DIY slice-and-bake cookies are a fun weekend project for you and the kiddos.
1. Prepare a batch of homemade sugar-cookie dough. (FamilyFun recipe below.) Roll half the dough out to 1/2-inch thick and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Evenly mix 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa into the remaining dough. Refrigerate.
2. Use a 2-inch star cookie cutter to cut cookies from the plain dough. Stack them on a sheet of plastic wrap, lining up the edges; the stack should be about 5 inches tall. Reroll the scraps and cut more cookies for a second stack. Wrap the stacks in the plastic and refrigerate (standing up) until firm, about 45 minutes.
3. Divide the chocolate dough in half, then divide each half into 16 to 18 equal pieces (so you have 32 to 36 pieces total). Roll each piece between your hands or on the counter to make a 5 1/2- to 6-inch log.
4. Working quickly, cover one stack with half the chocolate logs, filling in the crevices first and then adding more to completely cover. Pinch the logs together as you add them.
5. Roll the finished log on a piece of parchment to even it out (taking care to use gentle pressure), then wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 1 hour. Repeat with second stack.
6. Slice the chilled logs into 10 to 12 cookies each, and arrange on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes, or until the cookies are just set and slightly puffed. Let cool. Makes: about 24 cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Large pinch salt
— Make It
1. Combine butter, cream cheese, and sugar in a large bowl, and cream with an electric mixer for several minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.
2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture until just combined.
3. Divide the dough into 2 balls. Place each between two pieces of parchment (to prevent sticking) and roll out to about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer dough to cookie sheets on the parchment; refrigerate 30 minutes.
4. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Use cookie cutters to cut shapes, pulling away the scraps to avoid moving and distorting the cookies. If the dough gets too soft to work with, refrigerate it for 15 to 30 minutes. Reroll scraps between sheets of parchment for more cookies.
5. Bake 7 to 10 minutes, or until the cookies just start to color at the bottom edges. Let cool for 5 minutes on the sheet, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.