for making homemade frosting. If you prefer to use coconut oil (in its cool room temperature form) instead of the shortening, feel free. The icing won't set up and harden on the decorated cookies, so it will stick to layers of waxed paper if you are layering these cookies in a box. If you are planning on shipping these cookies somewhere, you'll want to use shortening instead of coconut oil. If the weather is hot, I don't think you'll want to use the coconut oil, because it will turn to a liquid state. That might make quite a mess on your cookies! You could also try to use 100% butter and no shortening altogether.
I decided to use a combination of butter, shortening, and coconut oil:
And, of course, frost cookies and add sprinkles, if desired! I usually buy seasonal sprinkles the day or week after a particular holiday, getting them for 50-75% off...and I save them for the following year.
Hi! I'm Julieanne!