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How to Make Classic Christmas Cookies

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Start a family tradition by making classic cut-out cookies! 

When most Americans think of Christmas cookies, butter cookies in festive shapes topped with icing is what most often comes to mind. Christmas cookies were not always such sugary sweet confections. In Medieval Europe, spicy German gingerbread called lebkuchen was first associated with Christmas. It was often baked in the shape of a heart or a circle, with a hole made in it to hang it from a ribbon. (Sounds like a Christmas tree ornament!) 

Have fun making cookie trees or whatever shape makes your heart happy.

Don’t celebrate Christmas? Cut out cookies are perfect for celebrating any time of year. Find a cookie cutter that feels special to you: a soccer ball, a butterfly, your home state or even just abstract shapes.

Easy cut-out cookie recipe

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients

•1 cup unsalted butter, softened 

•3 ounces cream cheese, softened 

•¾ cup white sugar 

•1 egg 

•1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or almond or lemon extract) 

•3 cups all-purpose flour

Note: Think you don’t like cream cheese? You can’t really taste it, and it makes the cookies tender, flaky and soft.

Instructions

In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, cream together butter, cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla extract. Add flour bit by bit and mix until a dough forms. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for three hours. 

Lightly flour a clean, flat surface surface and roll half of the dough to ¼ inch thick. Cut out shapes and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake until cookies are lightly golden, or about 8 minutes. Allow cookies to cool completely before decorating, or eat them plain.


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