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How to make Christmas cookies

How to make Christmas cookies

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Give your Christmas cookies a bit of extra sparkle by creating a magical stained glass effect using boiled sweets.

Alternative Christmas baking ideas

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Chocolate & chestnut yule log

A festive crowd pleaser

This is a great alternative to Christmas pudding on the big day, or even as a little treat for any guests the night before.

These beautiful biccies make lovely edible gifts for Secret Santa, plus they look stunning hanging on the Christmas tree. The simple method is also a good one for keeping little ones busy over the holidays.


You’ll need:

1 clementine
100g unsalted butter (cold)
180g plain flour
50g caster sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon milk
12 coloured fruity boiled sweets

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4, and line two baking sheets with baking paper.
  2. Finely grate the clementine zest. Cube up the butter then place in a mixing bowl with the flour, sugar, clementine zest and cinnamon.
  3. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the mix until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  4. Add the milk and bring together to make a soft dough. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and place it in the fridge to firm up for about 30 minutes.
  5. Separate the sweets into colours and place in separate sandwich bags. Press the air out and seal the bags, then carefully crush into small pieces with a rolling pin.
  6. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface, and roll out to 1cm thick.
  7. Use a selection of large cutters to cut out your shapes and place on the lined baking sheets, then use the smaller cutters to cut a ‘window’ in the centre of each biscuit.
  8. Sprinkle enough crushed sweets to fill the centre hole (don’t overfill, or the sweets will melt over the biscuit) then use a cocktail stick to make a hole in the top of each biscuit, so you can thread a ribbon through them later. (You can re-roll any dough trimmings to make more biscuits, but you’ll need more sweets. You could also bake the cut-out centres and eat as a treat when decorating the tree!)
  9. Bake for 12 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden and the sweets have melted.
  10. Leave them to firm up, then transfer to a wire rack. Thread with ribbon and hang them on your tree.


If you want to get ahead before the Christmas rush, you can work up to step four, then freeze the biscuit dough. Either freeze in a ball and allow to defrost in the fridge before rolling out, or cut out your shapes and freeze (without the sweets) on a baking tray. Then, simply allow to defrost and add the sweets before baking.

The finished biscuits will keep well for about five days in an airtight container. Alternatively, they’ll last for a day on the tree. Why not hang them on your tree last thing on Christmas Eve and eat them as you unwrap presents the next morning?

Discover Jamie’s ultimate recipes for all the festive classics in Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook, on sale now. And take a look at our Christmas hub for ideas for everything from cocktails and edible gifts, to special-diet recipes and tasty leftovers.

How To Make The Best Christmas Cookie Tray

How was your Thanksgiving? Did you enjoy the biggest food day of the year? And if you’re not from the U.S., did you enjoy your weekend?

Now Thanksgiving is out of the way, time to focus on Christmas! Or if you celebrate another holiday, let’s focus on cookies.

Do other holidays even have cookie trays? Regardless, everyone loves cookies, right?

As a Pittsburgher, we love our cookie trays. So much we even have cookie tables at weddings.

It was only fitting to talk about How To Make The Best Christmas Cookie Tray where I’m sharing my top three tips for building the best cookie tray.

It’s probably ironic to talk about making the best Christmas cookie tray on a blog that focuses on small batch recipes, but hear me out.

Most cookie recipes focus on 1 dozen cookies, give or take a few.

If there’s one thing I noticed in my years of baking, it’s cookie recipes make a few dozen.

I wanted to scale them down, not only for you to make a small batch on a random Tuesday night, but also to make building a cookie tray more manageable.

Also the holidays are about seeing family and friends, so you won’t be alone eating these cookies.

And if you’re stuck with leftovers, they do freeze well.

Are you ready to get this cookie party started? The cookies you see in the photo starting from the top and going clockwise are:

Here are my three tips for making the best Christmas cookie tray:

1. Plan ahead.

The hardest part about making a holiday cookie tray is making all of the cookies at once.

In the cookie tray I shot above, I made 5 recipes, which is roughly 5 dozen cookies total, give or take a few. I certainly couldn’t do it all in one day.

Luckily all of the dough can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer until ready to bake.

