This is the best recipe by far that I've tried for cut-out sugar cookies. The dough handles beautifully, forming a wonderful canvas for icing and decorations. It also doubles or triples easily for extra-large batches around the holidays.
|1 c||butter (unsalted, room temperature)|
|2 oz||cream cheese (room temperature)|
|1 t||vanilla extract|
|1⁄2 t||almond extract|
|1 t||lemon zest|
|1 1⁄2 t||baking powder|
In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream the butter, cream cheese, and sugar for several minutes, until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla extract, almond extract, and lemon zest.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. While the mixer is running, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture until incorporated, and a dough forms.
Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly floured surface and divide in half (see note). Place each ball between two sheets of parchment, and roll out into a sheet 1/4 to 1/8-inch-thick. Refrigerate for at least 60 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350˚F and line baking sheets with parchment. Cut cookies out with cookie cutters, and arrange on the prepared baking sheets. Bake 8-12 minutes, until lightly golden. Allow to cool 5 minutes on baking sheet, then finish cooling on a wire rack. If icing or decorating, allow to cool completely beforehand. Store in a tightly covered container.
At this point, the dough can be wrapped in plastic wrap and sealed in a freezer bag and frozen for up to 30 days. Thaw 12 hours in refrigerator before proceeding with recipe.