Weather: 12 degrees, blue skies after last night’s snow storm
What I’m listening to: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, Echosmith
Every December, I turn on the holiday music, pull out this recipe, and bake up a batch of cut-out Christmas cookies with frosting. I first posted this recipe as two recipes (one for the cookies and another for the frosting) in my first few months as a food blogger five years ago. I posted them then because these cookies are one of my reliable classic recipes to which I return again and again, year after year, without even considering other options. They are a family favorite, a Christmas must-have around our home. They are very worthy of being revisited and reposted as one complete recipe with brand new photos.
After five+ years as Alaska from Scratch, you all probably know me well enough to know that I don’t like things to be fussy. I particularly don’t like things to be fussy around the holidays. There are memories to be made, presents to be wrapped, photos to be taken, eggnog to be drunk, and lots and lots of baking and treat-making to be done. The last thing I want in the midst of all of the festivities is a cookie recipe that has to be chilled for several hours or dough that sticks to my rolling pin or breaks apart when handled. This is my go-to, fail-proof recipe. The thing that sets it apart is the powdered sugar in the dough in lieu of granulated sugar. Powdered sugar helps the dough become beautifully pliable and the cookies, when baked, to be perfectly tender.
Although I’m not a fan of fussy, I am absolutely a fan of yummy and delicious. I don’t like to skimp on flavor in favor of ease. I’ve included almond and vanilla extracts in both the cookie dough and the frosting recipe to give these buttery beauties that extra something special, worthy of the season. Feel free to divide up the frosting recipe and use food coloring for decorating. My preference has always been white almondy frosting with holiday sprinkles.
Frosted Christmas Cookies
Yields: About 2 dozen cookies
- For Cookies:
- 1 cup butter, slightly softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2-1/2 cups flour
- For Frosting:
- 1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup half and half
- sprinkles, optional
To make the cookies:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Cream butter and powdered sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the de and the extracts, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed until everything is combined. Gradually add the flour and salt. Beat the dough until it comes together.
Turn dough out onto a floured work surface and roll dough to a 1/4 inch thickness. *There is no leavening in this recipe (to maintain shape and detail from the cookie cutter), so the thickness will remain about the same after baking. Be careful not to roll too thin. Cut with cookie cutters and carefully transfer to baking sheets.
Bake for 8 minutes, or until set but not browned. Allow to cool 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Frost when cool.
To make the frosting:
Cream butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. On low speed, gradually add the powdered sugar sugar. Add the almond and vanilla extracts and half and half gradually. Beat the frosting until fluffy and smooth. (Add food coloring here, if using).
Spread or pipe the frosting onto cooled cookies. Add sprinkles, as desired. Store cookies in a single layer in a covered container at room temperature.