Take a few days to make all of the dough. Once you’re ready to assemble, all you have to do is stick a few trays in the oven.

Don’t forget to give the cookies time to cool completely before serving.

2. Choose a variety of flavors.

As much as it pains me to say this, not everyone loves chocolate (gasp!). Nor does everyone love (or can even eat) peanut butter.

Try not to repeat too many flavors on the tray to help accommodate everyone. Some flavor ideas are:

  • Chocolate and/or chocolate chip, such as Chocolate Chip Snowball Cookies, Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownie Bites
  • Peanut butter, such as Peanut Butter Cookie Cups, Peanut Butter Gooey Butter Cookies, and Peanut Butter Molasses Cookies
  • Citrus, such as Lemon White Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Dipped Orange Shortbread Cookies, and Lemon Crinkle Cookies
  • Red velvet, such as Red Velvet Cut Out Cookies and Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars
  • Peppermint, such as Peppermint Mocha Brownie Cookies
  • Ginger, such as Gingersnap Cookies, Maple Gingersnap Cookies, and Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Spice, such as Snickerdoodles Without Cream of Tartar
  • Coconut, such as Brown Sugar Cinnamon Coconut Cookies and Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies

3. Include a variety of shapes, colors, and textures.

In addition to flavor, you want to think about presentation.

How boring would a cookie tray be if every cookie looked the same?

That’s why I included cookie cups, cut out cookies, drop cookies, and balls served in festive paper liners.

Here are some ideas for shapes:

  • Drop cookies, such as Lemon White Chocolate Chip, Gingersnap Cookies, Cheesecake Cookies, and Carrot Cake Drop Cookies
  • Balls, such as Chocolate Chip Snowball Cookies, Cherry Coconut Snowball Cookies and Lemon Snowball Cookies
  • Cookie cups, such as Peanut Butter Cookie Cups and Fudge Filled Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups
  • Cut out cookies, such as Red Velvet Cut Out Cookies and Chocolate Chip Cut Out Cookies
  • Cookie bars, such as Gingerbread Smores Cookie Bars and S’mores Cookie Crumb Bars
  • Frosted, such as Soft Chocolate Sugar Cookies and Soft Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
  • Thumbprints, such as Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies and Chocolate M&M Thumbprint Cookies

In addition to shape, think about color.

By default, there will be a lot of brown. Add sprinkles where they will stick, such as melted chocolate, frosting, or icing.

You can also add color to the dough, such as red velvet.

Even though this is technically called a cookie tray, you can add candy to change things up, including:

Can’t see everyone in person? Think about shipping cookies instead!

Check out my 8 tips for shipping cookies plus a recipe for Double Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies.

Got tips of your own? Want to share your family favorites? Comment below!

What You Will Need:


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Baking Tools and Equipment:

  • Mixer and mixing bowl
  • Baking pan
  • Cooling Rack
  • Rolling pin
  • Measuring cups
  • Cookie cutters of different Christmas-themed shapes
  • Cookie sheets
  • Strainer/sifter
  • Dough scraper
  • Cookie Spatula
  • Parchment paper

Recipe Notes:

  1. Before you start baking cookies, let your butter and egg sit on your counter and come to room temp, but you don’t want to over-soften the butter. In case you forgot, chop it up into little pieces to speed it up, but never heat it in the microwave.
  2. You want to absolutely use real butter and no margarine for me, please. Margarine melts faster in the oven. Also, preferably unsalted, so you can adjust the amount of salt you want to add.
  3. This Christmas sugar cookie recipe should make enough dough for 18-24 cookies. However, yield will vary depending on how thick you roll your cookies, the size of your cookie cutter and/or its design.
  4. This Christmas sugar cookie recipe is best made using an electric or stand mixer but can be done entirely by hand.


Step 1. Mix Dry Ingredients

To make this perfect sugar cookie recipe, we always start with the dry ingredients. Sift all purpose flour with the baking powder into the bowl, then set aside.

Step 2. Beat Butter and Sugar

Using your mixer, combine your butter and sugar. Once well-combined and fluffy, whisk in the egg. Mix again, adding vanilla.

Step 3. Add the Flour Mixture

Mix in your dry ingredients, pouring gradually into the mixing bowl.

