Dust off your rolling pin and try to remember where you tucked away the cookie cutters. It's time to start cutting stars, bells, trees and Santas out of sugar cookie dough.
I agree that roll-out cookies are a picturesque tradition that's great for kids, but I am also brave enough to admit that they are a big hassle for not much flavor: make the dough, refrigerate it, roll it, cut out the shapes, bake and then frost or add sprinkles.
Each December, I remember being dissatisfied with last year's cut outs and ready for a new approach. I've tried making the dough in the food processor. I've added some spices or more vanilla or really good butter to pull more flavor out of the cookies. I've tried rolling the dough between plastic wrap and wax paper.
I can't get the vision out of my head: my two-tier glass cake stand decked with little handmade cookies decorated with sprinkles and those little silver dragees.
Today, I plan to sneak out of the office holiday party early to make "Grandma's All-Occasion Sugar Cookies" from Dorrie Greenspan's new book Baking: From My Home to Yours (Amazon.com, $24). The recipe says, "If you want to make roll-out cookies, shape each half into a disk and wrap in plastic." Then, after refrigeration, "roll out the dough between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper to a thickness of 1/4 inch." Scary stuff.
Any tips on rolling out the dough to get pretty cutouts? Do cookie presses really work? Are you planning to make roll out cookies this year? Let us know in this poll.