In need of some instant warm & fuzzies? Holiday cookies can fill your belly with sweet creamy deliciousness and rev up your holiday spirit. This Christmas sugar cookie recipe has been put to the test, and guess what? It’s the absolute best.
Best Christmas Sugar Cookie Recipe
I baked sugar cookies with my mom all throughout my childhood.. With each season or holiday would come a new excuse to spend quality time together whipping up a new batch of sugary buttery wonderfulness — and each season/holiday would inspire new decoration ideas.
Christmas and the winter holiday season in general were, of course, not complete without a mother-daughter cookie session. Over the years we learned that the perfect Christmas sugar cookie recipe should not only taste magical, but also freeze well and produce dough that maintained its shape when baking (making decorating easier and ultimately prettier).
This sugar cookie recipe borrowed from Make Bake Celebrate has it all: they’re soft, keep their shape when baked, and are oh-so-tasty! Read on for step-by-step directions on how to make your own amazing sugar cookies.
This recipe should make enough dough for 18-24 cookies. However, this number will vary depending on how thick you roll your cookies, the size of your cookie cutter and/or decoration and design. It’s best made using an electric mixer- like this one– but can be done entirely by hand.
BUT FIRST… WATCH THIS:
Christmas sugar cookie recipe ingredients :
- 3 cups flour (do not firmly pack)
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Prep! Before you start baking, let your butter and egg sit on your counter, but you don’t want to over soften the butter. But just in case you forget, just chop it up into little pieces and never heat it in the microwave.
Step 1: Whisk
Whisk the baking powder and flour together.
Step 2: Use your mixer
Using your mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Once it’s mixed, you can now add the egg. Mix again and lastly, add the vanilla.
Step 3: Add the flour mixture
Now that you have that done, you can now add your flour mixture about a cup at a time. Mix it until it clumps together into a dough.
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Step 4: Make the dough and knead
Knead the dough with your hands until it’s nice and smooth. Roll it, then wrap it up with cling or plastic wrap then store in your fridge to chill for about 20 minutes or so. It should be firm but not hard.
In case it gets too hard, just let it sit or you can also knead it a tad with your hands to help soften it up. To speed up to process further, break it in two and knead each ball until they soften.
Step 5: Preheat oven
Now time to preheat the oven. It should be in 350 degrees. Grab a large cookie sheet then line it with parchment paper or you can alternatively use baking mats too.
Step 6: Roll out the dough
Roll out the dough. Toni of Make Bake Celebrate says she likes to do so in between a lightly flour-dusted sheet of parchment paper (on the bottom) and wax paper (on the top). However, you can definitely use two sheets of wax paper or parchment paper if you prefer — or if that’s all you have. Rolling the dough between the papers keeps the dough very smooth, preventing marks from the rolling pin (and not sticking to it either!). The reason Toni uses one of each is “I like the flexibility of the wax paper on top and I like the parchment paper on the bottom because it’s heavier, and if I am cutting a difficult shape I can bake right on the paper that it was cut on after removing excess dough.” Check out these colorful textured patterned rolling pins to add some flare to your cookies!
The wax paper can wrinkle and leave marks on the dough. Toni says that when she first lays her ball of dough down, she uses her hands to push it flat. Then she lays her wax paper over it, and uses her rolling pin to roll it out smooth.
Step 7: Cut out the cookies!
Now for the fun part: Cut out your cookies! Once the dough is rolled out, you can use cookie cutters to cut out the shapes. If the cookies are sticking in the cutter, you can lightly dust it with flour to help. The cookies will usually stay right in the dough where you cut them. Once you’re done cutting all the cookies, tear away the excess dough. Then you can gently lift the cookies by pulling up the edge of the parchment paper and gently transferring the cookie from the paper to your lined baking sheet by hand. Another way of doing this is simply cutting the shapes out on the same surface they will bake. Just remove the excess dough from each shape and bake right on the sheet. This keeps the cookies from stretching, but it limits the amount of dough you can use the first round. And the fewer times a dough has been rolled the better. So unless you’re cutting a really delicate cookie, it’s usually best to carefully transfer them.
If you want to cut cute shapes all you’ll need is the cookie cutters of your choosing!
Step 8: Freeze cookies
Now place the cookie sheet (with cut out cookies) into the freezer for about 2-4 minutes, depending on the size. This helps the cookies keep their shape. Once they have chilled for a few minutes, pop them in the oven. Baking times really really depend on size of cookie. The cookies pictured were about 2.5 inches and baked perfectly at 7 minutes. Turn your oven light on and set the timer for six minutes. Check them at six minutes, and proceed to add a minute or two as needed. If you like your cookies super soft, pull them out right when you notice the very “moist look” of the dough is gone on top or if you notice the bottom turning golden brown at all. Toni says she’s a “burn-a-phob” causing her to yank them out of the oven when they’re just baked.
Step 9: Warm the pan
After removing them from the oven, let them sit in the warm pan for a minute or two. This gives them a minute to firm up and bake a tiny bit more. Then carefully grab the edges of the parchment paper and slide them off, parchment paper and all, onto wire cooling racks. It helps a ton to pull them off while they’re still on the parchment paper. Using a spatula can squish or even break them.
Step 10: Stack them up
Once the cookies are cool, you can use a spatula and gently stack them before you bake more.
According to Toni, “Once you’ve got this process down, it won’t seem complicated at all. Those extra steps are completely routine for me now. It’s important to get a ‘groove’ down if you’re baking lots and lots of them. This past week I baked over 12 dozen sugar cookies. When doing this many, I bake while the kiddos are sleeping of course and I find a rhythm. When the timer on the oven hits two minutes, I would pop the next tray of cookies in the freezer. Then when the time went off, I would pull the baked cookies out, let them sit on the stove a minute to firm up, pull the cookies out of the freezer, place them in the over, reset the timer, arrange the previously cooled cookies on the cooling rack to make more room, pull the hot cookies off the pan and onto the cooling rack…..then I would go back to rolling out cookies and placing them on cookie sheets. Until the timer hit two minutes…then I would start the process again.
“It might seem a little crazy to read, but it’s really not that complicated. Soon you’ll be cranking out beautiful perfectly shaped sugar cookies. This time around every single cookie in my 12 dozen turned out [perfectly]. No over baking, no breaks, not even a kind of misshapen one. My husband, quality control, was devastated. Poor guy. You should have seen his face when he learned they were all going straight to the freezer…oh man.”
Want to decorate those Christmas sugar cookies? Then watch this tutorial from Haniela’s:
Making sugar cookies for Christmas is such a fun and rewarding experience. It’s a great activity to do with the kids so grab those aprons and start baking. And if you want other ideas on how to decorate them, get ideas more here!
Are you going to try this recipe out? Let me know how it went in the comments below!