Step 4. Make the Dough and Knead

Next, knead the dough with your hands until it’s nice and smooth. Roll it, then wrap it up with cling or plastic wrap.

Store in your fridge to chill for about 20 minutes or so. It should be firm but not hard, though.

In case it gets too hard, just let it sit out on the counter, or you can also knead it a tad with your hands to help soften it up. To further speed up the process, break it in two and knead each ball until they soften.

Step 5. Preheat Oven

Now time to preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grab a large cookie sheet, then line it with parchment paper. Alternatively, you can use silicone baking mats.

Step 6. Roll Out the Dough

Roll out the dough 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 wax paper can wrinkle and leave marks on the dough. When you lay the ball of dough down, use your hands to push it flat, then lay the wax paper over it and use your rolling pin to roll it out smooth.

Step 7. Cut Out the Cookies

Now for the fun part: Cut out your perfect sugar cookies! Once the dough is rolled out, you can use cookie cutters to cut out the shapes.

Tip: For Christmas sugar cookie recipes, use the classic Christmas shapes cookie cutters like Christmas tree, candy cane, Santa, and gingerbread.

If the cookies are sticking in the cutter, you can lightly dust it with flour. 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. 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

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’re chilled for a few minutes, pop them in the oven. Baking times really depend on the size of a 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.

Step 9. Warm the Baking 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.

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, you can squish or even break them.

Step 10. Stack Them Up

Once the sugar cookies cooled down, you can use a spatula and gently stack them before you bake more. You may add sugar cookie frosting to make these Christmas cookies even more festive!

Watch this video from Haniela’s and put your Christmas sugar cookie recipe to the next level with this soft sugar cookies with buttercream frosting tutorial:

Take on homemade Christmas cookie recipes these busy holidays. This way, you always have a comforting sweet treat ready for anyone dropping by, especially friends and family.

You can even give them away for gifts this holiday. We suspect your cookies might just be branded as the world’s best homemade cookies by pleased visiting friends and company, kids and adult alike!

Will you give this Christmas sugar cookie recipe a try this holiday? Let me know how it went in the comments section below!

Stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on November 14, 2018, and updated for quality and relevancy.


Can you use salted butter instead of the unsalted…I need a double batch but only have enough unsalted sticks for one batch…could do 1 stick salted and 1 unsalted .


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Zimtstern • Cinnamon Star Cookies

A cinnamon flavored nut cookie made without flour, so naturally gluten-free. Traditionally made at Christmas time in Switzerland, cut into star shapes.


For cookies

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 150g powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 350g ground almonds (or other nut)

For icing


  1. With a stand or hand mixer, whip the egg whites and salt until frothy.
  2. Add powdered sugar and whip to soft glossy peaks.
  3. Fold in cinnamon, lemon juice, and ground nuts and mix until combined into a cohesive dough.
  4. Place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll to 5mm thick.
  5. Cut dough into star shapes and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone baking liner.
  6. Optionally air dry cookies for a few hours.
  7. Preheat oven to 240C.
  8. Bake cookies for 3-5 mins.
  9. Make icing by mixing 1 egg white with 175g powdered sugar until smooth.
  10. Dip the top of each cookie in the icing.


Traditionally these cookies are air-dried for a few hours before baking. You can skip this step and still get good results.

2. Basler Brunsli • Chocolate nut cookies

The Basler Brunsli cookie (akak “little brown”) is almost the same as Zimtstern just with the addition of chocolate and cocoa powder. They come from Basel and a often cut in the shape of a bear, which luckily I had in my cookie cutter box.

These were our new favorites and definitely going into the rotation! We loved them so much, we ate lots of them raw and only half of them survived the 2 hour air-dry. After baking, the cookie was happily still a bit soft, but strangely not quite as delicious as the raw dough.

Biscochitos: How To Make The Classic New Mexico Christmas Cookie

The word 𠇋izcocho” is used for any number of baked goods in Spanish, depending on where you find yourself. But one etymological offshoot, the biscochito, is an icon:asimple, mildly sweet, flaky, cookie with notes of anise and cinnamon born in New Mexico when it was still a Spanish colony. The cookie is a mainstay during the holidays, and is usually eaten after meals with coffee. It is one of the definitive icons of the simple, hardy cuisine of one of the least-known culinary traditions in America.

