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Holiday Cookie Cutouts
“There is no need to wait for December to enjoy crisp sugar cookies in fanciful shapes. Capture the spirit of fall by baking maple leaf- or pumpkin-shaped cookies. And when the festive season arrives, have fun with holiday shapes like stars and wreaths. Use the Cinnamon-Sugar Topping for crisp cookies that make perfect teatime treats or finish with Decorator Icing for more elaborate cookies (see Cookie-Decorating Tips, below).”
1⅔ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup low-fat firm silken tofu, (see Ingredient note)
1 large egg
1 cup sugar
¼ cup canola oil
1 tablespoon butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Cinnamon-Sugar Topping, or Decorator Icing (recipes follow)
1Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
2Puree tofu in a food processor. Add egg, sugar, oil, butter and vanilla; process until smooth, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides. Add the dry ingredients and pulse several times just until dough clumps together.
3Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead several times. Divide in half and press each piece into a disk. Dust disks with flour and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
4Preheat oven to 350°F. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper or coat with cooking spray.
5Working with one piece at a time, on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough slightly less than ¼-inch thick. Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter. Gather scraps and re-roll. Place cookies about ½-inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. If using Cinnamon-Sugar Topping, add it now.
6Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, until light golden around the edges, 12 to 16 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely.
7If using Decorator Icing, decorate cookies as desired. Let stand until frosting has set, 30 to 45 minutes.
Make Ahead Tip: The cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Choose silken-style tofu, available in most supermarkets, rather than regular tofu for this recipe. It has a custard-like texture, which is suitable for pureeing.
• To tint icing: Place small quantities of icing in several small bowls. Add a little food coloring to each one and mix well. You will obtain the most vivid colors if you use paste food colors, which are available at craft stores and cake-decorating shops.
• To make a piped design:
If icing seems too stiff, thin with a few drops of water. Spoon icing into a pastry bag fitted with a fine writing tip or a paper piping cone. (To make a paper piping cone, cut a piece of parchment or wax paper into a 15x12x8-inch triangle. Starting at the short corner, wrap the triangle up along the long side to make a tight cone. Fold the tip into the cone to secure it. Spoon icing into cone, close the top of the cone and fold edges over to seal. Cut a small opening in the tip.) To outline a cookie for accent, pipe a continuous line or a series of connected dots around it.
• To paint cookies: Thin icing with water until it is the consistency of heavy cream. Using a