Sunday, December 16, 2012

Star Cookies

Here's a cookie so pretty you'll want to hang it on your tree. I call them star cookies but to tell the truth they didn't always go by that name. They started out as cut out cookies and we made them every Christmas in every imaginable shape and decorated them with royal icing. I'm talking to you bears-in-bating-suits! Then someone got the bright idea to use a heart shaped cutter and fill them with jam. And later we cut a smaller heart out of the top cookie and voila, the rest is history. Along the way I've also done a lemon curd filling as well as a version of the Girl Scout classic with caramel, chocolate and toasted coconut.

This dough is very sturdy but tender and not too sweet so it can take all that jam and confectioners sugar no problem. The tricky part is getting the dough even when you roll it so all the cookies are the same thickness. Once you do your first roll and cut the cookies out, you can roll the scraps two more times. It does tend to get too tough if you roll it out anymore than that however, so try and cut out as much as you can from the first rolling so you don't end up with lots of scraps to begin with. 

I've given the ingredients for a large batch of the dough which makes about 5 dozen sandwich cookies. If you don't want that many, wrap up the unused portion and store in the fridge, it'll keep for 4 or 5 days or freeze half the dough. Also you could cut the recipe in half, I won't think any less of you. But I recommend  making it all and freezing. Considering all the possibilities this dough has to offer it's not a bad thing to have on hand.

star cookies

1 pound of butter
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cream cheese
2 cups white sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups white all purpose flour (plus more for rolling)
1 cup raspberry preserves (more or less)
confectioners' sugar for the tops

Cream butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer to combine. Add sugar and beat on medium until light and fluffy, About 2 or 3 minutes. Scrape down your bowl. Add yolk and vanilla extract and beat just to blend in. Add flour in a couple of additions, beating on a low speed just until incorporated and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. 

Divide dough in two equal portions and form into a disk shape about 5 or 6 inches across. Wrap tightly and chill in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight. Remember you could also store one pack in the freezer for later use.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Once the dough is thoroughly chilled remove it from the fridge and let is soften up until it's still firm but pliable enough to roll. You may want to cut it in half and roll one piece at a time. Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface until it's about 1/8 inch thick. Check to make sure you have enough flour under your dough otherwise it will stick and give you a struggle when it comes time to cut out your stars. But don't overdo it, too much flour and the cookies will be tough!

Cut out your stars and place them on a cookie tray lined with parchment, leaving about one inch between each cookie. Repeat until all the dough is rolled. Make sure to cut out half of the cookies with a circle or star shape as these will be tops.

Bake for 6 to 7 minutes, spin the trays and bake an additional 6 to 7 or until cookies are  very lightly brown around the points of the stars. Once all the cookies are baked and cooled you can start filling.  Take all the tops and put them as close together as you can on a cookie tray. Give them a good, even dusting and set them aside while you fill the bottoms. 

Spread each cookie with about 1 teaspoon of preserves. Once all the cookies are filled, carefully top them with the sugar dusted ones. Makes roughly 5 dozen cookies. 

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  1. Wow, these are perfect! I love the sound of the chocolate, caramel, coconut version too!!

  2. Oops, thanks for spotting that Marlies! Just corrected it. You add the cream cheese with the butter at the start.