Serious Cookies: Perfect Cutout Cookies

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With only weeks left until the holidays, it's time to break out those rusty cookie cutters—Santa and his metal reindeer have been languishing in your kitchen drawer for far too long.

Every snowflake- or stocking-shape cookie starts with a dry, rolled dough, almost like pie crust in texture and consistency. Once shaped and baked, a cutout cookie should be thin and crisp but not so delicate that it can't withstand decorating. Every day this week, we'll be posting a fail-proof recipe for a shapeable cookie, from classic shortbread and gingerbread to raspberry-sandwiched Linzer cookies.

Even if you don't have the luxury of boundless counter space, you can still make these doughs work for you. Simply roll the dough into a log about 2 inches in diameter and chill it in the refrigerator until it's quite hard. (For a pretty variation, try rolling the log in chopped nuts prior to chilling.) Just before baking, slice into 1/8- to 1/4-inch-thick rounds.

The Lineup, So Far

Gingerbread Roll-Out Cookies

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