Our Favourite Christmas Cookie Recipes

Camryn Elizabeth Photo

Camryn Elizabeth Photo

The two of us started chatting this week about holiday baking and what new recipes we are trying this year. If you are like us and are planning to get some baking done this coming weekend, we have some ideas to offer! The cookies below are tested and true recipes that we love. We shared them last season but thought it was worth reposting, enjoy!

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Peppermint Cream Cheese Cookies

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups cake flour, more for dusting

2 tsp cornstarch

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup vegetable shortening, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 large egg white

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp peppermint extract

Frosting

4 oz cream cheese, softened

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 tsp peppermint extract

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Crushed candy canes, for topping

Sift flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt into bowl, whisk a few times and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, on medium speed, whip together butter, shortening and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add egg and mix until combined, then add egg white, vanilla and peppermint extract and mix until combined. With mixer running, slowly add in dry ingredients. Transfer dough to an airtight container and refrigerate 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 during the last 10 minutes of refrigeration.

Scoop dough out about 3 Tbsp at a time and roll into a ball. Place dough ball on a lightly floured surface, sprinkle top lightly with flour, then using something flat and smooth (like your container lid), press and evenly flatten dough to 1/2" thick. Transfer flattened dough to parchment paper lined baking sheet and repeat process with remaining dough. Bake in preheated oven 9 - 11 minutes. Allow to cool a few moments before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Cool completely then frost with Cream Cheese Frosting and sprinkle with crushed candy canes.

Frosting:

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip cream cheese and butter until pale and fluffy. Add peppermint extract and powdered sugar and mix.

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Sugar Cookies

1 cup shortening

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup buttermilk

4 cups flour

4 ½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

Cream shortening and sugar, add eggs, vanilla and beat well. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and stir in alternately with buttermilk into the creamed mixture until it forms a soft ball. Cover the bowl and let sit in the fridge for an hour or more.

Roll out to desired thickness, approx. 1/4”. Cut with cookie cutter and place on non-greased pans. Bake at 375 for 9 minutes. Makes approx. 5 dozen cookies. *They will puff up while baking, becoming almost comically large.  Place on wire racks to cool.

Royal Icing

Royal icing dries to a smooth, hard, matte finish and is used for frosting cakes and cookies. Any decoration you’ve ever wanted to pipe on a cookie or cake would be best done with royal icing. You can make the icing from scratch but I’ve never done it so I won’t include a recipe I’ve never used.  If you’re new to royal icing, do yourself a favour and buy meringue powder, it’s what gives the icing it’s firmness and it’s less mess than starting from scratch (I buy mine from Michael’s craft store, Wilton makes it).

You’ll need

Disposable decorating bags

A Wilton Tip #2 for pipping (or any size tip you prefer)

A few small bowls to mix up different coloured icing

3 tablespoons meringue powder

4 cups confectioners’ sugar

6 tablespoons of water

Gel food colour (gel wont dilute the icing like a liquid colour will – that’s important)

Beat all ingredients at low speed with a hand mixer 7-10 minutes until the icing becomes stiff. Makes about 3 cups icing, which is more than enough for your cookies.

*You’ll pipe an outline of icing around each cookie first – this will prevent the icing from dripping down the sides.  The icing should be stiff but should also move easily through your decorating bag. If you think you need to add water to your icing DO NOT ADD MORE THAN 1 TEASPOON AT A TIME. Very little water goes a long way in thinning this recipe and adding too much water could thin your whole batch.  Should that happen, you can thicken your icing by adding more icing sugar.

*Once you’ve outlined your cookies, you’ll want to slightly thin your icing to “flood” the cookie. You can add the icing onto your cookie by dropping it from a spoon and then pushing it to the edges of your piped border. I’ve found using a toothpick also helps in getting the icing right to the edges. You’ll want that to completely dry before adding any other decoration on top of what you’ve just done. Make sure your icing is completely dry before continuing.

*Your icing dries quickly, which means it dries quickly while sitting in the bowl.  Keep it covered with plastic wrap to avoid a crust forming.

*You’ll need to figure out the number of colours you’ll want to use to decorate with and split your white batch of icing into that many bowls. Start with smaller amounts in each bowl. You won’t need a lot of icing for each cookie. 

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Melted Snowmen Cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Decorating

1 pound white chocolate melting wafers
Mini chocolate-covered peanut butter cups
Orange sprinkles for noses and candy eyeballs (or cookie gel) for eyes and mouth


Preheat oven to 350F.

Cream together butter and peanut butter with a mixer. Beat in granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla. Beat in the cocoa powder and as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour.

Shape dough into twenty 1 3/4-inch balls. Place balls a couple inches apart on cookie sheets lined with parchment. Bake 9-11 minutes, until edges are firm. Cool on cookie sheets for a couple of minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Melt the white chocolate wafers, I used a microwave in 10 second increments, stirring between. Spoon melted coating over each cookie, before it hardens completely, add a peanut butter cup for a hat and decorate with sprinkles or other candies to resemble snowman faces. Let stand until set.

3 ½ teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted, plus more for topping cookies
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 large egg
Fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Finely chop rosemary in a food processor.  Add pine nuts: pulse until coarsely ground. Transfer to a large bowl. Whisk in 2 cups flour, the baking soda, ginger, and salt; set aside.
Beat butter and sugar with a hand mixer on high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mix in oil. Reduce speed to low. Mix in flour mixture. Add cream; mix until well combined, about 2 minutes. Mix in egg, then remaining 1/4 cup flour.
Shape dough into ¾ inch balls, and space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Flatten slightly with fingers, and top each with a pine nut. Sprinkle with sanding sugar.
Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden, about 13 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes on sheets before transferring cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

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Confetti Cookies

Ingredients

·       1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

·       3/4 cup granulated sugar

·       1 large egg, room temperature

·       1 teaspoon vanilla extract

·       1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

·       1/4 teaspoon salt

·       1 teaspoon baking powder

·       1/2 teaspoon baking soda

·       1 teaspoon cream of tartar (a must!)

·       1/2 cup sprinkles, plus more for sprinkle on top before baking if you wish

In a large bowl using a mixer cream butter for about a minute on medium speed until smooth. Get it nice and smooth, then add sugar on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Add egg and vanilla. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cream of tartar. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. The dough will be thick, sometimes I leave the mixer at this point and use my hands. Fold in 1/2 cup sprinkles.Roll about 2 TB of dough into balls. Make them tall as opposed to wide and if you want to dress them up more, add more sprinkles to the top, or the silver balls like I did.

Chill the balls of dough for about an hour and half, this prevents them from spreading too thin when baking. Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Bake chilled balls for 8-9 minutes. They might seem raw and soft but fret not! Let them cool on a wire rack and voila! 

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Rosemary Pine Nut Cookies

3 ½ teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted, plus more for topping cookies
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 large egg
Fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Finely chop rosemary in a food processor.  Add pine nuts: pulse until coarsely ground. Transfer to a large bowl. Whisk in 2 cups flour, the baking soda, ginger, and salt; set aside.
Beat butter and sugar with a hand mixer on high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mix in oil. Reduce speed to low. Mix in flour mixture. Add cream; mix until well combined, about 2 minutes. Mix in egg, then remaining 1/4 cup flour.
Shape dough into ¾ inch balls, and space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Flatten slightly with fingers, and top each with a pine nut. Sprinkle with sanding sugar.
Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden, about 13 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes on sheets before transferring cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

 

 

 

Amber Saleem