Unlike Southern food, which has been codified and elevated over the past decade, New Mexican food𠅊 rich patchwork of Spanish, Native American, Mexican and American influences—is still passed on mostly via family tradition. At best, recipes are handwritten on index cards, and even today no two families agree on a given recipe for almost any dish. As far asbiscochitos go, tweaks like a bit more anise, a bit less sugar, or even slightly longer or shorter baking times can make the difference between someone’s favorite version or a cookie they see as inferior.

A couple disclaimers about the version and process shown here: properbiscochitos are made with brandy—New Mexico is the oldest site of wine production in North America, after all𠅋ut rum makes an easy and inexpensive substitute, and we just happened to have an old bottle hanging around the kitchen. We also added a nontraditional dash of Xtabentún, a delicious anise liquor sweetened with honey from Mexico’s Gulf Coast. Also, even the oldest New Mexican viejitas today will use a cookie press extruder to shape her biscochitos𠅏or this post, I asked mine to go super lo-fi old school and use her own grandma’s vintage tin cookie cutters. And then I photographed her rolling them out in direct sunlight, which made the dough unusually soft. So, these ones aren’t nearly as pretty as they would normally be. (Sorry!)

Note that for the vegetarians and vegans out there, traditionalbiscochitos are made with lard. In theory, you can substitute with vegetable shortening at a 1/1 ratio, but we have not tested and so can’t vouch for the results.

5 easy Christmas cookies to make, and then eat entirely on your own this holiday season

Guide to last-minute Christmas gifts

Skip and Alison Bedell share their holiday favorites on ‘Fox &amp Friends.’

Are you hesitant to bake an entire batch of Christmas cookies because you’re expecting fewer guests (or no guests) for this year’s holiday festivities? Well, don’t be! We both know you’re entirely capable of polishing off an entire tray on your own.

To that end, we’ve scoured the Internet’s best food blogs to provide you with a smattering of the sweetest recipes of the season. From shortbreads to a twist on the traditional "blossom" cookie, there’s something here for anyone’s taste . if you do plan on sharing whatever meager crumbs are left after you’ve snacked.

Keep reading for a few ideas, then run to the grocery store and grab some milk. You’re gonna need it.

Holiday Shortbread Cookies with Royal Icing

Holiday Shortbread Cookies With Royal Icing (Cooking Classy)

Forget about Royal Dansk. Jaclyn from Cooking Classy has a butter cookie that’s equally neat and sweet, and can be topped with royal icing, chocolate, sprinkles — or all of the above. Click here for the recipe.

Coconut Macaroon Blossoms

Coconut Macaroon Blossoms (Mom On Timeout)

A twist on more traditional "blossom" cookies, this recipe coconut macaroon blossoms, courtesy of Trish from Mom On Timeout, blend two of her most popular recipes. "Chewy on the inside with perfectly toasted coconut on the outside, they really are unbelievably delicious," she writes.

Butter ‘Snowballs’

Butter ‘Snowballs’ (Kristine's Kitchen)

Passed down from her great-grandmother, this recipe for "snowballs" is still a family favorite every Christmas, according to Kristine at Kristine’s Kitchen. The cookies also call for walnuts or pecans (your choice) for a distinctly nutty flavor — and an appropriate one for an appropriately nutty year.

Eggnog Cookies with Eggnog Icing

Eggnog Cookies With Eggnog Icing (IHeartNaptime)

Jamielynn of IHeartNaptime admits that "eggnog is one of those flavors that you either love or hate," but claims that her eggnog-hating friend "LOVED" this recipe, and even asked for it after tasking one of the cookies.

Cranberry-Orange Shortbread Cookies

Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies (Mom On Timeout)

Yes, we’ve come full-circle back to shortbread. But when a recipe calls for dried cranberries and orange, it just seems like something that could win the Signature Challenge on "The Great British Baking Show." Click here to learn how they’re made.

Can You Make Hard Cookies Soft?

Yes! You can absolutely soften hard or stale cookies. Simply place the cookies in an airtight container, throw a slice of white bread in there with them, and then close the lid overnight. The cookies will absorb the moisture from the bread and you’ll wake up to a deliciously soft dessert.

