Updated January 3, 2019: I made the dough to bring over to Randi’s house, and kids cut out the shapes and decorated the cookies. So much fun! (Noah is 10, Ezra is 8, and Hannah is 3). Now, I made only half a recipe, but I still used 1 egg, and the cookies were perfect! It’s hard to describe the bliss I felt during my time with the kids doing this activity!
This is my favorite recipe for buttery, sugary cut out Chanukah cookies. When my son Benji was going to Hebrew School, he made these cookies in his class. I got the recipe from his Hebrew school teacher. I loved and still love making these cookies with my three children. It was actually one of the few recipes I enouraged them to help me with. I sometimes let my children roll the dough out and cut out the shapes with the Chanukah cookie cutters. Then I always let them decorate the cookies. They really went to town decorating their cookies with different colored sugar. When the cookies came out of the oven, they each kept their own cookies. It was so cute. Their favorite shapes were the menorah, the dreidle, and the Jewish star. The sad thing for me today was that I made a batch of these cookies all by myself. It just wasn’t the same. I still have one third of the dough left, and I’m planning on forcing my son Danny, who is 22 years old and still lives with me, to make that last batch of cookies with me, and I will absolutely insist that he decorate the cookies too.
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter or margarine (I use Fleischmann’s salted margarine) at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar (on 12/2011 I reduced the sugar to 2/3 cup which turned out great)
1 extra large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon Kosher salt (if using unsalted butter which as of 12/2011 is my preference)
1 teaspoon baking powder
Variety of different colored sugar (I use blue, pink, green, red, and yellow)
In bowl of food processor with metal blade or mixer with paddle attachment, cream margarine or butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and mix. Add the flour, and sprinkle the baking powder and salt right over the flour. Pulse until mixture comes together as a ball. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured board or piece of wax paper. Turn it a few times and flatten slightly. Cut it into 3 equal sections. Wrap each section in plastic wrap or wax paper, and refrigerate at least one hour.
Take one piece of dough out or refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle a little flour on a sheet of wax paper. Sprinkle some flour on top of the flour. Roll out 1/4 inch thick. Cut out shapes. Transfer the cut out shapes onto the cookie sheet. Reroll the leftover scraps and cut out additional shapes. Transfer to the cookie sheet. Then sprinkle the cookies with the sugar to your liking. Bake for about 10 minutes until the cookies just start to brown around the edges. Cool on a wire rack.
Repeat process with rest of dough. You can keep the dough in the refrigerator for up to a week.