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Best Cut out Christmas Cookies

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between 8 and 12 dozen, depending on size

 

3 cups unsalted butter, softened at room temperature for an hour
3 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
6 ounces cream cheese (3/4 of a standard cream cheese package)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons lemon zest
9 cups flour
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and add the sugar. Cream until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until golden. Add the cream cheese and again beat until well incorporated. Add the flavorings and lemon zest.

Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl then add, bit by bit, to the butter/sugar mixture until fully incorporated. (You will have chosen a large bowl for this particular recipe, I hope – mine was overflowing by this point and I ended up doing the final mix in a large plastic bag.)

 

Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour — preferably overnight.

Heat the oven to 350° F. Divide the dough into smaller balls and roll out 1/4 to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out cookies.

Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes, depending on thickness. The small, thinner ones started browning after about 8 minutes, and I didn’t want these brown at all. The larger ones had a slight golden bottom after 11 minutes, which was perfect for my purposes.

Let cool before icing or decorating, and store in a tightly covered container.

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