Christmastime is synonymous with cookie cutter cookies. Crispy Chocolate Cookie Cutter Cookies are a simple and inexpensive way to add a special touch to a deliciously classic cookie.
It’s day 4 of Lord Byron’s 24 Cookies of Christmas series, and today’s feature is Crispy Chocolate Cookie Cutter Cookies. Cookie cutters have been a regular part of Christmastime sweets and treats all of my life. I remember well the various cookie cutter cookies that were planted on the table in the colourful tin they were bought in; don’t you?
What? Your parents made cookie cutter cookies from scratch? Mine didn’t. I’ve said it a million times (obviously an exaggeration!) here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen, that my mom was a great cook and baker. But, in all of my lifetime, she never once ventured to make her own cookie cutter cookies.
Both of my parents worked, so in addition to all of the household duties a mom of three had, she also needed to go to work every day. There was never a time that we didn’t have delicious cookies in our kitchen, but she didn’t have time to mess around with cookie cutters. Shortcuts were sought out and expected in almost everything she did.
Cookie cutter cookies were never eaten throughout the year. I can only remember eating them at Christmastime, and they always came packaged in a tin can that would be later used for buttons or another cookie recipes that mom would make later in the New Year. Sometimes, that tin would hold a cake as well. You could always find them stored in the basement in the deep freezer.
You know the tin I’m talking about, right? It was the vibrant purplish-blue round tin with the gold accents. The brand was Royal Dansk Danish Butter Cookies. There were pictures on the lid of the various shortbread cookies (butter cookies) inside, and this lovely image of what looked to be an English Countryside manner. Every time we go shopping for antiques, I see these tins everywhere.
I know those were in fact shortbread cookies, but they were the only cookies I knew to be cookie cutter cookies as a child. In my adult years, I took to making my own cookie cutter cookies, not only at Christmastime, but throughout the year, whenever the mood hits me. In some instances, I will colour the cookie dough with food colouring to create a festive cookie to fit a particular occasion.
As much as we all love the simplicity of a good cookie cutter cookie, at times, they can seem rather dull and unimaginative. That is why I like to add a few ingredients or steps to my cookie cutter cookies to make them a little more special. In this particular case, all I’m doing is employing the use of my moose and squirrel cookie cutters and a little bit of help from some homemade royal icing.
Of course you can use whatever cookie cutter you prefer. But, just keep in mind that depending on the size of the cookie cutter you use, you may end up with less or more cookies, again, depending on how much cookie dough is needed to fill your cookie cutter shape.
When you get to the point of decorating the cookie cutter cookies with the royal icing, you can use whatever colour you want. If you’re using a liquid food colouring, please be careful – the liquid colouring will offset the consistency of the royal icing and maybe make it a little too runny.
To avoid this, try using only a gel type food colouring, or if you only have access to a liquid type, then hold back on 1/2 a teaspoon of the milk in the recipe for the royal icing. If you need the milk, add it at the end.
To be completely honest, you don’t really need to bother with the royal icing at all. With the little amount you’re using, it will not change the taste of the cookie all that much. However, I did mention at the beginning of this post that cookie cutter cookies are a great way to add a little extra glam and festivity to an otherwise simple and rustic cookie recipe.
Since Crispy Chocolate Cookie Cutter Cookies are basically butter, sugar, flour, and cocoa, it’s important to use a really good cocoa powder. I don’t mean good as in expensive, I mean good as in dark. A good, dark cocoa powder will give you deeper chocolate flavour, and since this is a chocolate cookie, that’s exactly what you want!
These cookies are crispy – like they will make crumbs and a snapping noise when you break them – and even though simple enough, can taste quite rich. If you love chocolate and cookie cutter cookies as much as I do, I’m sure you’re going to love this one as well.
Cut them any way you like – rounds, squares, rectangles, or even use festive cookie cutters like trees, snowflakes, or stars – and, of course, moose and squirrels! And, if by some chance cookie cutter cookies are not your thing, don’t fret, I’ll be back tomorrow with the fifth cookie recipe in Lord Byron’s 24 Cookies of Christmas series!
Lord Byron’s 24 Cookies of Christmas
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Crispy Chocolate Cookie Cutter Cookies
For the Cookies:
- 3/4 cup salted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup dark cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
For the Icing:
- 1 large egg white
- 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 teaspoons whole milk
- In a mixing bowl, use a hand-held mixer to beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat into the butter until well combined.
- Add the egg and the vanilla and beat into the butter mixture.
- Next, add the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder, and with the mixer on low speed, blend into the butter mixture just until the flour is incorporated.
- Divide the cookie dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Remove the cookie dough from fridge and roll dough a 1/4 inch thick between two sheets of parchment paper. Cut out desired shapes.
- Transfer cookies to prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a full 10 minutes of the baking sheet before transferring to wire cooling rack. DO NOT REMOVE THE COOKIES FROM THE BAKING SHEET UNTIL A FULL 10 MINUTES HAS PASSED.
- Roll out the rest of the dough and start again. Repeat until all dough has been used.
- When the cookies are completely cooled, prepare the royal icing by beating all ingredients together until the icing is smooth and glossy.
- Transfer icing to a piping bag fitted with a writing tip and slowly outline the shape of the cookie.
- Allow the icing to harden before stacking. Can be left on the counter top in a food safe container for 5-7 days.
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