It's not that cut-out cookies can't or shouldn't be made outside of Christmas. In fact, one of the best gifts my BFF ever gave me was a shoebox filled with a dozen cookies cutters, one themed around each month of the year. But those dozen assorted cutters are trumped by the nearly two dozen Christmas cutters I've collected, which definitely make cut-out cookies more tempting at this time of year.
Surprisingly enough, cut-out cookies aren't part of my typical holiday repertoire and don't show up in my treat tins consistently. There are simply too many other items on the list. But when I stumbled across this recipe, I decided it was about time to put the cookie cutters back in rotation.
Not only were these cookies so pretty, but they were also so tasty :) The filling needed a bit more peppermint (two drops just weren't peppermint-y enough for me), but the cookies were buttery, flaky, and rich. I guarantee you won't be able to stop eating them!
Oh, and also worthy of note, I've finally found a recipe that stands up perfectly to baking - they didn't spread in the oven at all, which is a problem I've had with similar doughs in the past. I'm not sure if the trick was the temperature of the butter, the stiffness of the cream cheese, or the length of time the dough spent in the fridge, but whatever it was, it worked!
Butter Cookies with Peppermint Filling
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 cup flour
Red decorators' sugar
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 or 2 drops peppermint extract1 or 2 drops green food coloring
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
To make cookies, cream butter, cream cheese, and sugar using a handheld mixer in a medium bowl until smooth. Add flour slowly, mixing on low, until incorporated. Scoop dough into a ball, flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until dough has firmed slightly, about 30 minutes.
On a floured surface, roll dough about 1/8-inch thick. Cut out as many shapes (I used snowflakes and stars) as possible with a small cookie cutter and transfer to ungreased baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between each cookie. Re-roll dough scraps and repeat until all dough is used. Sprinkle cookies with sugar, pressing very lightly to adhere.
Bake until cookies are golden around edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheets and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
To make filling, place sugar, butter, peppermint extract, food coloring and 1/2 teaspoon water in a medium bowl and beat on medium speed until well combined and fluffy. Spread a thin layer of filling on half of cookies and place remaining cookies on top to make sandwiches.