Christmas Cookies

Years ago, every time we would go to Texas to visit family, my mother-in-law made sure to welcome us with these amazing decorated sugar cookies.  It was usually in the summer time, so they would be cut outs of beach balls, umbrellas and even the cutest flip flops.  They were bright and colorful, perfectly shaped and decorated…and delicious!  They came from a lady at a bakery in town, and we looked forward to them.  But, there came a time when that sweet miracle worker of a baker was no longer at the store, or decided to quit making them…not sure of the story…but all I knew was that delicious treat would no longer be a part of our lives.  It was devastating for the family.  Ha!  But really.  I was determined that I would do my best to recreate them.  That’s how important they were.  So I tried recipe after recipe…mixing, baking, eating…on and on…until finally one day…AHHHH…this is as close as it gets!  Not only did I have to make sure they were the right texture to hold their shape in baking, but I needed to make that beautiful glossy cookie icing that hardens perfectly.  Woo Hoo… So now, we make them every Christmas.  Because, you have to have decorated sugar cookies at Christmas, right?!  So, I happily add these yummy treats to my “Twelve Weeks of Holidays” series.

After mixing everything, roll up and refrigerate…

After 30 minutes, cut ball in half, place between 2 pieces of parchment and roll to 1/4 in.  Then cut!  Repeat with other half of dough.  Place in freezer for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, mix and color your frosting.  Leave some white, as well.

Just use a small spreader to ice the cookies.  Decorate and enjoy!


  • 2 1/3 cups, plus 2 T all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 2 egg whites, or substitute 2 tsp. meringue powder and 2 T water for each egg white
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 T milk
  • 1 lb. powdered sugar
  • assorted gel colors for tinting the icing

This makes a lot of icing, so feel free to cut this in half


In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking powder.  Set aside.  In bowl of stand mixer, combine slightly softened butter and sugar and beat on medium until fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined.  Add flour mixture in 2 batches.  Scrape down sides of bowl after each addition.  Beat until it just comes together and be careful not to over mix.  Form the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  I then cut the ball in half after the refrigeration time, and place in between two pieces of parchment paper.  Roll out to a 1/4 in. thickness and cut into desired shapes.  Repeat with other half of dough.  Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment and freeze for at least 15 minutes.  This is important so that the cookies will maintain their shape during baking.  Bake the cookies at 350 for 12 minutes.  Let cookies cool completely and decorate as desired.  After 24 hours, the frosting will be stable enough to carefully stack cookies if needed.

Author: Debbie Nance

I am a working wife and mom, and I live with my family near Charlotte, NC. I am originally from Texas and have lived in a number of states in the southeast due to my job in radio. It sometimes requires moving to chase the dream. My husband and I have been married since 1994 and we host a country music radio show together. I am passionate about cooking and, I spend most of my time watching the Food Network, reading about food and testing new recipes.

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