Thursday, December 17, 2009

White Velvet Cutouts

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White velvet cutouts are the happy medium between a butter cookie and a sugar cookie. This cookie is not super sweet so I usually sprinkle on a little bit of course sugar which gives just the right amount of texture as well as an added hint of sweetness. But there was always one problem - these are supposed to be rolled out and cut out with cookie cutters. Now call me lazy or blame it on my ADD, I put rolling out batch after batch of cookies right up there with having to fill and crimp hundreds of pastelitos and you know what I think of that. My kids love to roll and cut out the cookies but being kids they last all of 8.6 minutes before they've lost interest.

How to fix the dilemma? Just convert the recipe to a slice and bake cookie. Then voila! No rolling pin, floured counter, intricate cookie cutters or multiple chilling steps. Just a deliciously festive cookie you can crank out with one hand tied behind your back.

White Velvet Cutouts
adapted from All Recipes

1 cup (2 sticks) butter - softened. I use salted butter and feel this recipe really needs it.
3 oz (6 tablespoons) cream cheese - softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Mixing this up is super simple. Just plop in the mixing bowl the butter, cream cheese and sugar then mix for a few minutes until light, fluffy and the sugar has dissolved.

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Once the mixture is creamed, add the egg yolks and vanilla. Mix again. No you're not going crazy, those are two egg yolks. As usual I'm doubling up the recipe.

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Mmmmmmm, fluffy.

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Stir in the flour and mix well until just combined. Don't overbeat at this point but you'll want to scrape down the bowl halfway to make sure there are no pockets of flour on the bottom of the bowl.

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At this point I'll kindly direct you to stick your face in this bowl. The smell of cream cheese and vanilla is amazing. Now grab a hunk of cookie dough and feel it. Smooth, soft and not sticky, just about the perfect playdough. Although if we used this as playdough I doubt much would be left over.

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This dough needs to chill overnight. The fat needs to firm up and the flour will finish hydrating making a firmer dough for rolling out (if that's your thing) or just firming up enough to slice and bake. This is how I fill my kids' need to roll out cookies with my need to have cookies without fuss. I plop about two mixing spoonfuls of dough on a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten into a disc for chilling.

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Two kids = two discs and you know exactly why. Baby doesn't roll out dough just yet.

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The rest of the dough I dump out onto a piece of parchment paper, roll it into a log about 2" in diameter then roll the parchment paper around and secure.

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Yes I secure it with clothespins, my all purpose kitchen utensil. I haven't actually used clothespins for hanging up clothes since I was a kid but boy do I use them a ton in the kitchen. You can wrap this up in plastic wrap if if you don't have parchment paper. Then chill overnight in the fridge.

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The next day unwrap your log 'o loveliness and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Looks pretty plain though, let's gussy her up.

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Grab some course sugar, sprinkles or fairy dust and dump that out onto your unwrapped parchment.

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Then firmly roll the log of cookie dough in the sugar. You might have to hand patch some spots since we're human and our logs/cylinders are rarely smooth and perfect. Just do the the best you can.

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Let's see red (my favorite color)? Check. Sparkly? Check. Sweet? Check.

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Slice the log into scant 1/2" thick rounds and place them onto a parchment lined baking sheet about an inch apart. Mine were a bit close in this shot.

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Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cookies just begin to brown around the edges. I know, everyone strives for that pristine all white sugar cookie but if you don't bake the cookies until they're tinged with brown it will taste floury and flat. Taken to this point instead and you'll have a complex, almost browned butter taste.

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Cool and store in an airtight container.

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Or eat them all Cookie Monster style. Either way, they're delicious. My attempt at a cookie wreath. See? I can do festive.

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

These look great! I mixed up a double batch and have the logs chilling in the fridge now. It was one more thing to do while we are snowed in here in Virginia. Thanks!

Marielle said...

Wow, snowed in and so productive. It's a good thing we don't get much snow in NC because I believe it would be my one great excuse for getting absolutely nothing done. Hope you enjoyed the cookies!