Dairy Free, Recipes, Snacks, Sweets, Top

Christmas Cookie Cutouts Recipe

December 14, 2010
As a mother I sometimes jump the gun a  bit on appropriate activities to do with a 2-year-old. Take making Christmas cookies for example, it’s like I think at the ripe old age of three my ‘lil jalapeño will want nothing to do with me and my opportunity for making  cookies with her will be over. Just a note to all you other mothers of 2-year-olds out there: this is not a good activity to do with your child. Here’s how my experience went: 

Act 1: Making the dough.
Me: “Don’t eat too much dough”
LJ: “Just a little bit,” as she shoves a huge glob in her mouth.

Act 2: Cutting out the shapes.
Me: “Use your cutters to cut out the shapes and then we will bake them.”
LJ: “Okay Mommy.” She cuts out a shape, picks it up with the spatula…..and shoves it in her mouth.

Act 3: Frosting and sprinkles.
Me: “Spread the frosting on the cookies, then add some sprinkles.”
LJ: “Garumph.” You can’t understand her because she’s simultaneously shoving spoonfuls of frosting and sprinkles in her mouth. 

Act 4: Call it quits
Me: “Yea, wasn’t that fun!” As I’m stuffing everything in the refrigerator to do after she goes to bed.

Plans for that Gingerbread House we were going to make—cancelled. 

Note: My mom sent me this lovely vanilla-citrus Fiori di Sicilia extract from King Arthur Flour which I use here. You can leave it out or substitute your favorite flavoring (almond, vanilla, etc.) instead. 

Christmas Cookie Cutouts Recipe

Yield: 30 Cookies

Classic sugar cookie recipe perfect for rolling and cutting out shapes for Christmas. Dairy Free!

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan


  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia extract (optional)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Royal Icing for decorating (see recipe below)


  1. Place shortening in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until smooth and very creamy, about 1 minute. Add both sugars and the salt and beat on medium speed until smooth and velvety, about 1 minute. Reduce the speed to low and add the egg yolks and extract (if using) beating until incorporated, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle with a rubber spatula. 
  2. Add the flour to the bowl. Drape a kitchen towel over the mixer and make 5 (2-second) pulses on low speed to start to incorporate the flour. Remove the towel and mix on low speed just until the flour disappears into the dough and the dough looks soft, clumpy, and moist, about 30 seconds. (If you still have some flour in the bottom of the bowl, stop the mixer and use a rubber spatula to work it into the dough.) Scrape the dough onto a work surface, gather it into a ball, and divide it in half. 
  3. Place a ball of dough between 2 large pieces of parchment or waxed paper. Flatten the ball with our your hands into a disk, then use a rolling pin to roll the dough, turning it over frequently, until it's 1/8 inch thick. Transfer dough (paper and all) to a baking sheet; set aside. Repeat with the second ball and place on top of the first. Refrigerate until the dough is very firm, about 1 hour. 
  4. Heat oven to 350°F. Remove a round of dough from the refrigerator and place on work surface. Remove top sheet of parchment and place on a clean baking sheet. Using a cookie cutter, stamp out as many cookies as possible. Transfer cookies to the parchment-covered baking sheet, spacing them 1 inch apart. Save scraps to reroll later. 
  5. Bake until cookies are light brown on the bottom, lightly golden around the edges and pale on top, about 12 minutes. Let cookies rest 1 or 2 minutes before carefully transferring them to a cooling rack with a wide metal spatula. 
  6. Gather scraps, press into a disk, and roll between sheets of parchment or waxed paper. Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate until firm. Repeat cutting, baking, and cooling with the remaining dough. 
  7. Once cool, decorate cookies with royal icing.

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  • Anonymous December 19, 2010 at 3:17 am

    I am only an occasional reader of your blog so normally I wouldn’t comment, but this post REALLY spoke to me so I felt inspired! I have a daughter who is 2 years and 9 months. We made gingerbread cookies together and the experience was less than satisfying. She didn’t like the taste of the gingerbread dough, so we made it through the dough making and cookie rolling without harm, but when we arrived at the frosting portion (the part that I thought would be so magical) all she wanted to do was lick the sprinkles off the plate and eat the frosting. She occasionally humored me and put more sprinkles on a cookie or added a little frosting, but I’m pretty sure it was just to get another sample for herself! Better luck next year!

  • Kate Ramos December 19, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Too funny! But really, how do we expect them to resist colored sugar?

    I feel better knowing my child isn’t the only one who likes to eat gobs of frosting, thank you!

  • staci mcbride-cain March 9, 2015 at 2:23 am

    i recently found your blog through pinterest! I have already made the black bean taco salad! the dressing was wonderful! my question is the is a bakery in florida that makes a cutout cookie that is yellow in color. it is wonderful! kinda like a shortbread. your recipe is probably one of the closest I think, except what would make the dough yellow color. the bakery is Moreno’s in Brandon florida it is not that sweet, I had stomach surgery a while back and I can eat these without problems. just wanted to pick your brain! thank you for writing such a great blog!

    • Kate Ramos
      Kate Ramos March 9, 2015 at 3:19 pm

      Hi Staci! Thanks so much for your kind words. My guess is they use butter and possibly a little yellow food coloring. You could try substituting butter for the shortening here and see what you think. Let me know how they turn out!!