I love a themed afternoon tea. And the great thing about cutout cookies, is they can be adapted to fit any theme you have in mind!
I recently found amongst my mother’s decades-old cookie cutters a very small one of an ice cream cone. Ice cream was one of her favorite desserts – never failed when I would go home and stay with her, she’d always come out about at 9 pm and ask if it wasn’t time for a dish of ice cream. It’s one of those memories that will stay with me forever.
So I thought it might be nice to have a last-of-the-summer cup of tea with cookies made with this cutter, and another I had of a sailboat, as she lived on a lake. Another favorite memory was sitting on the patio in the back of her house, directly on the lake, having supper while watching boat traffic on the lake, waving to the people in pontoons, skiing, innertubing or paddle boarding, and enjoying the movement of sailboats off on the other side of the lake. That’s the great thing about living on a lake – there’s always something going on.
For recipe, I went with the one from Taste of Home – I was going to try several to see what I might like best, but loved this one right off, so have simply stuck with it. It’s got a deep, dark chocolate flavor, not as sweet as one’s usual sugar cookie, but I like that. And if you ice the cookies, you get extra sweetness there.
The ingredients come together quickly.
And then simply wrap it up to put it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before you roll it out.
For rolling out to a consistent level so my cookies bake evenly, I use the little rubber bands one can buy that are different heights, using the 1/4″ one this time.
Chocolate Cutout Cookies
- 1 c. unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 c. sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 c. all-purpose flour
- 2/3 c. baking cocoa
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
DirectionsIn a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
In another bowl sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Gradually mix this into the creamed mixture, about 1/3rd of the dry ingredients at a time.
When the dough comes together, divide it in half and form two disks. Cover them with cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling out.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You can roll the dough out, one half at a time, on a lightly floured surface. Or roll it out between two sheets of parchment so you don’t need to add flour to the dough.
Roll out to 1/4″ inch thickness and cut out with desired cookie cutters. Place on ungreased cookie sheets to bake (I bake them on parchment as well, just to make them easy to pull off the sheet and transfer to the cooling rack when done).
Bake 10-12 minutes or until set. (Cautionary note – start at the lower time to check how long you need in your individual oven. For me, 10 minutes was enough; after 11 minutes they started getting too hard and drying out a little too much. I like them with just a little bite on the edges, but nice and soft in the middle.)
Once the cookies are fully cooled, you can ice with your choice of icing.
I gotta start by confessing that I am strictly an amateur cookie decorator – I’d like them to look more professional, but I’ll probably have to take a class sometime to try and achieve that level of skill!
My icing of choice for cutout cookies is the one that is used by Biscuiteers in the UK – they have the most amazing looking cookies that are delicious too! I go for their egg-white recipe that is simply egg whites and powdered sugar. You don’t even need to use a mixer, if you are willing to apply a little elbow grease to bring it together.
I try for the line-and-flood approach, but am still working on getting my line and flood icing to the right consistencies to make them look more polished. Prefer no-tip line icing if I can – it’s just easier and less clean-up at the end. There are plenty of Youtube videos and other instruction available on how to professionally ice cookies that I would direct you to.
I’m a geek, I know – I like the kaleidoscope effect one can make with these two cutout patterns! Makes for a photogenic tea plate too, for your last-of-the-summer tea.
And one final thought – I made these snowflake pattern cookies with this recipe last Christmas. If you really want to start thinking ahead to the holidays, these cookies make for a nice addition to a Christmas tea or cookie plate with white icing and varied patterns for that one-of-a-kind snowflake cookie!