Need to soften your cookies faster? Wrap the cookies individually in damp paper towels (damp, not wet). Zap them in the microwave—paper towels and all𠅏or about 10-15 seconds.

How to Make Sugar Cookies for Christmas

Choose Wisely

Pick a sheet pan that 2 inches of clearance on all sides of the oven. This will allow for good air circulation and even baking.

Stock Up

Always have two or three baking sheets on hand. Reusing the same sheet over and over will make your subsequent batches melt.

Cut Corners (In a Good Way)

Line your pan with parchment that hangs over the sides so it&aposs easy to lift them out and clean the pan.

Flip It

You can reuse your custom-cut parchment sheet by just turning it over.

Shape Up

Choose cookie cutters with simple shapes they&aposre easier to handle and less likely to break. Make sure to flour the cutter beforehand too so it will prevent the dough from sticking to it.

Switch It Up

Cut-out cookies don&apost have to be vanilla. This year, try a deep, dark chocolate version. Dust your cutting board with cocoa powder to preserve the color and flavor.

Reach for a Spoon

When measuring flour, spoon𠄽on&apost pack–the dry ingredient into the measuring cup. This technique helps yield tender cookies.

Crack the Right Eggs

You&aposll want to bake with room temperature eggs so they easily incorporate into your dough. In a rush? Just sit them in a bowl of warm tap water for 10 minutes.

Roll it Right

We think 1/8 inch is the perfect thickness for a crisp, buttery cookie, but this dough can be rolled to 1/4 inch thick if you prefer a soft texture.

Make a Little Noise

When cookies are done, sharply tap the baking sheet against the counter. It will force the cookies to settle faster, creating a crisp outside and a chewy center.

Travel Lightly

Delicate or intricately shaped cookies aren&apost built for traveling. Slice-and-bake or drop cookies are more durable and more likely to survive the journey.

Can Christmas Cookies be frozen?

One of the biggest perks of making these Christmas cookies is the ability to make them ahead of time. Here are a few tips for freezing cookies:

  1. Make sure to freeze them individually, like on a cookie sheet, until they’ve cooled completely.
  2. Once frozen, you can layer them in a freezer safe container using wax paper or freezer paper in between the layers.
  3. It’s best if you freeze the unfrosted cookies, then frost before serving. But if you want to decorate the cookies with frosting, freeze completely not touching, until frozen solid. Then you can layer as directed above.

49 Creative and Easy Christmas Cookie Decorating Ideas To Try These Year

Transform three simple cookie dough recipes into sweet holiday treats for St. Nick (and you!).

While everyone loves to *eat* beautifully-decorated, gourmet-looking cookies, it's not always so easy to make them yourself. However, if it's homemade, show-stopping Christmas treats you&rsquore craving, we're here to help you achieve your best-looking cookies ever! On our list, you'll find impressive ways to achieve your Christmas cookie-decorating dreams for a dessert plate that's beyond impressive (with less effort than you might think).

These cookie decorating ideas are truly the gifts that keep on giving &mdash and there are really the only three holiday cookie recipes you&rsquoll need this Christmas: We've got classic sugar cookie dough, cocoa-filled rich chocolate truffle dough and cinnamon-ginger-and-clove&ndashinfused winter spice dough. Of course, we've included other cookie options for the more adventurous bakers out there (we simply can't make a list of Christmas cookies without including gingerbread!), but feel free to use these decorating ideas on whatever dough you'd like. The best part is that each of these doughs can also be made and frozen up to one month ahead of time, saving you even more precious time during the holiday rush. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!

Pack something for the grown-ups.

Bourbon balls, rum balls, brandy snaps, even mini fruitcakes are perfect for the holidays, and the alcohol helps preserve them, so they keep for weeks. Just warn your friends that some of the cookies in the box may not be kid-appropriate — which will also guarantee there will be something leftover for the adults.

Boozy cookies are my particular favorites to have on hand when all the flour has been wiped off the counters and the sparkly sugar has been mopped from the floor. That’s when I can relax with a bourbon and a bourbon ball, savoring the fruits of another excellent holiday cookie extravaganza — while already planning for the next one.