Saturday, October 29, 2016

Totoro Family Recipes: Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs

For as long as I can remember, I have loved the idea of decorated sugar cookies: the variety of shapes, the colorful icing, and the whimsical decorative elements.

And every year since the kids were old enough to help me in the kitchen, circa 1992, I have made a batch of holiday cookies. I've tried a variety of recipes (although the one in this cookbook is the current favorite), watched numerous YouTube tutorials, and performed LOTS of culinary experiments. Somehow... my cookies never quite measure up to the gorgeous creations on the Food Network Channel.

My cookies don't measure up BUT... my girls create masterpieces.

It is now a Totoro tradition to schedule one baking day before December 25th. It is a bit difficult with one daughter living in Nashville, but we make it a priority.

I pre-bake the cookies and freeze them until the designated day.

I laden down two lazy Susans with a variety of necessary supplies. One holds the various colors of detail icing (along with paint brushes and toothpicks for proper application) and the other is covered with bottles of decorative sprinkles in every imaginable color, along with festive candy shapes.

I make a triple batch of royal icing and then divide that in half. Thicker icing is placed in piping bags.  I typically have 5-6 different colors: white, red, green, yellow, black (snowman hat), and blue (snowflakes). I thin the remaining icing, divide into six squeeze bottles using the same dye colors, and we use that as a smooth icing base.

We spend an entire afternoon decorating, talking, and singing Christmas carols. And it is fun to now include my granddaughter and daughter-in-law in this long-standing tradition.


  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Set aside.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add egg and vanilla and mix until well blended.
  4. With mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until the two are thoroughly blended.
  5. Turn the dough onto a work surface and divide into two or three equal portions. Form each into a disk.
  6. For each disk... place on a piece of wax paper then cover the top with another piece of waxed paper. Roll dough to about a 1/2 inch thickness. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  7. When ready to bake... remove disk from refrigerator, remove top piece of waxed paper, and cut into desired shapes (try to get as many cookies as possible from each rolled out piece of dough).
  8. Transfer cookies to parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  9. When you've cut as many cookies as possible from all the rolled dough, gather the dough scraps into a ball and roll again, using the same waxed paper method. Continue to cut cookies and re-roll the dough until you've used all the dough.
  10. Bake cookies at 350 degree for approximately 12-15 minutes, or until cookies start to turn a deeper brown around the edges.
  11. Cool cookies completely before decorating.
For icing: I use the recipes included with the can of Wilton meringue powder.

It is my dream to have decorative sugar cookies available for every holiday
throughout the year. For now, however, this remains a Christmas tradition

This post is part of BethFishRead's Weekend Cooking Link Up. For more delicious recipes, please visit her weekly blog feature.



  1. Pretty cookies! Wish they were for Halloween.

    best... mae at

    1. I have loads of fall and halloween cutters, Mae... I just never make the time to bake and decorate cookies this time of year :(

  2. What a fantastic tradition! And your cookies are gorgeous. I always seem to run out of time and energy when it comes to rolled and cut Christmas cookies. Maybe I should change my ways.

    1. It does take a lot of time and energy! I think that's one of the reasons why we enjoy the cookie decorating party - many hands make light work :)

  3. You have a wonderful tradition, and opportunity for family to get together. I've not done this type of Christmas cookie for way to long.

    1. We do have a lot of fun and I am very grateful :)

  4. I love cookie baking traditions like yours. I'm amazed at the picture of the finished product. You guys have a high level of artistry there. I'd have a hard time eating such perfection.

    1. The girls are far more creative than their mother :)

  5. Your cookies look good enough for the Food Network to me. That's a really nice tradition with your daughters! You are early this year for holiday cookies, right?


Related Posts with Thumbnails