It’s already December 1st. The last month of the year.
This year went by in a blur. But ’tis the season for cookies! Truth to be told, I’m not much of a cookie person. If I had a choice of cake versus cookie, cake would win each time.
But there’s an exception. Christmas cookies.
What constitutes a “Christmas cookie?” In my books, it’s any cookie that suddenly makes an appearance in front of me between November 25 – January 5. So arbitrary, yes?
Pistachio and chocolate biscotti and dark gingerbread are usual suspects that appear around my house, but there’s a cookie that has been showing up to the Christmas cookie marathon for the last few years…
Though not a classic in my house. Growing up, my mom seldom made “Western” cookies.
I know, what a deprived childhood! Just joking. I was blessed with getting to eat “exotic” Asian-style cookies and “kuehs” instead.
Back to the cookies. I remember eating my first sugar cookie, which was made my roommate back in University. It was one of the Loftstyle-ones, slightly puffy, light, sweet, and drenched with pastel icing. Wow, those were addicting, but couldn’t keep for long.
These sugar cookies are just as good, but with the added bonus of them being a lot more sturdier, meaning that they can last a little longer, and can even be packaged up and sent to family and friends far away.
A classic sugar cookie, crunchy on the exterior with a sweet and slight chew in the middle, scented with vanilla flavour.
But for Christmas, I wanted to pass on some new cookie traditions to my kids, and so our “new classic” Sugar Cookie is one of the cookies in the repertoire.
The kids can help me roll, cut, and ice them, which is the most fun part! And that’s the spirit of the holidays — making memories with family!
And if you’re looking for other festive recipes, check out my Coconut Almond Snowballs that are a healthy treat for the holidays.
I hope you get to make your own festive holiday memories with this simple and delicious Christmas sugar cookie recipe.
Let me know if you try out this recipe — tag me on Instagram @siftandsimmer or leave me a comment/rating below!
- 1 C all-purpose flour
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ½ stick butter room temperature
- 1 egg
Small Batch Royal Icing:
- 1 C icing sugar sifted
- 1 Tbsp meringue powder
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract optional
- ~¼ C water
Make the Sugar Cookies:
- 1-2 hours before making the cookie dough, bring the butter to room temperature to let it soften.
- Sift flour, salt, and baking powder into a medium glass bowl. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer bowl, add the butter and sugar and cream until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg and vanilla extract to the butter and sugar mixture. Beat until combined.
- Lower the speed of the mixer and gradually add in the flour. Mix until incorporated.
- Remove dough from the mixer and divide into two equal portions. Flatten each portion into a disc. Wrap each disc with plastic wrap and place into the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 325F.
- Remove the sugar cookie dough disc from the refrigerator. Let it stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- On a large piece of parchment paper, place the cookie dough onto it and roll out the dough to about ⅛" thickness. Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter.
- Carefully transfer the cut out cookies with a spatula onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Reroll scraps of dough and repeat until all the dough has been used up.
- Place into the oven and bake for about 12 minutes, until the edges are lightly golden. Rotate the pan halfway through. Let cool.
- Transfer cookies to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Once completely cool, ice the sugar cookies with royal icing.
Make the Royal Icing:
- This recipe will make 2 types of icing: 1st is a thicker icing for piping around the exterior of the cookie. The 2nd is a thinner icing that will be used to flood the inside of the cookie.
- In a clean mixing bowl, free from any grease, add to it icing sugar, meringue powder, and vanilla extract.
- Turn the mixer on low and gradually add in water 1 Tbsp at a time, until a thick paste forms. Add a little more water to keep it moist. Increase mixer speed and keep beating for about 7-8 minutes until it becomes fluffy.
- If the icing is too thick, continue to add a little more water at a time, until it is thick enough to draw a figure 8 in the bowl. (It should keep its shape).
- If the icing appears too thin, add a little more icing sugar to thicken.
- Take about half of this first icing and place it into a piping bag with a thin tip.
- With the second half, place a damp towel over and cover it with a plate until you're ready to use it.
- Decorate the cookies by piping a border around the edges of the cookie using the "thicker" icing.
- When you've completed piping the borders, add any leftover icing into the reserved second half and add a little more water to it. This will thin out the icing and make it more runny. Be careful not to make it too runny or else it will spread over the borders of your cookies.
- Fill a clean squeeze bottle with this 2nd "flooding" icing and fill in the cookies. Be sure not to overfill the cookies and use a toothpick to smooth out any imperfections and pop any bubbles.
- Add sprinkles to the cookies (if desired).
- Allow cookies to air dry for at least 6 hours.
- Place completed sugar cookies in an airtight container and enjoy for up to 2 weeks. Cookies may be frozen as well for up to 1 month.